How to Clean Blinds

A blue bucket with a yellow rag sticking out sitting in front of closed blinds.

The best thing about living alone (well, along with my lady friend and my cats) and away from my childhood home is the freedom. I’m not talking about the freedom to stay up late, eat whatever I want, or watch whatever I want. No; I’m talking about the freedom of nudity. That’s right. Nudity. The freedom to walk bare-assed around my apartment without a care in the world about who sees me. It’s a beautiful thing. And no, I’m not calling my ass beautiful. In fact, I’ve starred (without costume) in such straight-to-DVD feature films as Bigfoot in the Burbsand When Animals Attack: Grizzly Country.

You might be wondering what all of this has to do with cleaning blinds. Well, I’ll tell you. With great ass hair comes great responsibility. Every apartment/house I’ve lived in since I left my parents home has come equipped with window blinds. And for the neighbors of someone whose bare butt looks like the floor of a barber shop, this has been a blessing. The only problem is, every time I move I have to go on a blind cleaning spree. They are always dusty, greasy, and disgusting to the point of not wanting to touch them. So, being both lazy and neurotic, I’ve figured out the fastest and the best way to clean blinds. The middle section of this article will cover cleaning mini blinds, cleaning venetian blinds, cleaning vertical blinds, and cleaning wood blinds. The bottom section contains several more tips to help you clean blinds.

How to Clean Window Blinds

  1. feather dusterFor future reference, the most important thing you can do when it comes to cleaning window blinds is to keep up on them. Your time is valuable and if you allow your window blinds to get really nasty between cleanings, it’s gonna take you far longer to clean them than if you had just spent those few extra minutes on prevention. Once a week, go over the blinds with a duster or a soft rag. Close them all the way and dust from top to bottom. Then, close them all the way in the other direction and do the same.
  2. mini-blindsClean mini blinds. Mini blinds are far and away the most common type of blinds. Why? Because they’re cheap. And that’s great. But we all know that cheap usually means dirty. Start by dusting them off with either the method I mentioned above or with a vacuum hose and a brush attachment. Next, fill a bucket with about a gallon of lukewarm water and two tablespoons of mild dish detergent such as Seventh Generation. You will also need a second bucket filled with lukewarm water for rinsing. Set an old dry towel on the window sill, one on the floor, and get to work. Take a soft rag, dip it in the soapy water, start at the top and gently wipe down the front and back of each slat. After you go over the slats with the soapy water, do it again with the fresh water to get the soap off; soap buildup can cause your blinds to yellow over time. This method is good for aluminum blinds and plastic blinds. Now you know how to clean mini blinds.
  3. venetian blindsClean venetian blinds. People get quite concerned about learning how to clean venetian blinds properly. This is understandable. These window blinds have a tendency to cost considerably more than good ol’ fashioned mini blinds. But really, the only differences between the two are slat size and material quality. The method for cleaning venetian blinds is pretty much identical to that of cleaning mini blinds. The only different advice I can offer is to be extra careful with them. If made of plastic or aluminum they can bend, dent, and/or scratch. And remember, since you probably want to keep these blinds around for a good long while, to do a good job with the rinse cloth. You don’t want your blinds to yellow.
  1. Vertical BlindsClean vertical blinds. Because this type of window blind is often found in front of large glass doors that lead to the outside, they have a propensity for getting dirty. For this reason it is important to know how to clean vertical blinds. The method for cleaning vertical blinds is quite similar to the two-bucket method described above for cleaning mini blinds. Do each slat individually, start from the top and work your way down, and lay down some towels to catch the drips. If you are very brave, you can unclip the slats and lay them out one at a time on towels to clean them. However, because while doing this I have broken the plastic clips that hold them in place and have been unable to replace them, I do not recommend it.
  2. Wood blindsClean wood blinds. Knowing how to clean wood blinds is extremely important if you want to keep them looking nice. And so I tell you this: don’t use water. Water bad. Water can seep into the wood, discolor it, warp it, and make your blinds look like garbage. When cleaning wood blinds, start by going over them lightly with the vacuum and a brush attachment. Do this with them closed all the way in both directions and do it lightly so as not to scratch the wood. Next, set an old sheet on the floor to catch dirt, grab a small soft paint brush and brush off all the slats top and bottom. After they’re brushed, close the blinds one way, wipe them down with a soft towel, close the blinds the other way, and do the same.
  3. lady peering through blindsClean extra dirty window blinds. If you need to clean window blinds that are simply too disgusting to clean in place, then I’ve got a couple ideas for you. Use these ideas only for aluminum and plastic mini blinds and aluminum and plastic venetian blinds. First, fill your bathtub with warm (not hot; it can warp plastic) water and gentle dish soap. Next, remove your blinds from their frames and lower them gently into the tub. Let them soak for a good fifteen minutes, drain the water, wipe every slat down (front and back) with a soft sponge or rag, rinse the entire thing off either by running the shower or dumping water on them with a pitcher, and hang them over the shower curtain rod to dry. Another popular method is to simply take them outside, lay them down on a tarp, spray them down with some all purpose cleaner, wipe down both sides, and spray the heck out of ’em with a hose.

Further Tips for Cleaning Blinds

  • Always be gentle when cleaning blinds. They bend, dent, and scratch easily.
  • Blinds should be deep cleaned once every six months.
  • Every time you finish cleaning blinds, regardless of the type, wipe them down with a fabric softener sheet to help them repel dust.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with brush attachment for cleaning woven wood blinds.
  • When it comes time for blinds cleaning, you may wish to just do one set a week instead of cleaning blind after blind all on the same day.
  • To clean the rope or drawstring on your blinds, pull them all the way up so you can get to as much of the rope as possible, lather them with shaving cream and rinse it off by letting the entire string dangle into a cup of fresh water. You may need to use two or more cups to get it all off.
  • For vertical blinds that are covered in cloth, take them down one at a time, lay them on some towels, mix together some mild dish soap and water, and scrub them with a baby toothbrush dipped in the cleaning solution. Rinse them by going over them with a cool wet rag dipped in fresh water.
  • Spot clean plastic and aluminum blinds with a soft damp rag or sponge.
  • For a quick dusting, hit your blinds with a can of compressed air.

Clean Window Blinds Naturally

blind cleaning brushBlind cleaning tools. These handy little doodads are available from a number of online retailers as well as janitorial supply stores. They make some designed for cleaning venetian blinds, some for cleaning vertical blinds, and even some for cleaning mini blinds. You can find some like the Superior Performance Blind Cleaner Brush on Amazon.

Bottles of Seventh GenerationSeventh Generation Products. If you’re using the bucket method that I went over in the main section of this page, use Seventh Generation Dish Soap. It’s 100% natural and works great. If you intend to use the tarp method outside, Give the Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner a go. You won’t be disappointed.

bottle of rubbing alcoholRubbing alcohol.A good method for cleaning vertical blinds is to put on a latex glove, put a clean sock over your glove, dip the gloved/socked hand into a glass of rubbing alcohol and wiping down the slats. Not only does this do a great job of cleaning, the rubbing alcohol will evaporate quickly and not leave any water spots.

bottle of vinegarWhite vinegar.I’m telling you, this stuff is magical. Weather you’re using the soak method, the bucket method, or the squirt method, use vinegar. For the bucket and squirt methods, use a 50/50 mixture. For the soak method with a tub that is filled with about six inches of water, use at least half a gallon. The stronger, the better.

About the Author

Eric D. Ronning

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