Although most of us remember to clean our windows regularly, we often forget about our window blinds. Regular cleaning will keep them looking and working like new; however, this is a chore most people would rather avoid. The secret is to keep dust and grime from building up over time, creating a layer that is tough to remove. When it comes to keeping window blinds clean, prevention is the best tool, so make it part of your regular weekly housecleaning.
Know Your Blinds
Window blind manufacturers create instructions for a reason, so read them carefully and follow the cleaning tips that come with them. Also, look for specific tips and recommendations, so you’ll avoid any potential problems down the road. Manufacturers test their guidelines and can give you the best advice available on how to care for your blinds. As a rule, give your blinds a thorough cleaning every four months, or at the very least, twice a year.
Grandma’s Green Cleaning Method
If your grandmother is like mine, she uses vinegar for everything, including cleaning window blinds. Here’s how:
- Fill a small bowl with white vinegar and find a pair of clean cotton gloves or socks.
- Put your hand inside one of the gloves or socks and dip the tip of the sock, or your fingers into the bowl.
- Run your hand or fingers along each slat to remove the dust and grime. You may need to rinse the sock or glove a few times.
- Switch back and forth between the two socks or gloves, soaking one sock or glove while you use the other.
Important: Although this method is safe for most materials, do not oversaturate the blinds, especially if they are wooden. Water warps wood, so squeeze as much out as possible and dry immediately. Avoid letting the vinegar come into contact with your eyes or skin.
It’s important to know what your blinds are made of, and then to clean them accordingly. Here are some material-specific tips:
- Wooden Blinds – Excess moisture is wood’s worst enemy, so avoid getting wooden blinds wet. To dust them, use a clean, soft cloth, a feather duster or a vacuum brush. To put more life into the wood, use a cleaner made specifically for wood, such as lemon oil. Reading the manufacturer’s guidelines is more important than ever with wooden blinds, so check to see what products the company recommends before you use anything on them. Run a dryer sheet along each slat to keep dust and grime from sticking.
- Faux Wood Blinds – Faux wood blinds are the easiest to clean, because they are durable and resist warping. You can dust them just as you do wooden blinds, but you can also spot clean them using a mild detergent with warm water on a slightly moistened cloth, blotting dry afterwards. Use a dryer sheet to keep dust at bay.
- Vinyl and Aluminum Blinds – Dust often and spot clean stains with mild detergent using warm water and then blot them dry. Tilt the slats up and down slightly to dust both sides, moving along each slat. Avoid pressing down too hard, so you don’t bend or break them. If the dirt is hard to remove, take the blinds off the window and soak them in a bathtub filled with warm, soapy water. Rinse them and wipe dry, or hang them and leave them open to air dry.
- Fabric Vertical Blinds – Dust often with a vacuum brush to avoid build up. Spot clean as directed using a clear detergent to avoid staining, then blog dry. Although you cannot immerse them in water, check the manufacturer’s recommendations to see if you can have them dry cleaned.
Regular cleaning according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will keep your blinds looking as beautiful as the day you got them, as long as you take special care and clean on a regular basis. By avoiding dirt and dust buildup, it will be easy to give them a quick cleaning whenever you clean the rest of your home.
For specific cleaning instructions for all types of blinds, read this post.
Looking for how to clean your window shades? Take a look at this how-to post.