HOW TO CLEAN WINDOW BLINDS AND SHADES
Just like everything else around the house, your window treatments can get dirty, too. Cleaning them may not be at the top of your to-do list, but they do deserve a little TLC once in a while just to shake the dust off and keep your blinds or shades looking good, and in good working order.
How to clean your coverings depends on the type of treatment on your windows. Use this guide to take the guesswork out of how to clean any type of window covering, from dusty cellulars, aluminum minis and relaxed romans to fabulous faux, woven and real wood products and more. Read on to learn how best to get them all looking spiffy again!
One of the benefits of wood window treatments is that they’re really easy to clean -- and they don’t need to be cleaned very often. When they do, though, here are a few tips.
First of all, never wash your wood blinds with water. Although the wood has been sealed, water can still cause warping, discoloration, bowing, or bubbling. Ultrasonic cleaners and chemical solvents can also damage wood slats. Here’s all you need to keep them looking like new:
- Tilt each blind slat individually to a 45-degree angle, first one way and then the other. This can help knock the dust loose, instantly making them cleaner.
- With a dry, soft feather duster, a clean cloth, dust cloth, or dusting mitt, lightly wipe or brush the top of each slat. (Tip: An old sock pulled over your hand works great to remove dust from both the top and bottom of the slats at the same time.)
- You can also suck it up and use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum to get rid of any spider webs and dust bunnies.
Faux Wood Blinds
Because they’re more durable and moisture-resistant than real wood window treatments, you can clean faux woods with a little bit of water to remove smudges and grime. Most household sponges can be pretty abrasive, though, so go with a soft cloth to soak up the dirt. To get the best results, follow these steps:
- Use a dry rag or the soft brush attachment on your vacuum to remove any loose dust from the slats.
- Add a small amount of soap or detergent to a warm, damp cloth to get rid of any grease or sticky finger prints.
- Go back over the slats again with a clean damp cloth to remove any soap residue and avoid streaking.
Aluminum Mini Blinds
Incredibly durable aluminums are some of the easiest window treatments to clean. Here’s how:
- Just dust and wipe with a simple dry rag for a quick buffing up.
- For a deeper clean, you can use cold or warm water in a spray bottle with a tiny amount of soap. (Never use hot water, as the aluminum will heat up, and that could really hurt.)
- Spray on a lint-free towel and wipe down each slat, being careful not to bend or twist the slats while cleaning them.
- Been a while since your minis have seen a dust mitt? If your aluminum window treatments are especially dirty, remove them from the window and soak them in the bathtub first to loosen up and easily wipe away any debris.
Popular cell shades are made with multiple layers of fabric that create small, honeycomb-shape cells (hence the name) that trap cold and hot air, making them highly energy efficient. However, the pleated fabric and cells can also trap dirt and dust, which over time, can cause your cellulars to develop a dull, yellowish tint. Clean them regularly to keep them looking crisp using these simple tips:
- Be gentle! Because of their unique construction, handle with care when cleaning so they keep their shape.
- For routine dusting, use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner.
- If there is dust inside the cells, use a blow dryer to loosen it up. Turn to the lowest air setting and only use the cool air feature.
- To remove stains, use a slightly damp cloth to gently blot (never rub) at the spot.
Interior and exterior solars are some of the most durable window shades you’ll find. To do their job of protecting you and your interiors from the sun’s harmful UV rays, most are made from fade-resistant PVC fabric. They also resist mold and moisture, so they’re pretty easy to clean. Here’s what you do:
- For a light dusting, use a feather duster or the brush attachment on a vacuum.
- Use mild soap and water on a damp cloth to wipe them down. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and let them air dry.
- Need something stronger than soap and water? Before using other cleaners, test them in an inconspicuous area to make sure they won’t damage or leave spots or marks on your shades. Avoid strong cleaners and disinfectants, especially those containing quaternary ammonium compounds and phenols.
First things first, be sure you never use water to clean bamboo or woven woods. Because they’re made from natural materials, they can weaken and break down when they get wet. Also, rougher, natural fibers used in their construction can easily snag and pull or break off, so light and gentle is the key to clean them, like this:
- Lightly dust your bamboo window shades with a soft feather duster, or a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
- Gently sweep across (not up and down) these natural coverings with a vacuum brush attachment.
Fabric Shades and Drapery
How to care for and clean fabric window treatments like romans or rollers, as well as drapes and curtains, will vary depending on the fabric itself. Check the fabric care and content guides on our product pages for specifics. In general, though, here are a couple of pointers:
- To spot clean, use a damp rag with a very mild, gentle detergent or soap. Only dab at the spots. Do not rub.
- Use a duster or a brush vacuum attachment for a thorough cleaning.
Use the tips above to extend the life of your window coverings by keeping your window blinds and shades clean and looking great.
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