If there’s one chore that seems to be dreaded above all others, I’m pretty sure it would be cleaning the blinds. Whether wood, faux wood, fabric, vinyl or aluminum, most of us HATE cleaning the blinds! It’s a time-consuming task and no one seems to be sure that they’re even doing it right! So I decided to delve in and see if I could find some easy and effective ways to clean all kinds of window blinds, so maybe, just maybe, we can all loathe it a little bit less. ;-)
Faux-wood blinds are one of the most popular types of window coverings. If your faux-wood blinds are just dusty, using a vacuum with a dust brush attachment can make cleaning them a breeze. Simply close the blinds all the way, hold the bottom rail, vacuum one side, then turn the blinds the other way and vacuum the other side. When using the vacuum, make sure that the suction is on its lightest setting to avoid twisting or warping the slats. Handheld dusters like a Swiffer can also be effective here.
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If your faux-wood blinds are in the kitchen however, they may have collected some grease and grime in addition to dust. This calls for a bit more thorough cleaning, but nothing that can’t be handled with some good ol’ white vinegar. Simply fill a small bowl with a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water, and then use a clean sock or microfiber cloth to dip in the bowl. Turn the blinds one way and wipe them while holding the bottom rail, then turn them the other way and clean the other side. The vinegar will take care of the grease and grime, and your blinds will be looking as clean as the day they were put up!
Most wood blinds are treated with a special finish to repel dirt and stains. Wood blinds can be cleaned with a good quality furniture polish and a soft cloth or clean sock. Spray the furniture polish on the cloth and wipe each slat individually. Avoid touching the cords.
For heavier cleaning, you can use plain water, but be careful not to saturate the wood. Wipe excess water immediately to prevent spotting, discoloration, or warping.
Fabric Shades (Cellular, Pleated, Roman)
Fabric shades are another window treatment where your vacuum will come in handy. To clean and dust fabric shades and coverings, use the dust brush attachment of your vacuum on a low setting.
Another tool that will help keep dust at by, especially for cellular shades is a hair dryer set to “cool”. Use this to blow away any dirt that has been trapped in creases or inside the honeycomb openings. If any bugs get caught inside these honeycombs, resist the urge to squish them and either use your hairdryer to blow them out or gently push them out of the shade.
Stains or grime on these types of blinds can be treated by using a sponge or microfiber cloth, dampened with warm, soapy water. Simply blot the area as necessary, but be careful not to oversaturate. Allow the shades to dry completely before raising them.
Extremely soiled fabric blinds may need professional cleaning.
Vinyl or Aluminum Mini Blinds
There are a few different ways to clean vinyl or aluminum mini blinds, and it just comes down to personal preference. One way would be to treat them like the faux-wood blinds and clean them by dusting and washing with a cloth. But, if you have a lot of aluminum blinds in your home, this option can be quite time-consuming, especially if there is greasy grime in addition to the dust.
If so, you can choose to take each set of blinds down one at a time and let them soak in your bathtub with a bit of Dawn dish soap. Use a soft brush, sponge, or soft mop to go over both sides of the slats. (If you have a whirlpool tub, follow the directions for the tub soak, then turn on the jets for a few minutes…no scrubbing needed!) After soaking, drain the dirty water and refill the tub with clean water to rinse. Make sure to rinse away all of the soap suds to avoid spotting.
After rinsing, lay the blinds on top of a few bath towels to soak up some of the remaining water, then hang the blinds back up to allow them to dry completely. Once your aluminum blinds are clean, consider treating them with a dusting spray to discourage dust and dirt from settling on them.
Another option: Instead of soaking in the tub, you can lay them out on the grass on a hot, sunny day, squirt a bit of soap on them, then spray with a garden hose. Flip them over and spray again. Scrub with a soft nylon bristle brush if needed. Rinse with clear water. To dry: hang them on a clothesline or let them dry on the grass (flip them over so they dry on both sides).
The process for cleaning vertical blinds will be much the same as the ones listed above, depending on whether they are fabric or vinyl. A lint roller made for clothing, easily rolls over vertical blinds picking up dust and cobwebs along the way.
A Few Bonus Tips…
DIY Cleaning Tool
You can make a great DIY substitute for those blind cleaning tools you see in stores by attaching a couple of microfiber cloths to a pair of tongs with some clips or rubber bands. This handy little hack will help you speed through this chore in no time!
Keeping Track of Slats
Always keep a clothespin in your pocket when you are cleaning individual slats of windows blinds by hand. If you are interrupted, pull out the trusty pin and attach to the last slat you cleaned. Whether you are called away from your cleaning for two minutes or two days, you will immediately know exactly where you left off when you return.
Protect Your Blinds
When cleaning your windows, rather than spraying the cleaner directly onto the glass, it is recommended that you spray it on a cloth and then wipe the window clean. This will eliminate the potential of the window cleaner damaging the blinds.
Make The Results Last
Sweep or vacuum them regularly and you’ll only need to wash them once or twice a year. After washing, you can treat them with dusting cloths (mix 1 cup hot water and 2 TBS lemon oil), or wipe them down with a fabric softener sheet to repel dust. Wipe them with another sheet whenever the effect wears off.
- Brush pets often – Less hair falling off pets means less is present to work its way into corners and onto surfaces.
- Change HVAC filters – Heating and cooling filters are dust traps that need to be replaced or cleaned regularly to maintain air quality and reduce dust levels.
- Curtains – Even a sheer curtain can help minimize dust from settling on your blinds.
- Clean ceiling fans – Clean those ceiling fans, which can be dust-collecting magnets that fling dust bunnies across the room. Click here to find out the easiest way to clean them!
Remember, regular dusting is key—taking a proactive approach to cleaning blinds will keep your window blinds looking fabulous!