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.
I spray ink pen marks with hair spray, then launder as usual. Easy and it works!
My tip is to remove the blinds from the windows, take them outside and hang them up. Spray them with Dow foaming bathroom cleaner. Let it soak, then spray it off gently with a water hose. Let them air dry.
I put hooks or screws in my privacy fence and hang the blind there. Spray with an all purpose cleaner and wait a few minutes, then hose them off. Hanging them on the privacy fence makes it much easier.
My easy cleaning mini blind tip is; take the blinds outside, hang them from suction mounted brackets stuck to an outside window, spray the blind with any bathroom cleaner, let the cleaner do its job, then rinse the blind clean with a garden hose. Simple, the way I like it!
A small squirt of Rinse Agent (Jet Dry) like you use in your dishwasher, in the soapy wash water will make the water shed off like water on a duck’s back when you rinse. Can use the Rinse Agent in soapy water you clean your outside windows with and they will dry almost streak free.
I often use lemons to cut grease and it works great!
I’ve got some mini blinds in my bathroom that look terrible right now; I will have to try this on them.
I don’t bother with deep cleaning mini blinds. I buy them at Walmart or the dollar store for three dollars a piece, and replace them when they need it. I dust them and replace them when necessary, by just slipping out the old ones, and in with the new ones. They are made of cheap plastic and they would probably break doing a deep cleaning on them. Also, when painting a room, sometimes you need to change the color from ivory to white to match the trim.
If you accidentally bend a slat, you can repair it with MiniBlindRx. I saw it in “This Old House” magazine and it worked really well. Now they sit straight and level again.
L. Jackson says
How do I remove the blinds from the brackets?
The humidity/dust combination on our blinds was tough to clean. We hung the blinds outside, filled a garden sprayer with a vinegar/water/Dawn solution and gently misted the blinds with the solution. We let it soak for a couple of minutes (used the wand to turn the blinds in the opposite direction & misted that side too), then used our power washer on LOW to carefully remove the residue (rotated the blinds to power wash the other side). Finally, we used a leaf blower on LOW to eliminate most of the water. Allowed the blinds to dry before rehanging them indoors. While the blinds were drying, we cleaned the inside of the windows. Did one room per day & it worked like a charm.
Here’s the standard measurement for thevcleaning mixture: 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of Dawn liquid soap. It works great on the blinds (as described above) and for cleaning the windows. Spray on windows–use squeegee to remove–paper towels to buff.
I have a rental property with 52 mini-blinds so removing them is not practical — here’s what works for me: never soak them as you could make the finish bubble. Vacuum them first – running the soft vacuum attachment over each blind and making sure to open the air flow valve on your vacuum so you don’t put too much pressure on the mini blinds. Then close them and Windex (I usually work with 12″ at a time), then wipe each blind with a microfiber cloth. Note that you will have more dirt on the top and bottom blinds where dust collects. Also, if you have any bug residue (little black dots) that the Windex doesn’t melt off, use a Magic Eraser.