Curtains collect a surprising amount of dust, but are often supposed to be dry-cleaned only. Despite what the instructions say, it is often possible to clean them yourself and save money in the process.
Preempt dirty curtains by dusting regularly
Curtains will need more serious cleaning if they accumulate lots of dirt and grime. Clean your windows regularly, and dust window sills to reduce the amount of times your curtains will need to be cleaned.
Vacuum curtains as they hang
Another way to reduce the amount of times curtains need to be properly washed is by vacuuming them as they hang. Weekly treatments with upholstery tools (or a gentle brush from your regular vacuum) will extend the life of curtains.
Dry-clean only curtains are delicate, so try to isolate the spots that need cleaning more than others. Treating soiled spots with a home dry-cleaning kit will save money and keep the curtains looking clean. If some spots have collected lots of pet fur, for example, use tape to remove it, rather than cleaning the entire curtain.
Use the dryer, carefully
Dry-clean only curtains can be cleaned in your dryer, but make sure to use the most delicate setting, and only for a short amount of time (10 minutes often does the trick). Once the dryer has finished, hang the curtains back up so they do not wrinkle.