How to Clean Blinds So They Last and Look Great
Chances are that you don’t clean your blinds often enough. Cleaning blinds doesn’t make it onto the list of regular tasks for many people and in fact, they don’t notice until they’re very dusty or grimy.
At that stage of the game, you’ll want to know how to clean blinds in the quickest and easiest way possible. Don’t fret because we’ll tell you how to clean blinds without taking them down or getting involved in a major undertaking.
Supplies for Cleaning Blinds
Before you get started, gather up all the supplies that you’ll need, which you’re quite likely to already have at home:
- A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment
- Microfiber cloth (or an old sock)
- Dishwashing liquid
- Household vinegar
- Baking soda
- Warm water
Lower and Shut the Blinds
The first step of the process is to lower the blinds all the way and then shut them so you can access the most surface area at once. If you have wooden blinds, close them all the way, but if you have slatted blinds – vinyl or aluminum – stop before they are fully closed so that they don’t overlap.
Give them a Good Dusting
When it comes to dusting you have a couple of choices. The easiest way to start is probably by vacuuming the blinds with your vacuum and the brush attachment. If you don’t have one, you can just start with a microfiber cloth and dust by hand. In either case, you want to work from side to side and from top to bottom. The side-to-side motion will keep you from damaging the blinds and moving from top to bottom means that you won’t drop dust or debris on sections that you’ve already dusted.
Once you’ve finished the surface, flip the slats to the other side and repeat your steps using the vacuum or dusting by hand. Finally, vacuum or wipe down the window sill and any area below where dust and debris may have fallen.
Some brands make a specific fluffy microfiber tool for cleaning blinds, which has several “fingers” that you insert between the open slats and move side-to-side. Some peoples find these simple to use while others have an easier time with just a cloth. Your preference for how to clean your blinds is a personal choice, but it is certainly not necessary to purchase a specific tool.
What if They’re Still Dirty?
If the blinds are still dirty – and they very well might be if you have neglected them – the next step in how to clean blinds is to go another round with a damp microfiber cloth. If they are not heavily soiled and are in an area such as a living room or bedroom, using water alone to wet the cloth should be enough. If you think that might not do the trick you can always add some vinegar to the water, which will gently clean wood, plastic or aluminum blinds. Be sure to wring out the cloth well because you don’t want excess water on the blinds, especially if they are made from real wood. Speaking of real wood, there are a few extra tips for how to clean blinds of specific types:
- Real Wood Blinds – Use vinegar in the water to wipe these down because it will help remove any potential grime you don’t notice. Dry them off right away to prevent water damage or warping. This is a good time to apply a wood conditioner to natural wood blinds to help protect them and preserve their good looks.
- Faux Wood Blinds – Grab your bucket of warm water, add a little dishwashing liquid and mix it up. Dip the cloth or sock into the soapy water and clean each slat. Dry off any excess water. Don’t use any wood polish or conditioner on faux wood blinds, but some homeowners swear that rubbing a dryer sheet over the slats helps repel dust between cleanings.
- Aluminum and Vinyl Blinds – Clean these blinds the same way you would faux wood blinds.
- Vertical Blinds – Use the same cleaning method on vertical blinds, but only wipe downward so that you don’t accidentally detach the slat. How to clean blinds that have fabric slats is a little more limited: You can only vacuum them or use a lint roller.
- Fabric and Cellular Shades – These can be dusted and vacuumed, but not washed. If they need require a deep cleaning, take them to a dry cleaner for professional attention.
And if They’re Seriously Dirty?
When faced with how to clean blinds that are exceptionally dirty, your best option is to take them down for a more involved deep cleaning. This is often necessary for blinds in a kitchen where the slats may collect grease as well as dust and dirt. These methods work for vinyl or aluminum blinds.
Fill the Tub
You can certainly do this outdoors in a large tub, but the bathtub work just fine too. Fill the tub with enough warm water to submerge the blinds and add a few squeezes of dishwashing soap and a cup of baking soda. Mix it up and put the blinds in to soak for an hour. If they need it, rub them with a sponge to get off any grease or dirt. For really dirty blinds, if necessary you can also repeat the soaking process with clean water and more soap and baking soda. Rinse them off, wipe off any excess dirt and then dry them. You can dry blinds by wiping them off and then laying them on a towel or even hanging them from a clothesline. Just be sure they’re totally dry before you reinstall them!
If you need to know how to clean blinds that have yellowed with age, you can probably remove the discoloration. In this case, put them in the tub with cold water and three cups of liquid bleach. Soak them for a maximum of 10 minutes, then rinse the blinds well and dry them off.
If you find that your cellular or fabric blinds have stains, these can be spot treated. Just mix up some liquid dish soap that is clear with warm water. If the stain looks like a difficult one, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water too. Dampen a microfiber cloth with the soapy water and dab gently at the stain, repeating until it goes away. Use a cloth moistened with plain water to dab the spot and then let it air dry.
If it happens that vinyl, aluminum or faux wood blinds need spot treatment, you can use an. All-purpose cleaner. Just make sure that you spray a little of the cleaner on a cloth and not directly onto the blinds. Use the cloth to gently wipe away the stain.
A Few Random But Important Tips
- Don’t Soak Real Wood Blinds
Water is not a friend to wood and soaking would ruin the blinds. Even if the blinds are quite dirty, the best method for how to clean blinds made from wood is to do so while they are in place.
- No Hosing or Power Washing!
Hosing down dirty vinyl or aluminum blinds might seem like an efficient method at first, but it is definitely a bad idea. Blinds can be easily bent, dented or scratched, and the force of the water can damage the slats.
- Be Gentle
As long-lasting as blinds can be, they are also easy to dent or bend. Whenever you’re dusting or cleaning, treat them gently to avoid damage.
An Ounce of Prevention
Blinds are one of the things in the house that you’ll swear are a dust magnet – and they are. The first key piece of advice in how to clean blinds is to regularly dust them to avoid any major buildup. No matter what type you have, make it a habit to vacuum the blinds using the brush attachment every time you’re cleaning. Not only does this keep them clean and looking good, but it’ll minimize how often they need a deeper cleaning.
Blinds can be quite an investment and something that most people don’t want to replace unless they have to. Devoting a little extra time to easy maintenance can extend the life of your blinds and deep cleaning can rescue dirty ones from heading for the trash can. The bottom line is that it pays to learn how to clean blinds in your home.