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It’s easy to include a light dusting of your blinds in your weekly cleaning schedule, but we also know it’s correct just as easy to ignore those less thoughtful areas of your home. Then one day you open your blinds to let some light into your room only to find them covered in a layer of dust. Luckily, our experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab are here to share some easy ways to clean your blinds at home, depending on how dirty they are and how much effort you want to put into them.
It’s always a good idea to check your blinds manufacturer’s website for instructions and precautions before trying any cleaning method that could damage your blinds.
What you will need
- Microfiber cloths, feather duster or gloves
- Vacuum cleaner with accessories
- Hot water
- Dishwashing liquid
How to clean blinds without taking them down
If lowering the blinds and setting them on a flat surface allows for a more thorough cleaning of both sides and the top and bottom tracks, it is possible to give them a good cleaning while they are still on the windows.
There are two easy ways to clean your blinds while they’re still hung: dusting with a microfiber cloth, mitt or feather duster and vacuuming with a soft dusting brush. Clean your blinds with a canister vacuum cleaneran upright vacuum cleaner with accessories or a hand vacuum cleaner that you already have at home is a quick and easy way to refresh your blinds.
Clean your blinds with a microfiber cloth, mitt or feather duster
- Open the blind and wrap the microfiber cloth tightly around both sides of the slate or grab both sides with your mitt. For horizontal blinds (sometimes called Venetian blinds), start with the highest slat and work your way down. Starting from the top down ensures that you won’t have to clean the same slat a second time when dust from a slat above settles on the one below. Wipe the slat from left to right. For vertical blindfrom, wrap your microfiber cloth tightly around both sides of the blind and wipe from top to bottom. If you’re using a double-sided duster, you’ll clean the top of one slat and the underside of the one above it by passing the duster between the two. It’s even quicker to dust blinds with the slats closed, but be aware that you won’t be dusting all of the slats. Make sure you Shake your cloth outside often when you start to notice it accumulating dust to avoid getting dust on your blinds as you clean.
- To remove stubborn stains and sticky residue from metal, vinyl, or faux wood blinds while they’re hung, soak a microfiber cloth in a bowl of warm water mixed with a few drops of dish soap.
- Wring out excess water and wipe blinds from left to right (or top to bottom if vertical blinds).
- Wipe both sides again with a clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove any water spots or streaks. Use water sparingly, if at all, on real wood blinds.
Clean your blinds with a vacuum cleaner
- Attach your vacuum’s soft dusting brush and, if possible, turn the suction down to the lowest setting.
- Hold the bottom rail of the shade to keep it taut. With your slats closed, move horizontally along the blinds, cleaning slowly from side to side.
- Repeat along each slat in the opposite direction.
- When you’re done, reverse the slats, closing them the other way around, and clean each slat again.
Note: Cellular shades are sometimes referred to as fabric shades, but technically they are not shades at all! These blinds are made from woven or non-woven fabric and have a horizontal channel or cells instead of slats. This gentle vacuum is the only way we recommend for cleaning cellular blinds and real wood blinds to prevent damage.
Or, you can remove them and wash your blinds in a tub.
If you want to clean metal, vinyl, or faux wood blinds more thoroughly, your best bet is in the tub. It is important to note that if you use this method to clean your blinds, you should pay close attention to the manufacturer’s care instructions. Submerging blinds for long periods of time in water can cause the metal to rust. We do not recommend this method for cellular blinds or real wood blinds, as these materials become damaged when submerged in water. If cellular shades are stained, contact your manufacturer with any questions about the best way to remove them or the warranty offered on your product.
- Line the tub with a few towels to prevent the blinds from scratching it, then fill the tub with lukewarm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Shake to make sure the detergent is dissolved.
- With the blinds fully extended and the slats open, place one blind at a time in the tub, keeping the top rail draped over the side of the tub.
- Let them soak for no more than twenty minutes and wash them with a cloth to remove any stuck-on stains or dirt.
- Empty the bathtub and rinse the blinds with clean water. A hand-held shower sprayer, if you have one, makes rinsing easier.
- Dry them with a clean microfiber cloth to remove as much water as possible, and lay the blinds flat to dry completely before replacing them on your windows.
Do’s and Don’ts of Blind Cleaning
- Do your blind cleaning before sweeping or vacuuming your floor. You will have to do your floor cleaning again afterwards if you don’t!
- Only hang up your blinds once they are completely dry.
- Do not use water on your blinds without first dusting them with a dry microfiber cloth. For wood blinds and cellular blinds, do not use water at all.
When should you replace your blinds?
Blinds and window blinds are usually a long-lasting investment for a home. Most don’t need to be replaced for 10 years.
There are a few signs you can watch for when deciding if it’s time to replace your blinds:
- The slats of the blind are deformed, broken or deformed by humidity or heat. If it’s just a few slats, some blind manufacturers will only repair the damaged slats.
- Opening and closing your blinds has become an almost impossible task. With time and regular use, the cords on your blinds are expected to begin to loosen, making it difficult to let light in during the day or to close your blinds at night.
- Blinds and blind cords are discolored, yellowing or fraying. Over time, the quality of our home products will begin to decline, especially products that are exposed to direct sunlight like blinds!
- Your blinds are outdated or ill-suited to new windows. Windows are not made in one size fits all. Different windows will require different tints to match the size of the new window. Also, some styles are not suitable for all windows.
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