One of the most aggravating, but necessary, jobs in keeping your house spic and span is cleaning your vertical blinds. Blinds represent your house both inside and out, and your house represents you.
Fabric Blind Considerations
- Soaking fabric vanes will cause them to lose their sizing, fire retardant and soil repellent additives.
- Never use hot water to clean fabric vanes.
- To dry fabric vanes, never put them in a clothes dryer, wring them out, fold them over a clothes line or crush them. Instead, use a towel to gently remove any excess moisture. Then re-hang them and allow them to air dry completely. If you are concerned about water spots, a blow dryer or fan can be used to speed up the drying process.
Dusting Vertical Blinds
You Will Need:
- Dust or enzyme spray
Steps to Dust Blinds:
Dusting vertical blinds regularly, as you do the rest of your home, will keep them cleaner longer. Use a duster that lifts the dust right off the blinds rather than on that moves it around, such as a rag. The Fuller Ostrich Feather Duster or Swiffer Dusters are good choices here.
- Use a dusting detergent spray or enzyme spray on the slats to loosen dust.
- Starting at the top, run the duster down to the bottom. Repeat for each slat.
- Replace the duster and/or apply additional spray as needed.
- If the blinds are especially dirty, it may be helpful to vacuum them first and/or follow the disting with a good washing using the steps above.
Quick (Dry) Cleaning for Vertical Blinds
You Will Need:
- Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment
- Lamb’s wool duster (NOT a plastic duster)
- A rubber dry cleaning sponge (NOT a cellulose wet sponge)
- All-purpose cleaner in a spray bottle
- Clean, soft cloths
Steps to Clean the Blinds:
- It is often easiest to clean vertical blinds while they are still hanging. This is true for vinyl, aluminum, fabric and wood. It is best NOT to take them down.
- Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to gently remove any loose dust and debris. The brush uses less suction, so it is more gentle on the blinds. Start at the top and clean in a downward motion. If you brush upward, the slats may come unhooked.
- Follow the vacuum cleaning with the lamb’s wool duster. Again, start at the top and work down the slats.
- For fabric and vinyl blinds, use the rubber dry cleaning sponge to remove stubborn dust and residue the vacuum or duster has not removed. These can be found at most hardware stores.
- For spot cleaning soiled areas, spray an all-purpose cleaner onto a clean, dry cloth and rub it on the spot. Never spray a cleaner directly onto a slat. Rinse by rubbing a cloth moistened with clean water over the area.
- If fabric blinds become very dirty, take them to a professional cleaner for the best results.
Washing Vertical Blinds
You Will Need:
- Vertical Blind Cleaning Tool
- Mild soap or detergent (choose one that is safe to use on the type of blinds you are cleaning)
- Towels or drop cloths
Steps to Wash Hanging Blinds:
- Vertical blind cleaning tools can be found at most janitorial supply stores. If not, you can make one. Take a pair of BBQ tongues. Cut a cellulose sponge to fit into the ends of the tongs and glue the pieces securely using waterproof glue. Clamp and allow the glue to set overnight.
- Cleaning blinds can be messy. It may be helpful to place a tarp or several towels under the blinds to catch any drips and protect the floors.
- Fill one bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild soap or detergent. If you are unsure about the color fastness of your blinds, test a small area first.
- Fill a second bucket with clean, cool water. This will be the rinse water.
- Dip the cleaning tool in the soapy water. Allow the sponges to become saturated.
- Starting at the top of your blinds, Place the blinds slat between the two sides of the cleaning tool and press it together. Slide it down to the bottom.
- Clean the sponges in the rinse water and squeeze them out.
- Dip them in the soapy water and repeat the cleaning. If the blinds are especially dirty, it may take several swipes over each slat to get them completely clean. Change both the soapy water and rinse water as necessary to avoid reapplying the dirt.
- Once clean, allow the blinds to air dry completely. They can also be dried with a towel to remove any excess moisture and avoid drip marks.
- If there are stained areas, treat them with a spot cleaner or stain remover applied to a soft cloth.
Steps to Wash Removed Blinds:
- In some cases, it will be easiest to remove the blinds and wash them. If the blinds are flexible, such as fabric blinds, they can be removed and washed in a bathtub. However, if they are stiff, caution will need to be used to prevent any creases, bends or other damage.
- Remove the blinds using the steps below. If needed, mark the direction the blinds were facing. Although it may seem obvious, it can be difficult to tell which side is the front. You may also want to number them so you can reinstall them in the same order.
- Spread out a tarp outdoors or place the blinds in a bathtub, depending on their size and stiffness.
- Wash the slats with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth or sponge.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- Dry each slat with a soft towel.
- Re-hang the slats and allow them to dry completely.
- If you are concerned about water spots, place a fan in front of the blinds to speed up the drying process.
If your blinds have been in a house that had a fire, smoky cooking in the kitchen or a cigarette smoker, here’s how to remove the oily smoke and soot build-up for plastic blinds. For fabric blinds, use the section above for Quick (Dry) Cleaning for Vertical Blinds. The rubber dry cleaning sponges work well for removing soot and smoke residue.
You Will Need:
- White vinegar
- A spray bottle
- A cloth
Steps to Remove the Smoke Residue:
- Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle or other container.
- Spray the solution onto the cloth.
- Wrap the damp cloth around the top of one blind vane and gently run the cloth down the vane so that both sides are wiped at once.
- Repeat this process as many times as needed to remove the smoke residue. As you move to a new vane, you may need to rotate the cloth or get a clean cloth if there was a lot of smoke residue on the previous vane.
- Once the bulk of the smoke residue has been removed, wash the blinds as described above in the section Washing Vertical Blinds.
Removing and Reinstalling Vertical Blinds
While cleaning, you may notice that one of the slats or vanes is damaged and needs replacing. To remove a vane for replacement or cleaning:
- Open the blinds completely.
- In turn, lift each vane up and off the hook on the holder or carrier.
- Bend the vane outward to open the holder and bend it down to pull it out
- For vinyl or aluminum vanes with a spacer chain, remove the screw or clip that secures the end of the chain, feed the chain out through the vane you’re removing and as many others as necessary to get to the damaged vane.
- For fabric vanes, disconnect the spacer-chain connector from one side of the vane weight and pull the weight out of its pocket in the bottom of the vane
- Obtain a replacement vane at the place where you purchased the blinds.
- To install a vane, orient it the same way as the other vanes. Grasp the vane near the top and gently push it up into the holder, then down to lock it into place.
- For vinyl or aluminum vanes, thread the chain through the holes in the replacement vane and then through all other vanes up to the chain-anchor point. Be sure to maintain the proper spacing.
- For fabric vanes, reinsert the vane weight (clip side up) into the pocket of the vane and clip the spacer chain connector to it.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Clean blinds weekly with a quick vacuum for easy upkeep. This will also minimize the need for more thorough cleanings and washings.
- When in doubt, contact the manufacturer or dealership for additional cleaning advice. Vertical blinds can be an investment that is worth protecting and cleaning properly. There are also professional services that will clean you blinds for you.