The Right Time for Picking Blinds

Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades | SelectBlinds.comClassic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades

Sometimes the room just looks old, and you know it. There is a need to redecorate, renovate, upgrade, or refresh that room.

Which room?

Any room. Every room.

The bedroom could be in need of a new blanket, bedspread, or crisp new sheets. Or it could be none of those items. It might be something that you just can’t quite put your finger on.

The family room could be the one that sets you off on taking action to redecorate. It is the family room, after all, and this is a room to be taken very seriously, especially if it is treated in the way that lets you call it the family room – without any caveats.

Or the kitchen might be the attention-required room. This is the most difficult room to pin down. There are so many things that can make a huge impact on the room and make it seem like you did a whole new kitchen makeover. New place settings, new paint, new wallpaper, upgraded appliances. And the number one way to significantly transform the look and feel of any room in your house is new window blinds.

There is more than one way to look at anything. Generally speaking, are you wondering what the best timing is for choosing new window treatments? There is a school of thought that says, go ahead and pick new window coverings and get them installed, and then decide if it is necessary to look at further updates. This can be said for the simple reason that fabrics, colors, materials, lift systems, and UV protection blinds have progressed tremendously in recent years.

Lift cords are on the road to extinction. Cordless lift from the bottom up and from the top down is now a reality. In fact, SelectBlinds.com has transitioned to a cordless window covering site, period. There are safety reasons for eliminating the lift cords. They can act like a noose, and they manage to kill an average of one kid a month, and this is with the measures in place as dictated by the CPSC. And they are just plain unsightly.

Have you had guests over to your home, and you’ve managed to work this kind of comment into the conversation? “Hey, Bill. We just got new blinds. Man, you gotta see the way these lift cords pool on the floor in such a neat pattern.”

Of course not! But I can tell you that I have had people over to my house and have indeed said things like:

“Hey, Lee. You gotta see these new shades that we are bringing in for 2016. First of all, they’re cellular, and we are the online leader of selling cordless window shades. We shipped 83% of our cellular window coverings in a cordless lift in 2015. We have increased that in 2016.

“They look great, they are easy to install, and measuring is pretty cut and dry. Plus, they will help with the insulation factor of your house. And you’re buying from the most reviewed and recommended blind company on the web.”

So with all that said, you might find that after the relatively minor expense of the window treatment renovation, you need do nothing else.

The Dangerous Truth of Corded Window Coverings & How We’re Changing the World

Go Cordless and keep your family safe.

Did you know that one child every month dies from window covering cord strangulation? And that’s not counting those who are injured or those injuries and close-calls that aren’t even reported. And did you know that these types of deaths are silent deaths? Even if it’s happening in the next room, you might not know until it’s too late, until the damage has already been done, until you’ve lost your child.

Take a moment and think. How many windows do you have in your house? And how many of those windows have some kind of covering on them?

My Own House

I live in a decent-sized house, and it sports 25 or so windows with coverings. I’d like to believe that I was involved in the decision-making process when choosing them, but really that just makes me feel better about the fact that I was only involved in the paying part.

When it was all said and done, my wife and I had a good mixture of treatments on our windows. Because my house wasn’t a new construction, we left some up that came with the house. And that’s when I started comparing corded versus cordless coverings for windows.

Out of 25 treatments, only 3 of them had a corded lift system – all of them roman shades. Two I intentionally designed that way and the other was from the stack of returns SelectBlinds.com had received. After all, I wanted something for my man cave, and my only criterion was the size of the treatment. And if you were to come to my house, you’d agree that it’s the ugliest shade in the whole house, by a long shot.

Dangling lift cords visually unappealing, but they're also unsafe.

Needless to say, these are my least favorite treatments in the house. Not only are the dangling lift cords visually unappealing, but they’re also unsafe. Even though this shade and all the coverings for windows sold by my company, SelectBlinds.com, prior to April 1st, 2016 were CPSC compliant with safety regulations, you can see how they still posed a threat to young children. The cords are knotted every six or seven inches, which is meant to make it impossible for a child or pet to get entangled, but it can lead to strangulation or even suffocation.

Even though I have no small children in my house, these tangled cords remind me of a noose. And that’s exactly what it could become, and what it has become for many families over the years.

Making a Difference

The safety regulations are meant to keep kids safe, but obviously the current regulations aren’t the right ones. These corded shades are coming off of my window and they have come off of SelectBlinds.com as well.

We’ve known for a while that we needed to do more, and so we did:

1. We offer the most free cordless options in the industry.

2. Our free cord cleat program is open to everyone, not just customers. Cord cleats are small parts that window covering cords can be wrapped around. This keeps cords out of the reach of children and pets. After all, we understand that not everyone can upgrade their current coverings to cordless ones. People just have to request them through our site, and they’re sent free of charge, no strings attached. Even so, a cordless lift system is the only 100% safe option. No cords = safe children.

And yet, we still felt the need to make more of a difference, to save more lives. And so…

At Select Blinds, 2016 is the year of cordless.

So why do all this? Why do it when it will cost us a lot of money, time, and resources?

Because it’s the right thing to do. Simple as that.

We’ve cut the cord!

The Time Has Come – A Message from the CEO

Meet our CEO Al.

The time has come for you to do something with your window coverings. They have to be changed.

Your window treatments are old. Your window shades let light through, but you want total blackout shades. You’re moving into a new house and all of the windows need covers. Or you are moving into a pre-owned house and you want to change the window covers to match your décor. Or you are ready to take the plunge into the cordless lift system and eliminate those unsightly cords that pool on the sill or floor, also potentially causing serious injury or more to little kids.

Why cordless?

Whatever the reason, you’ve made the decision. The discussion is now where do you shop. The Internet is always a great place to do research. But beyond that, it really is a great place for shopping. There is just that nagging concern about DIY products that is natural. Even though we say it’s easy, you might not be able to install the new treatments for your windows when they arrive. Then what? You bought them on the computer, you don’t even know where they are coming from.

Worry, not at all. SelectBlinds.com offers the simple and smart way to shop for window coverings, and the fact is, it is really easy to install our products, especially when you order inside mount!

Inside mount eliminates the need to measure and pre-mark the height of the bracket holes. The brackets can be screwed into the top of the window frame, making it necessary to only mark the depth inside of the window frame, in order to make sure that they won’t interfere with the workings of the window.

Each type of mounting bracket has at least two options for the screw holes. Most shades offer the top and the back of the frame as options, and most window blinds give the choice of top, side, and back. The difference between them is very basic. Shades are fabric-based, and the others are made with either real wood or faux wood slats and can be horizontal or vertical.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the product definitions, horizontal window treatments that are going to be inside mounted, utilize two brackets at the ends, and if the blind is wider than what the two end brackets will support, there are supplemental brackets that go in between. Simple as pie. Just mount the end brackets on the appropriate side, in the corners of the top inside of the window frame. They can be screwed into the top, back, or side. It’s very difficult to make a mistake.

Shades, other than roller shades, have brackets that connect to the top rail, and can be mounted in an inexact distance from the ends, and are screwed in through the top or back of the bracket.

Nothing to it. I’m the CEO of SelectBlinds.com, and I hang all of my window coverings myself. The first was a little intimidating, but after that, clear sailing!

How to Clean Roman Shades

Tips to keep your roman shades clean

Romans are a unique style of window covering that uses a variety of materials and offers two fold styles. All of this combined gives romans the elegance of drapery with the modern functionality of window shades.

1. Vacuum Brush Attachment

Because of that, cleaning roman shades should resemble the way you clean draperies and/or curtains. I happen to have several romans in my home, and I use the oblong brush attachment for the vacuum.

This process should take place while the shades are in the lowered position, giving you access to all of the material that is exposed on a regular basis. Once it is lowered, the fun begins. It’s really quite simple. Start with the fold section closest to the top, and gently vacuum the material in a downward direction. For the best look, continue across that fold by using the same downward motion. By doing so, the material will be consistent in the way that the fibers lay. Otherwise, you face the risk of the material looking like a freshly cut lawn. You know what I mean. One stroke lays the nap down, and the adjacent section will fluff it up. Just like on a rug.

The wider the oblong vacuum attachment, the easier and quicker the chore!

2. Spot Clean

If you need to spot clean, use a slightly damp cloth and use very mild detergent or even soap. Never rub the fabric. Instead, only dab at the spots. This will keep the fabric looking new, bright, and clean.

3. Regular Cleaning

The best thing you can do for your romans is to clean or dust them regularly. And because it’s so simple to do, your shade will stay looking great even longer.

Learn more about our cordless roman shades here:

Transform Your Home with Window Coverings

Transform your home - window by window.

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.

How to Clean Shutters

Learn how to clean shutters

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

Learn how to clean vertical blinds

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

Learn how to clean mini blinds

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. 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

Keep your faux wood blinds clean

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 window treatments. 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 fauxs.