How to Do a Better Job Cleaning Your Window Blinds

Window treatments are often an oversight when it comes to cleaning, but keeping your blinds clean can reduce dust in the home, and consequently help improve the indoor air quality and reduce allergies. We're sharing helpful tips that can be applied to both horizontal or vertical blinds, whether they're plastic blinds, faux-wood blinds, or real wood blinds.

Materials You'll Need

  • Old towels

  • Microfiber cloths, dust wand, or dusting glove

  • Dish soap or household cleaner

  • Wood polish

  • Vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment on a flexible hose

  • Soft cleaning brush

Dusting Blinds With a Microfiber Duster, Cloth or Glove

It's easy to dust vertical or horizontal blinds without taking them down. Leave them installed on your windows. If you're diligent enough to adhere to a weekly cleaning simple, dusting is simple.

  • Extend the blinds fully and open the blind slats so you can reach a dry microfiber cloth or dust wand between each individual slat. Start at the top and dust your way down.

  • For vertical blinds, dust each individual slat top to bottom, moving from left to right to get every slat clean.

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Dusting Blinds with a Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum attachments make it easy to clean your traditional blinds. This can also be done while blinds are hanging, but prepare for the suction and brushing to rattle the accessory. It helps to hold the blinds with one hand while vacuuming with the other.

  1. Get a vacuum with a long hose and soft brush attachment.

  2. Extend the blinds fully and close them to seal out the light, exposing the top edge of each blind.

  3. Use the lowest suction setting on your vacuum and work from top to bottom or left to right.

  4. Turn the reversible slats in the opposite direction, and repeat on the other side.

How to Dust Blinds if You Take Them Down

If you've tried this method, you might agree that it's the most effective way to dust blinds because you can reach both sides of them to get rid of all the dirt, plus any dust in the crevices of the hanging bar. Plus, if you save this deep cleaning chore for the spring or summer, you can do it on your patio or porch and avoid getting your home dusty.

  1. Take down the blinds. Put any screws or attachments in a bowl so you don't lose them.

  2. Lay the blinds down on a flat surface on an old towel, over a clothesline, or even over a deck railing.

  3. Dust them with a clean cloth, then turn them over and dust the other side.

  4. If you have real wood blinds, this is a great time to apply a wood polish to protect the window covering. We prefer a wood spray polish that can be wiped with a clean microfiber cloth.

  5. Once clean, reinstall the blinds in your house.

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Cleaning Stains off Blinds by Hand

Treating spots and stains on your blinds. Most commonly, we find miniscule insect droppings that leave small stains on the slat surface.

  • Once the blinds have been thoroughly dusted, you can clean stains and stubborn dirt with warm water. Use a microfiber cloth dipped in warm, soapy water to wipe down each blade. Make sure to dry them with a dry cloth after you use the damp cloth.

  • For real wood blinds, keep moisture to a minimum to prevent water damage and warping.

Washing Blinds in a Bathtub

Did you know that you can wash metal or vinyl blinds in a utility sink or bathtub? Check the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning your specific blinds. You won't want to submerge metal blinds in water for an extended period of time (rust!), nor is it recommended for wooden blinds or cellular shades, but it's great for non-porous surfaces.

A shower sprayer is helpful for this, but if you don't have one, use a container to rinse the blinds when needed.

  1. Line the tub or sink with old towels so the blinds don't scratch the tub.

  2. Fill the tub with warm water and put in a few drops of dish soap.

  3. Extend your blinds fully and close the slats before putting them in the water.

  4. Hand the top rail over the edge of the tub, and submerge the blinds in the water.

  5. This may be enough to clean them, but you can use a brush or non-abrasive sponge to gently wash off any remaining dirt or dust.

  6. Rinse the blinds thoroughly, making sure to turn them over to reach the back and rinse there also.

  7. Hang the blinds somewhere to dry thoroughly or dry them with a soft cloth.

  8. Rehang them in your room after they are dry.

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Is it possible to whiten yellowed window blinds?

Yes! If you have plastic or aluminum blinds, you can help treat yellowing with bleach. You'll need a bathtub, cold water, 2-3 cups of liquid bleach, cleaning gloves, and a soft cloth or cleaning brush. Fill the bathtub with the cleaning solution. Submerge the blinds for 10 minutes. Wipe each slat as necessary with a cleaning brush and rinse thoroughly. Make sure to let them dry before rehanging.

You can also do this outside by hanging them up and spraying them with a 50/50 water bleach solution. Be sure to rinse and let them dry before returning them to the inside.

Can I clean blinds with dryer sheets?

Dryer sheets are one of those things people think will work, but it doesn't do as good a job as a microfiber cloth. If you do wipe blinds with a dryer sheet, make sure it has already gone through a dry cycle so any residue doesn't end up on the blinds.

Other Tips for Cleaning Blinds

  • Don't use water or cleaners on your blinds until you have dusted them with a dry cloth, glove or want first. If you do, dust will stick, making it harder to remove.

  • When cleaning a room, dust the blinds before you clean the floor.

  • Remove and wash curtains as needed before you clean blinds.

  • Do not use water on wood blinds or fabric blinds.