Liliane asked: How do I clean a very dirty white roller blind? The blind is made of stiffened white cotton and has been up for a long time. Stains include general dust, dirt and squashed insects. Ewww!
Roller blinds offer simple, elegant window coverings that fit in with nearly every décor. Cleaning methods depend largely on the material that the roller blinds are made of. If the material can be submerged in water, then follow the simple cleaning procedures below. If they are made from a material that cannot become saturated with water, then spot cleaning will be the only safe cleaning option.
Washing the Blinds
You Will Need:
- Mild laundry detergent
- Bleach (optional)
- Sponge or soft cloths
- Old toothbrush
- Vacuum with brush attachment
- Drying rack or outside clothesline
- Bath tub
- Warm water
- Friend to help (optional)
Steps to Clean the Blinds:
- Remove the blinds from the roller if possible and carefully lay them flat on the floor. If you cannot remove them from the roller, it would be best to spot clean them as washing could loosen the glue that is holding the blind onto the roller; use the section below for spot cleaning instead.
- If the blinds are especially dirty, it will be best to begin with a thorough vacuuming to remove the surface dirt.
- Use the brush attachment on the vacuum to gently brush over the surface and vacuum away any loose dirt, dead bugs, etc.
- Next, fill the bathtub about half full of warm water. (If your blinds are too large for the bathtub, see the additional tips section.)
- Add some laundry detergent to the water and mix together until a few suds begin to form on the surface. If the blinds are white, a small amount of bleach can be added to the water as well.
- Next, carefully lay the blinds in the tub. If the blinds are long, it is okay to loosely layer them in an accordion fashion.
- Allow them to soak in the soapy water for a couple of hours.
- Next, start at one end of the blinds and gently wipe them back and forth with a soft cloth or sponge. This will help remove any remaining dirt and/or stains.
- For tough stains, scrub them gently with an old toothbrush.
- Drain the sudsy water from the tub.
- Fill with clean water and rinse the blinds. Repeat until all of the soap is removed. If soap residue remains on the blinds, it will act as a magnet quickly collecting dirt and dust.
- If a partner is available to assist, the blinds can be held up and rinsed with a shower sprayer for quicker soap removal.
- Lay the blinds over a drying rack, shower rod, or outside on a clothesline until they are completely dried. It can help to point a fan on the blinds if indoors to speed drying time and prevent water stains.
- Attach them back onto the roller and reinstall them over the window.
Spot Cleaning the Blinds
You Will Need:
- A vacuum
- Post-It notes
- White foam shaving cream or upholstery foam
- A scrub brush
- Two cloths
- A fan or hair dryer
Steps to Clean the Blinds:
- If the material is glued onto the roller then the blinds must be cleaned while hanging. Use these tips to keep them looking great.
- Inspect the blinds for any stains or dirt spots. You can mark the spots with a Post-It note as you inspect.
- If the blinds are dusty or generally dirty, begin by vacuuming them with the upholstery brush attachment. Always brush with the grain of the blinds if they have one (usually side-to-side).
- Clean the stains or dirt spots with some white foam shaving cream or with an upholstery foam cleaner by applying the foam on the dirty spot and scrubbing it gently with a soft scrub brush like an old toothbrush or nail brush. Wipe off any excess foam, then blot with a damp cloth to rinse. The blotting is not strictly necessary, however, when there is a residue from a cleaner that remains on a surface it will often attract dirt, quickly leading to stains once again.
- If the blinds are dirty all over, you can use the foam all over them. Use a larger brush to save time, such as an old soft-bristled dish brush. Work in small sections, scrubbing the foam in, wiping off the foam with a cloth, then blotting the area with a damp cloth to rinse. Again, the blotting is not strictly necessary, but will help to keep the blinds clean for longer.
- Open the windows and/or point a fan on the area to speed drying time, which will help to prevent water stains. Drying the blinds with a hair dryer on cool air can also help.
Additional Tips and Ideas
- For large roller blinds that are too big to soak in a bathtub, you can either use a rectangular kiddie pool or create a makeshift tub by laying a tarp flat on the ground, standing 2x4s of wood on their sides along each edge and wrapping the tarp up and around each piece of wood to hold the water in.
- Color-safe bleach can be utilized for added cleaning power on colored blinds.
- Avoid using harsh cleaners on the fabric as it may damage the material.
- For paper blinds, spot clean with a slightly moist cloth and allow them to dry completely before reinstalling over the window.
- Regular cleanings will help keep major dirt and stains from building up on roller blinds.
- If you do end up with water stains, they can be removed by wiping a damp cloth over the blind (work in small sections), and then drying the area with a hair dryer on cool air. The cloth should be only slightly damp, not dripping, so be sure to wring it out well.