Transform Your Home with Window Coverings

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I’m a pretty straight shooter, yet I shy away from writing anything other than positive slanted articles. If there is something that doesn’t please me, I’m more likely to just pick a different subject matter on which to focus my attention. There are times that I will write something that I totally believe, but has yet to have independent corroboration. Obviously these are subjective matters.

For years I have been espousing the ability of our window coverings to actually transform the look and feel of a room and your home. I have written those words, and I have spoken those words, many, many times over. And every time that I have written or spoken those words, it has been with wholehearted conviction.

The first time those transformation words ever spilled out of my mouth was shortly after I first got involved with the window covering industry, about ten years ago. It was about the time I moved to Phoenix to join my business partner, Rick Steele, in growing SelectBlinds.com. I had moved to Phoenix from Dallas, didn’t really know the area, so I bought an 1800 square foot house on a small lot, just to get myself ensconced in the city. It was new construction, and there were only a couple of windows properly dressed, so I had to make some quick decisions and get those naked windows something to wear.

Bamboos were unfamiliar to me, but they looked really cool on our website, so I ordered some for the family room. They were made correctly, and they were GORGEOUS! I mounted them inside the window frames, and I kid you not, the thought that came into my mind was, “Wow, these treatments for my windows have actually transformed my house.”

So ten years kind of fly by, and here I am, still partnered with Rick, doing a lot more business, but still selling those bamboos. And since that time, I have not hesitated at all in stating that our products can transform the look and feel of a room and even a house. I’ve heard others say it, but only after hearing it from me. If you’re reading this far into it, stay with me. The factoidal anecdote is next.

Two nights ago, we find ourselves the guests of friends for Christmas Eve dinner and visiting. These particular friends had recently needed to update their bedroom window coverings, so naturally they asked me for a recommendation, which I was pleased to provide, along with a kicking deal.

They bought them, and when we first arrived, brought up how much they loved their new window coverings. I asked to see them, which was readily agreed upon. Beautiful romans covered every window in their bedroom. Cordless lift on every one of them!

Anyway, I go back into the kitchen, and our friend tells me that the treatments actually transformed the look and feel of their room. And, that they were so impactful, it is now no longer necessary to spend additional redecorating dollars on anything, because the new shades gave the room a complete makeover!

Select Blinds. Gotta love ‘em!

 

How to Clean Honeycomb (aka Cellular) Shades

Cellular window treatments can be cleaned infrequently, but this time of year, when the calls go out to your friends and relatives, “honeycomb home for the holidays,” it’s a good time to clean those cell shades along with everything else that you are cleaning in preparation for your house guests. Cellulars are the same thing as honeycombs, so please forgive me if I use both monikers throughout this post.

If you have cellulars in your home, there is a pretty good chance that you have never cleaned them. I’m not calling you an unfit homemaker. I’m just pointing out the fact that these window shades look great, and they look great over time. Honeycombs are made from a soft material, usually man-made, and they just seem to be anti-dirty.

At SelectBlinds.com, all of our fabrics, for which we have scoured the four corners of the planet to come up with the best possible offering, are put through rigorous testing to confirm that they are worthy to have the Select Blinds label affixed to them. That includes their native anti-static properties, as well as the optional Scotch Guard coating that we can treat your shades with before they leave our factory.

Even with all that we do, dust will eventually find an open spot on your honeycombs to roost upon. It might not be visible, but it is there, and it should occasionally be cleaned. Unlike hard window coverings, like real woods, aluminums, and faux woods, cellulars are made of a soft material that can be bent and/or crimped.

1. Feather Duster

Careful cleaning is the key to doing the job correctly. A feather duster will work just fine.

2. Brush Attachment

If you can control the pressure of the brush against the material, then the vacuum attachment brush is a viable option for cleaning them.

 3. Spot Clean

Be careful with anything containing moisture or water. Honeycombs of a certain minimum size will have more than one sheet of material, and they are glued together at a seam that you have likely never even noticed. That seam has a chance of parting if it gets wet. So please take care. To spot clean, add mild soap onto a slightly damp rag and dab at the spot. Do not rub the spot, as it could cause some damage to your honeycomb shades.

4. Use Blow Dryer on Cool Setting

Sometimes dust or even bugs end up inside the open cells. The best way to get them out is to use your blow dryer on a cool, low setting. Never use hot air because that can melt the glue that holds the shade together.

 

The Simple & Smart Way to Shop – Buy 3 Get 1 Free Sale

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Hi, I’m Al Silverberg, one of the owners of SelectBlinds, and as you can imagine, selling more window coverings is something that is on my mind at all times. To be more specific, I’m extremely interested in selling more window coverings that are cordless.

Why cordless? Because they look better than a window treatment with a cord hanging down and pooling on the window sill or the floor. Oh yeah, and they are just the safest kind of blind that you can possibly hang in your house. No cord means that there is no way that a kid or pet can get tangled up and hurt themselves. But I digress.

Two things occurred in my day today that have motivated me to write this blogticle. The first is that I had a meeting with a Hong Kong tailor today, as I had been thinking that I could use some new threads, and I received an invitation to meet with a Hong Kong tailor right here in sunny Phoenix. This invitation came a couple of weeks ago, and today was the day for my appointment.

I went to the hotel where they were staying, and alas, I bought no clothes, but in conversation with the young man accompanying the tailor from Hong Kong, my vocation came up. As soon as I mentioned SelectBlinds, his eyes lit up, and he told me that not only was he a customer of SelectBlinds, he loves us so much that he got his cousin, his friend, and his grandparents all to buy window fashions from us.

There were a couple of key reasons that he bought from us.

Simple. He actually stood there in the middle of the room and explained to his senior co-worker that ordering from SelectBlinds was simple. Simply take down the measurements of the window you want to cover and enter them on our site, find the product that you like, and place your order. They arrived in short order, and were a breeze to hang. Not much more to it than hanging a picture. And they fit and worked perfectly.

Smart. Because there is no better way to buy window treatments than from SelectBlinds.com. His words! The prices are fair, the web site makes the entire process easy, and… drum roll please… he waited for the Buy 3 Get 1 Free promo, and saved a ton of money.

Simple & Smart.

His experience is what 99+ % of our customers experience. Getting it done is simple, and it makes them feel smart. So that started me thinking about what I know that you might not know.

SELECTBLINDS IS GONNA DO BUY 3 GET 1 FREE any day now. So if you need four or more window treatments, get ready to visit SelectBlinds.com.

That’s what I mean by a promotion that counts. Count to three, and let us get you to four!!

The second thing that got me thinking about writing this blurb is that my son had a quick survey on impulse buying on Facebook. It made me think about what it takes to qualify as an impulse. How about a promotion that counts, on a product that you have plans to buy, but just not now, and  the deal is so good, you have to jump all over that bad boy. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

So anyway, I’m just saying… It might be something to think about.

How to Clean Shutters

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Shutters, also known as plantation shutters, are made from hard wood or wood-like materials.

Real Wood Shutters

1. Furniture Polish

Real wood shutters provide unparalleled beauty, and should be cleaned much in the same way as you would clean your wood furniture. Before you pull out the lemon pledge, take a close look. It’s important to know the material that makes up the visible parts of the window treatment. You might have real wood shutters, with real wood frames and louvers. If this is the case you can use the furniture polish on the entire window treatment but if it is not the case you need to use the furniture polish on only the real wood.

2.Dust Them

Sometimes cleaning shutters is as simple as dusting them. You can use a traditional feather duster or even just a clean dry cloth.

3. Dryer Sheet

You can actually run a dryer sheet over the louvers, and it will help prevent dust from sticking in the future. It’s a quick tip that can save you time down the road.

 

The other end of the spectrum is that your plantation window treatments could be made from faux wood.

Faux Wood Shutters

Faux wood shutters are like wood in appearance, and can even be made with the same kind of embossed irregularities and grain, but they are some kind of vinyl or plastic. This is no reason for concern or despair. Faux woods can add the same warmth and comfort as real wood, but they are more affordable, and can withstand extreme temperatures and temperature swings, including high humidity levels, better than real wood ones.

Real wood ones feel like real wood, and faux woods don’t! Check out the frame and the louvers. It is very possible that you have real wood frames with faux wood louvers for the insets.

1. Damp Cloth

Use a warm, damp cloth to clean your faux wood plantations. It’s that simple!

2. Vacuum Attachment

To get your faux wood plantations sparkling clean, use your vacuum’s brush attachment and gently slide it along the louvers.

3. Mild Detergent

If you need to spot clean your window treatments, use mild detergent and a slightly damp cloth. Make sure to wipe off the detergent when you’re finished.

How to Clean Vertical Blinds

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Vertical window treatments are great for doors, meaning that for the most part, they are bigger than most other types of window coverings. Verticals are also made out of a variety of materials, making a single cleaning solution unrealistic.

1. Dusting Cloth

Fabric verticals can be cleaned easily with a dusting cloth.

2. Vacuum Brush Attachment

They can also be cleaned with the extension brush of a vacuum cleaner. In addition to the care needed in cleaning the fabric slats, there are some basic fabric verticals that are fabric exposed on one side of the slat and are a plastic material on the other side of the slat.

If you are able to reach to the top of the vertical slat, then both options are available for you to try. If there is no way that you can reach the top, you will probably find it easier to use the vacuum extension with a brush. The other option is to get a step ladder or stool to stand on, giving you that extra bit of reach that you need to clean the top of the vertical.

3. Damp Rag

Verticals are made of a hard material, like faux wood or real wood, which can be cleaned as described above. Or, they can be cleaned with a damp rag or dusting cloth. Washing vertical blinds with a damp rag or cloth is also a viable option for cleaning the outside-facing side of a basic fabric vertical slat that is plastic.

Please note that verticals require a certain amount of attention is paid to the process. Verticals that are made for sliding doors are tall enough to cover the door, and there are a lot of slats hanging freely from the headrail, making them a bit of a challenge to keep in place while you run a cloth or vacuum up and down the slat. Not to worry, though. It takes some doing to knock them out of the headrail.

Click here to learn more about vertical blinds and their benefits.

How to Clean Mini Blinds

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Mini window blinds are like the dinosaur of the window covering industry. They were originally known as a Venetian blind, and they were primarily made out of vinyl. I remember those vinyl Venetian window treatments when I think back to my early school days. They were the school systems’ window blind of choice in the late 60s and early 70s.

I can tell you exactly how those minis got cleaned in my school. Kids did it. They were not asked to do it, or it would never have happened, but the kids in my school, yours truly included, did it. Our methodology was not one that made our mothers happy. We used our sleeves. That’s right. For some odd reason, we thought that it looked really cool to run our shirt sleeves along the horizontal slats, and watch the dirt disappear.

The end result was not good. We went home with dirty shirt sleeves, and the window treatments in the school never got completely cleaned. We would never clean a slat in its entirety, and we only cleaned the slats that lined up height-wise, so the higher the window, the more slats went uncleaned.

Cleaning the minis of today can be done in the same manner, but these are not your father’s minis, and cleaning them in the old fashioned way is not necessary. The SelectBlinds minis, save one, are all made of the strongest aluminum. They have a high quality paint baked on, which resists fading and looks great longer than those vinyl blinds.

1. Use a Damp Rag

A damp rag is the best way to clean mini blinds. Moisten the rag, run it along the slats, turn the rag inside out, and run it along the rest of the slats. Rinse the rag out and repeat. That is the smart and easy way to clean your mini blinds.

2. Use a Spray Bottle and Soap

Add just a tiny bit of soap to the water in the spray bottle and then spray the slats. Use a lint-free rag to wipe each slat clean.

3. Soak them in a Tub

For big messes, remove your mini blinds from their mounts and soak them in the tub to loosen the dirt. Then you can wipe them down with a rag to remove the rest of the dirt or dust.

4. Don’t Bend the Slats

No matter which method of cleaning you choose, do your best not to bend the slats too much. While they are strong, it will keep them in their best possible shape if you avoid bending them.

How to Clean Faux Wood Blinds

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Cleaning faux wood blinds is fairly easy. I’ll get to the nuts and bolts of it shortly. First I’d like to clear up some misnomers regarding the faux wood.

Faux is another word for fake, so these are not real wood blinds. By the way, the correct pronunciation is exactly the same as the word, foe. There is no faux wood tree forest or orchard. There are manufacturing facilities that take PVC and turn it into horizontal slats for window coverings that look like real wood, but are actually faux. Bingo, there you have it. The faux wood window treatments.

Cleaning them is very much like cleaning real wood blinds.

1. Dust Them

Add dusting the slats of the blinds when you do your normal dusting in that room.

2. Use the Vacuum Attachment

Vacuum the treatments with the attachment that you use for those hard-to-reach places. Ideally, you should use the attachment that has the softest feeling brushes on the end of it.

3. Use a Moist Cloth

Faux woods are pretty hearty. That is why they are recommended for use where there are extremes. Those extremes can be humidity if they are in the bathroom and the hot shower is used on a regular basis. That high humidity will cause a very thin layer of moisture to adhere to the surface of the slats. No problem. That is exactly why you buy faux woods. In this situation, the shower has done half the job for you. To clean those slats, just take a moist cloth and clean them by running that cloth along the surface of each slat until you’ve got them all.

4. Spot Clean with Mild Detergent

On a clean, damp cloth, add mild detergent and spot clean. Once you’re done, make sure to wipe off the excess detergent with the damp cloth.

Another extreme is temperature swings. The heartiness of the faux wood makes it a good fit for a garage window, or work shed window, or any other place where the window is exposed to the elements, and those elements hit one or both extremes. These window coverings get the same cleaning treatment as described above.

Faux wood window coverings are also less costly than real wood window coverings, so that is the third reason to hang faux woods. They look great and are affordable to most every budget!

I like faux wood window treatments. I like them fo’ sho’!!

Click here to learn more about the benefits of faux wood blinds.

How to Clean Wood Blinds

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Wood blinds are amongst the easiest of window coverings to clean. The window blind is made of wood, rendering those individual slats pretty hearty. That being said, they still won’t clean themselves. But with a minimal regular cleaning routine, they will always look amazing.

Many people ask questions like, “What is the best way to clean wood blinds?” or they just want to know how to clean wooden blinds easily. So here is what we suggest.

1. Dust Them

Consider that the window blinds are part of your furniture. They are definitely part of the home décor.  Simply add your wood blinds to the mental list of items that need to be dusted when you, or whomever, is doing the actual cleaning, Use the same dusting products on your blinds that you use on your fine furniture.

2. Use Your Vacuum Attachment

Every now and then, while you are cleaning your house, you will find the need to put that little attachment on to the end of your vacuum. You might be using the attachment to get into the corners of the furniture, or to get to those hard to reach places. Add your wood blinds to the routine. They will look so much better.

3. Use What You Have

Please note that everything so far, and all methods yet to be reviewed, recommend that you use your existing cleaning products. Whether it’s pledge, or your favorite dusting cloth, there is no need to buy anything to specifically clean your wooden blinds. This includes those weird looking slat cleaners. You know what I mean. They look like a hairy ladder, and they are supposed to fit easily into the slats when they are open. For sure, they will do the job, or more accurately, they will do part of the job. They don’t universally clean the slats, and they can cause your real wood blinds to get all askew. The end result is that you will have to do them over with one of the recommended methods above.

4. Never Use Water

Wood blinds are sealed and treated in order to protect the natural materials, but never use water to clean them. This can cause bubbling, sagging, bowing, and other deformities. A clean, dry cloth is really all you need.

5. Use a Dryer Sheet

One easy way to get dust off of your wood blinds is to use a dryer sheet. The dirt and dust will attach itself to the sheet and it will help keep dust off going forward.

To learn more about how to clean your wood blinds, please watch this short and informative how-to video:

 

From the CEO – Our 3-Part Promise

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Hi, I’m Al Silverberg, the CEO of Select Blinds. I’m actually one of the owners, too. Rick Steele, the founder of the company, and I are partners in the business, and we want to share some of the things that we view as important. We can really boil it down to three main thoughts, our 3-part promise.

1 – The Experience

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This is everything about your visit to our site. Shopping for window coverings isn’t an everyday occurrence, but even so, we believe that buying window blinds from Select Blinds should be easy, helpful, and enjoyable. We make it easy by providing information in the right places. For example: information on how to measure for your blinds or shades and how to install them can all be found where you’d expect them to be. If you’re on a product page, there is a tab for measure and install that provides generic information for blinds, and then there is the specific instructions for the exact product that you are considering for your home.

From any page, you can access this information from the drop down menu at the top, called “How To”.

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We are helpful by doing more than just publishing this information. We provide videos as well, but sometimes you just want to confirm that what you are doing is the right thing. We can help you. Using our contact manager will send us your question via email, so we can then respond to you directly. We also have live chat available, and we have our own Phoenix-based customer care team, available to you during extended hours. After all, we know that this is something that most people prefer to do from their home and not their place of work. Enjoyable is a relative term. We know that this is not necessarily the most fun thing you can spend your valuable time on, but we do our best to think about our site in the same manner in which you do. We respect your time, and hope that it comes across in our way of doing business.

2 – The Assortment

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Each window is unique. Not in the makeup of the glass and frame, but in the role it plays in your home. And being unique requires that the window covering is the perfect fit for its unique role. That’s why we have more than one-hundred products. Our assortment is broad enough to cover any requirement. There are sites with more and sites with fewer options, but not a single other site offers more of the right assortment. By January of 2017, we will be offering only products that are cord-free. This is for aesthetic and safety reasons. Aesthetically, who wants cords dangling on the window sill or pooling on the floor? Nobody! And safety, because there are no cords for small children or pets to get tangled up in.

3 – The Price

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

Fair. That’s right, fair. Our products are of the highest quality, configured with upgrades and offered with options, and at better pricing than most. You might find cheaper, but you won’t find a better value.

Once again, I’m the CEO. Don’t just take my word for it. Do your research. You’ll find that nearly a quarter of a million customers have independently reviewed our experience, assortment, and price. And they back me up. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

High Price Does Not Mean High Quality – A Personal Experience from CEO, Al Silverberg

I’m the CEO of SelectBlinds, and a do-it-yourselfer on almost every home improvement project that I can get away with. My wife and I moved into our current house about one year ago. The house was built in 1980, and was in really good condition, but as far as we were concerned, there were quite a few things that we wanted to upgrade, including the window coverings. As I mentioned already, I am the CEO of SelectBlinds, so access to the latest and greatest was not a problem.

We covered all of the windows that needed to be covered, meaning the bedrooms, and the front facing windows. The beautiful view of the backyard was a big selling point, so we left the rear facing floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors bare, just like the people from whom we bought the house did.

We hung battery-powered motorized cell shades in the bedroom. I measured and installed them myself, and I have to admit, it was a fairly easy process, and when I was done, I had a feeling of accomplishment. The other windows were covered with roller shades, roman shades, and non-motorized, cordless honeycomb shades.

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The price was not a big concern, but I was aware of the price, and was also aware of the fact that the shades were fairly priced, and they are all excellent quality products. I ordered them through our web site, just like any customer, and all of the blinds and shades that I ordered were delivered promptly, and without damage or issues. Overall a really positive experience. Go, SelectBlinds!

Fast forward to the present, which is mid-December, 2014. We live in Phoenix, and you might have heard that it gets a little warm in the summer. Those rear facing windows point to the north, so there is no direct sunlight on them, but, man, you can really feel the heat. So we decided that we were going to put solar shades on the windows and doors, and we were going to have them motorized. Battery powered is ok, but after using the ones in our bedroom for a year, and having to replace batteries in some of them, I decided that we were going to have these shades motorized, hard wired. I also decided that I was going to take this opportunity to experience a full-service design center, and have a “professional” take care of everything.

October 15th was the date of our first meeting with a Hunter Douglas full-service window coverings design center/dealer. The meeting went well. They brought out sample books of the types of products that we were considering, but surprisingly to me, the swatches were not even as good as the ones that we send out for free to any visitor to our site. Our swatches are bigger, and they are made in a way that it is easy to hold them up to your window to get a real good feel as to how they will look on your windows.

We had the dealer measure the windows, and knowing that I am “in the industry”, he was kind enough to work with the manufacturer, Hunter Douglas, in order to get me a discounted price. So there was a little delay in getting to the point where we said “GO”.  The exact date was 10/31, and they confirmed the order on Nov 1st. I’ll skip the details, but December 16th they finally installed our shades.

Am I happy? I’m always happy! I don’t feel good about the in-home, Hunter Douglas design center dealer experience though. I spent a ton of money, got the shades in an unacceptable amount of time, and the results, well, I’ll let you decide.

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Moral of this story? You don’t have to pay more for perceived quality. Just because something costs more doesn’t mean its quality will match its price.