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How To Clean Blinds: The Easiest Ways To Clean Your Blinds

Using a vacuum cleaner, a sock, and tongs to clean different kinds of blinds.

As much as many of us tend to put off cleaning our blinds, once you know how to clean blinds quickly and effectively, you won’t dread doing it nearly as much as you used to! Whether your blinds are made of wood, faux wood, fabric, vinyl, or aluminum, knowing the best way to clean them is half the battle. 

In order to help us save time and effort on this particular task, I put together a guide of the best ways to clean window blinds of all shapes and sizes. Home cleaning hacks are the bread and butter of this blog, after all!

So if you’re interested in learning how to clean blinds without taking them down, you’ve come to right place! (I’ve also included a couple of cleaning tips that do involve taking your blinds down, but you probably won’t need to use such a method unless your blinds are seriously grimy.) Check out the best ways to keep your blinds looking great below!

To find out how to clean the pull cord on your window blinds, watch the video at the end of this post!

How To Clean Your Blinds: Tips For Every Type Of Window Treatment

Using a hand-held vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean faux-wood blinds without taking them down.

Faux Wood Blinds

More affordable than real wooden blinds and easy to keep clean, faux wood venetian blinds with horizontal slats are among the most popular types of blinds and window treatments. If your faux wood blinds are simply dusty, use the dust brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to quickly dust your blinds in place.

Just close the blinds, hold the bottom rail steady, and use a vacuum to remove dust from the slats. Don’t forget to do the other side, too! (If your vacuum has strong suction, you may want to adjust it to a lower setting to avoid any accidental damage to the slats.)

If you have a particularly heavy vacuum, or if you don’t have a dusting attachment, you can also dust faux wood blinds with a handheld duster or microfiber cloth. (They’re one of my favorite dusting tools because they pick up dust and dirt instead of pushing it around.)

Greasy Blinds? Grab Some Vinegar!

Blinds in or near the kitchen tend to accumulate as much grease as they do dust, but it’s nothing a little white vinegar can’t handle! To clean greasy blinds:

  • Fill a small bowl with equal amounts of vinegar and water, then pull a clean sock over your hand and dip it in the diluted vinegar solution.
  • Close your blinds, hold the bottom rail firmly, and use the damp sock to wipe the blinds free of greasy residue.
  • Once one side of the blinds is done, flip them the other way and wipe the other side.
Genuine wood blinds are best cleaned with a bit of furniture polish on a soft cloth.

Wood Blinds

Blinds made from real wood are typically treated with a special finish to help repel dirt and stains and make them easy to dust. Apply a small amount of furniture polish or dusting spray to a soft cloth or clean sock, then use it to wipe each slat clean before flipping the blinds and wiping the other side.

For heavy, greasy, or grimy dust, dampen a soft cloth with plain water and use that to clean it off. Take care not to saturate the wood, and keep a dry cloth nearby to wipe up any excess water to prevent spotting, discoloration, or warping. 

Use a vacuum with a soft dusting brush to clean fabric blinds of all kinds.

Fabric Blinds (Cellular, Pleated, Roman, etc.)

Your vacuum makes an ideal tool for dusting fabric blinds and shades Use the dust brush attachment on a low setting, and dust from top to bottom so you don’t need to clean them twice.

Another useful tool for dusting fabric blinds and cellular shades is a hair dryer. Set it to “cool” and use it to blow away dirt, dust, or dead bugs trapped in the creases or inside the honeycomb openings.

Dealing with stained or soiled fabric blinds? Try a microfiber cloth dampened with warm, soapy water. Blot the area until clean, being careful not to get the fabric too wet, then allow the blinds to dry completely before raising them again. (If they’re heavily soiled, you may need to call in a professional — look for cleaning services in your area that specialize in window coverings or blind cleaning.)

Aluminum or plastic blinds can be vacuumed in place or taken down and cleaned in the bathtub.

Vinyl Or Aluminum Mini Blinds

There are a couple of different ways to clean vinyl or aluminum mini blinds, and both work equally well. The first option is to use the methods I outlined earlier for faux wood blinds (i.e. vacuum them with a dusting attachment or wipe them with diluted vinegar or an all-purpose cleaner).

If your mini blinds are grimy, rather than simply dusty, soaking them in your bathtub is a low-effort way to deep clean your blinds (though it does require you to take the blinds down first).

One of the easiest ways to clean blinds is by filling a bathtub with water and placing a plant on a tray nearby.

How To Clean Mini Blinds In Your Bathtub

Fill your bathtub with warm water, add a small amount of Dawn dish soap, then take the blinds off the window and put them in the soapy water to soak for a few minutes. Use a soft brush or sponge to clean the blinds on both sides, then drain the tub and refill with clean water to rinse.

After rinsing, lay the blinds out on a couple of bath towels to dry until they’re lightly damp, then replace them in the window and let the blinds air dry. Once your aluminum blinds are clean, treating them with a dusting spray can make them easier to clean in the future.

The Best Way To Clean Blinds - close up of green patterned vertical blinds

Vertical Blinds

The best way to dust vertical blinds is much the same as the methods outlined above depending on whether they are made of fabric or vinyl. You could also use a lint roller on your vertical blinds, which will pick up any dust and cobwebs along the way.

Bottle of Clorox bleach. This can whiten yellowed blinds.

BONUS: How To Clean & Whiten Yellowed Blinds

Sun exposure, cigarette smoke, and other environmental factors can cause white blinds to appear more yellow over time. A bleach treatment can help restore their original color. Follow these steps:

  1. Dust the blinds.
  2. Soak them in warm water and dish soap (as outlined above).
  3. Drain the water out of the tub and replace it with fresh water. Add about 2 cups of chlorine bleach to the water, then let the blinds soak in the bleach solution for 10-15 minutes before rinsing again and drying thoroughly.
Using tongs with a microfiber cloth to clean both sides of blinds at once.

More Tips For Cleaning Blinds (Without Taking Them Down)

  1. Dust Faster With Tongs. One of the best dusting hacks for blinds is to use a pair of tongs to dust both sides of each slat, cutting your dusting time in half! Just wrap microfiber cloths around each arm of your tongs and secure them with rubber bands.
  2. Keep Track With A Clothespin. Keep a clothespin in your pocket while dusting your blinds. If you get interrupted, you can clip it to the last slat you cleaned so you don’t lose track.
  3. Clean Windows Carefully. When cleaning your windows, spray cleaning products onto a cloth or paper towel, rather than the glass to avoid damaging your blinds. Don’t spray air fresheners, hairspray, or other sprays near your blinds, either.
  4. Repel Dust. After cleaning your blinds, add a few drops of lemon oil to a cup of hot water, then dip a clean cloth into it and use it to wipe your blinds to repel dust in the future. (A fabric softener sheet works well, too!)
  5. Brush Pets Often. Pets that get brushed frequently shed less hair, which means there will be less pet hair around to cling to your blinds. 
  6. Replace HVAC Filters Regularly. The filters in your heating and cooling system help trap dust, but they need to be replaced regularly to maintain good air quality and keep dust levels low.
  7. Install Curtains. Consider adding washable curtains in front of your window blinds. Even a sheer curtain can help prevent dust from settling on blinds.
  8. Keep Ceiling Fans Clean. You can prevent the blades of your ceiling fans from spreading dust bunnies around the room by dusting the regularly with my favorite ceiling fan dusting hack.
  9. Keep Windows Closed. One of the easiest ways to keep dust at a minimum is to keep your windows closed. That way, dust can’t blow in from outside!

How do you clean your blinds?

YouTube video
Here’s a quick and easy way to clean grimy pull cords.

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • I like to use the tub method, but I usually use ammonia. It smells awful but it sure cuts grease and gets them super clean. Especially helpful in the kitchen.

  • Wow, I was just looking at mine and thinking how I really really need to clean them before winter gets here. Normally I do mine on the deck outside. I hang them over the rails, spray them down with Clorox cleanup, scrub and hose them off and leave hanging to dry. I’m afraid the bleach will weaken the strings though so I’m not going that route this time. I’ll definitely try the vinegar and socks method. I may even do the bathtub method for the smaller size ones. Thanks for another great article!!

  • You mentioned “dusting spray” in the section on cleaning vinyl and aluminum blinds; can you tell me what that is? I’d like to try it on furner as it gets very dusty here in the desert.

    Thank you for the helpful information.

  • Cleaning blinds used to make me crazy; I think I tried everything you mentioned. To expand on the tong idea–buy a fluffy chenille pair of stretch gloves and place finger between slats–you can clean 4 at once this way. Save the second glove for preventative. Once the slats are clean & dry I spray a product called Touch of Purple on a clean glove and wipe the slats again. This product is amazing–it actually repels dust. I use it on ceiling fans & chandeliers too; it works so well all I do now is feather dust when I think of it (which isn’t very often). This stuff is awesome, we have an 80″ TV (I call the black hole) and it does not attract dust. My son cannot believe how clean our screen stays. And no I do not sell it.

  • Last week I cleaned four of my aluminum mini blinds (three more to go). I used the outside method and sprayed them with an all-purpose cleaner, brushed them a bit, and rinsed with the hose. It was a sunny and breezy day so they dried quickly. I was pleased with the results. Thanks for all this good information!

  • Armour All. I have a cleaning service and after we have a day of cleaning blinds we wipe Armour All on all the slats to keep them protected.

    Sly, we use an air compressor and literally blow them clean. If the material gets dirty rub a little corn starch on them then follow up with the compressor.

  • Love this . Good ideas. I’m so glad we don’t have blinds in our house anymore. We had them in my bedroom and my sister’s room. Boy, did this post bring back memories. I remember in order to clean them my mom or I had to stand on top of my desk to reach the top ones.

  • I was SO, SO hoping that if I kept reading, I would come to my blinds….which are Silhouettes & Luminetts by Hunter Douglas. They are like the wood blinds, but covered in shear fabric on both sides. No one – not even the place I bought them – can tell me how to clean them!
    Anyone????
    Thanks so much!

  • I knew there was a reason why I kept putting off cleaning my blinds.!
    I am moving soon so this came as the most perfect time. I have vinyl vertical blinds which are too difficult to take down by myself so these ideas are a God send.
    Thank you!!

  • Love this!!! We bought our house a year ago and do have the wood blinds. They were GROSS! Omg! I did use pledge to clean them (if you had posted this before and I had found your site earlier… I would have learned an easier way ha ha!), then did the fabric softer sheet over it to repel the dust (we have 5 kids and 2 German shephards… so dust and DIRT is huge in our house lol). After the 2nd time I did that, it was easier each time!!!!! This article is going to help others!!!! You rock and keep up with the awesome posts, I look forward to your writing! Good luck to everyone else on their blinds, I know what I’m doing tomorow ;)

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