How to Clean Blinds Quickly and Easily

By Judy Schumer


Trendy window treatments get all the glory, but the hard-working blinds need a little bit of love now and then too. Knowing how to clean blinds will not only make your home look cleaner, but getting rid of dust, dust mites, pet hair, dirt, and grime that can build up on your blinds makes for a healthy home.


While the thought of cleaning all those horizontal or vertical surfaces may make you want to hyperventilate, there are easy ways to clean blinds. Most of the time, you won’t even have to take them down.


Whether they’re vinyl, wood, or fabric, you can get your blinds sparkling in no time with just a few tools and DIY cleaners. This guide will show you how to clean blinds when they’re dirty and how to keep your blinds clean for the long run.

how to clean blinds

Photo via  Heather (New House New Home)


How Blinds Get Dirty

Most of the dirt on your blinds is dust. Microscopic particles, including dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, float around in your home’s air every time there is movement of some sort. Cool spring breezes, warming winter heat, refreshing summer air conditioning, or just opening a door can help to keep the dirt drifting in the air until it comes to rest on the slats of your blinds.

 

Cigarette smoke, cooking oil particles, and even sunlight can cause your blinds to become discolored. Grease from cooking can also create a film that attracts even more dust to settle on your blinds. Whatever the cause of the dirt and discoloration, cleaning your blinds can make a big difference in how your home looks and feels.


How Often You Should Clean Blinds

Deciding how often to clean your blinds depends on where you live, the season (pollen, heat, and air conditioning), whether you have pets, and if the blinds are close to your kitchen.

 

The best way to keep blinds from building up grime and allergens is to do a weekly light cleaning using the brush attachment to your vacuum. You can also use a dryer sheet as a dusting cloth; not only will it pick up dust, but it will leave a thin layer of residue that repels dust from settling on the slats. 


Do a deeper cleaning once a month to remove smudges and heavier dirt. Keep in mind that weekly dusting will require you to deep clean less often.


How to Clean Wood Blinds

Wood blinds need to be cared for differently than vinyl or fabric because wood can warp or stain. With the proper care, wood blinds can look beautiful for many years.

 

Before doing any deeper cleaning, dust your wood blinds first. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to clean up dust as you would during a weekly cleaning, or use a microfiber cloth to wipe the blinds by hand. Dust the blinds on both sides. Use the wand attached to the blinds to turn the slats inward and outward.


Once you’ve got the wood blinds free of dust, use a wood cleaner (see recipe below) to remove any remaining dirt or grease.

 

Below is an excellent and safe solution for homemade wood cleaner. Not only does it clean and condition the wood, but it smells fantastic!

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Funnel
  • 1 cup white vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup mineral oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 20 drops lemon or orange essential oil
  • Glass spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloth

 

Mix all ingredients in a glass spray bottle. Spray a cleaning cloth with the mixture and wipe down both sides of the blinds. Be careful not to soak the cloth too much—you want to avoid any puddles of liquid sitting on the wood blinds.

 

Paint Your Wood Blinds

Once your wood blinds are clean, you may want to go all-in and paint them. Luckily, we’ve got the tutorial for that— get it here.


How to Clean Vinyl Blinds 

Vinyl blinds are the easiest blinds material to keep clean because vinyl is very forgiving when it gets wet.


Like with all blinds, you should thoroughly dust them before cleaning them more deeply. Use your vacuum or a microfiber cloth to remove loose dust from the front and the back of the blinds. Once you remove the dust, wipe your vinyl blinds with a simple homemade cleaner to eliminate any smudges or leftover dirt. Make your own vinyl blinds cleaner using the following recipe:

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Funnel 
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  •  4 drops liquid dish soap 
  • 2 ¼ cups warm water
  • ½ cup club soda
  • Glass spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloth

 

Combine all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle. Dampen a cleaning cloth with the solution and wipe both sides of the blinds with the cloth, rinsing the cloth often.

how to clean vinyl blinds

Photo via  Ellora at Creatively Southern


How to Deep Clean Vinyl Blinds

If your blinds have leftover grime even after wiping them down with the homemade spray cleaner, try this method to deep clean them:

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • Non-abrasive sponge


Step 1: Remove Blinds

Remove the blinds from their dedicated windows. Do not remove the brackets that are screwed into the window frame.

 

Step 2: Fill Bathtub With Solution

Put blinds in the bathtub and a stopper in the tub drain. Fill the tub with enough water to cover the blinds, adding a few drops of grease-cutting dish soap along with a quart of vinegar to the water as it is running.

 

Step 3: Soak and Scrub

Soak the blinds for an hour. Use a non-abrasive sponge to clean off stubborn dirt.

 

Step 4: Rinse Blinds

Drain the tub, then rinse the blinds thoroughly with clean water. Hold them above the tub to let any excess water drain off.

 

Step 5: Let Dry

Either air dry the blinds outside or hang them back up and dry with a towel.


How to Clean Fabric Blinds

Fabric blinds need regular dusting to avoid getting grungy. To clean fabric blinds, first fully extend the blinds and twist them closed. Using your vacuum with the brush attachment, gently vacuum the surface of the blinds. Use the crevice tool to get into deeper pleats. If your fabric blinds have spots or stains on them, use this mild solution to spot clean them:

 

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Funnel
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water
  •  ½ cup club soda
  • Glass spray bottle
  • Sponge


Combine all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle. Dampen a clean sponge with the solution and dab stained spots on both sides of the blinds with the sponge. Rinse the sponge and reapply the solution until the stain is lifted. (Be sure to test the mixture on the fabric in an inconspicuous place, like the bottom of the blinds.) Let the blinds air dry.

 

If your fabric blinds require a heavier cleaning, it’s best to have them dry cleaned or call a professional to come to your home to clean them. Attempting to wet or soak fabric blinds yourself is not recommended, as it can damage them and result in having to replace them entirely.

how to clean vertical blinds

Photo via  Knelso18


How to Clean Vertical Blinds

Whether you’re cleaning fabric or vinyl vertical blinds, it’s best to remove them before cleaning so the clips that hold them don’t break. It also tends to be easier to clean each of the slats while they are lying flat.


To remove the blinds from the headrail, you’ll see a clip at the top of each slat. Unhook each slat from the clip. You can even use a credit card to help open the clip safely. Lay all the slats flat on a clean floor or in a bathtub.

 

After removing your vertical blinds, give them an initial wipe-down by doing the following:

 

1.   Use the hose extension and brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the headrail. You can use a cleaning cloth to dust, but you’ll need a step ladder to reach the entire section.

2.   Then, move on to the individual slats. Use your vacuum or a cleaning cloth to remove any dust from each slat. Start at the top and work your way down. Flip each slat over to ensure both sides get a good dusting.


After dusting, it’s time to wipe down vinyl vertical blinds or spot clean fabric vertical blinds.


How to Clean Vinyl Vertical Blinds:

As we mentioned before, vinyl is a resilient material that can withstand a good soak. Here’s how to clean vinyl vertical blinds in the bathtub.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • 2 tablespoons mild liquid dish soap
  • 2 quarts white vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Step ladder (optional)


Step 1: Fill Bathtub

Plug your tub and fill it halfway with warm water, adding two tablespoons of mild liquid dish soap and two quarts of white vinegar as the water runs.

 

Step 2: Soak and Scrub

Let the blinds soak for an hour. Then wipe each blind with a sponge to remove smudges or greasy spots.

 

Step 3: Empty and Rinse

Empty the tub and rinse the blinds thoroughly with clean water.

 

Step 4: Let Dry

Dry each slat with a towel and allow to finish drying while laying flat. Once completely dried, you can rehang each slat back onto the headrail. Be gentle as you hang each one to avoid breaking any of the clips. You may want to use a step ladder to reattach the slats; your arm muscles will thank you later.


How to Clean Fabric Vertical Blinds

To spot clean fabric vertical blinds, use two tablespoons of mild laundry detergent diluted in a gallon of water. Wet a clean sponge and lightly rub any spots to remove them. Repeat until the spots are gone. Use a clean-water damp cloth to remove any soap residue. Let the blinds air dry.

 

If the fabric is especially dirty all over, it’s a good idea to call a professional cleaner or dry cleaner, as soaking the material can damage it.


Tips for Keeping Your Blinds Clean

 To keep your blinds clean longer between deep cleanings, use these tips:

  • Vacuum blinds weekly to keep dust and dirt from compacting onto the slats.
  • Use an air purifier in your home to cut down on the airborne particles that can end up resting on your blinds.
  • Wipe down blinds monthly to keep dirt from permanently becoming lodged onto the surface of your blinds.
  • Spot clean your fabric blinds as soon as you notice a spot to avoid permanent stains.
  • Keep a supply of the right cleaner on hand so you can clean your blinds regularly.


When to Replace Blinds

Now that you know how to clean blinds, you can help the ones you have last years longer. However, even with proper care, there will be a time when you’ll need to think about replacing your blinds.

If any part of your blind is broken, it’s time to consider replacing them. Broken slats, frayed or ripped cords, and malfunctioning mechanisms are not only unsightly but can be dangerous, especially to small children. 

 

If your blinds remain dirty even after taking steps to clean them, they may be permanently stained. While still operable, you may want to replace them to keep your home looking clean and fresh. 

 

How often do you clean your blinds? How do you keep them sparkling? Let us know in the comments—we love to hear from you!

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