Oh, those things with the narrow slats do look good, all right, when they’re clean. They are so much classier than big Venetian blinds. But they’re even harder to clean. They attract dust, dirt, grease, pollen, everything but cute guys or hot girls. Delay cleaning them long enough, and they’ll change colors right before your eyes!
Mini-Blind Cleaning Gadgets?
There are a lot of gimmicks out there for doing dry runs on the shades – everything from tiny feather dusters to little chamois’-on-a-stick. Probably the easiest way to dust them is to extend them full-length, close them, and run the vacuum cleaner brush over them (assuming you don’t have one of those super-power cleaners that can suck the blinds right off the windows). Then rotate the slats in the other direction and vacuum again.
Cleaning In The Bath Tub
To wash the blinds, you’ll have to take them off the wall, remove the adjusting rod, and carry them into the bathroom. Before taking them down from the window, raise them to the top position and lock them there. Locking the slats in an “up” position saves you the difficulties of walking through the house holding a blind flapping around like a frightened linguini.
Grease-cutting dish detergent, heavy cloth gloves or old washcloths; large, old towels spread out on the floor, and fabric softener sheets.
The Cleaning Process:
Place the blind in the bathtub and then extend it to its full length. Slats should be only partially closed, either up or down. Cover the blind with warm water and a generous amount of detergent. Let them soak for at least 5 minutes. Alternative cleaning solutions include a 1-to-1 solution of water and ammonia or baking soda or borax. For particularly grimy blinds, add degreaser or pine oil to the bath.
Put on your cloth gloves (or pickup your rags), saturate them in the bath water, and then wash each slat by running your fingers along it and cleaning both sides of each slat at the same time. When you’re done, drain the water if it’s dirty. If not, keep it for the next set of blinds. Remove the blind from the water and, holding it up, rinse the blind well with the shower. It really helps here to have one of those shower extension heads. Turn off the water, let the blind drip a bit, and put it on a towel. Blot it dry with a second towel.
Cleaning the Blinds in Place
If removing the blinds isn’t an option for you, the blinds can simply be cleaned in place. Turn them all the way to closed in one direction as you did to vacuum them. Mix some grease-fighting dish liquid in a bowl of water to create suds. Wet a cloth with the soapy water and wring it out so it’s only damp, not dripping. Wipe each blind slat with the damp cloth, then turn the blinds the other direction to wipe the other side. If there are any stubborn spots that don’t want to come clean, sprinkle a little baking soda on the damp cloth and gently scrub the spot, then wipe it clean with a fresh area on the cloth.
When you have finished cleaning the blinds, visit the guide How to Clean the Strings on Window Blinds to bring the strings back to a bright white (or just back to a clean version of whatever color they are).
Additional Cleaning Tips
- Spray the dry blinds with a liquid fabric softener or run softener sheets across the slats to enable the blinds to resist dust, dirt, and hair. Re-hang.
- Weather permitting, you might prefer to clean the mini-blinds outdoors. Outdoor tools include a garden hose, some kind of line on which you can hang the wet blinds, a sponge and bucket for the water and detergent. You’ll wash and rinse them with the hose, then, instead of toweling them off, hang them up to dry.
- No matter whether you wash them inside or outside, you will notice when you re-hang the blinds that they’re still not perfectly clean. You’ve just gotten the “easy” dirt off. Moreover, some of the slats will stick together and must be separated and dried with a dry rag or paper towel. Using yet another set of dry cotton gloves, run your fingers down the slats after applying a spray cleaner such as 409 to get the last bits of dirt.
- Some people avoid soaking their hands in detergent when washing; instead of using a cotton glove, they slip on a rubber glove and an old sock over that, and clean the slats with the sock. Still others don’t bother with tubs or water at all, and wipe the slats down with rubbing alcohol while the blinds are still hanging in their usual places. Here, too, gloves or old socks can be used.
- Another warm-weather alternative, if you’ve got a van or truck, is to load the blinds up and take them to a self-serve carwash, line them up on the floor, and use the car brush to apply detergent and rinse them off. Final light waxing is up to you. Towel off the excess water, load them back up, take them home, and hang them to dry in the back yard.