How to Clean Vertical Blinds

How to Clean Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds are a very functional and popular window treatment for large windows and patio doors in high traffic areas. They may need to be cleaned periodically to keep looking their best. Once you’ve read the info below, you’ll be ready to go. We recommend fully reading the instructions before beginning.

Note: This guide does not refer to cellular vertical blinds.

How often should I clean my vertical blinds?

As a general rule, one annual thorough cleaning is enough, but that depends on the usage and location of your vertical blinds. Let their appearance be your guide; if they look dirty to you or it’s been a year, clean your blinds.

Do I need to remove my blinds to clean them?

No. Some people prefer to, but this is rarely necessary for vinyl blinds. Removing blinds takes additional time, space and care, adds risk of damage and may not produce better results.

What kind of cleaning is best for my vertical blinds?

To save time and wear, take the ‘as needed’ approach and follow this sequence:
- Vacuum with an upholstery wand attachment(always do this first)
- Dust (always dust before washing)
- If you still need additional cleaning after dusting, wash or spot clean blinds

For dusting and washing vertical blinds, there are different methods between vinyl/PVC/plastic. The instructions below are for vinyl/PVC/plastic. For tips on how to dust and wash fabric vertical blinds, see cleaning vertical fabric blinds below.

What’s the best way to vacuum my vertical blinds?

Applies to all types of vertical blinds: vinyl, wood, fabric, cellular

You’ll need:
+ Regular household vacuum
+ Brush attachment or blind-cleaning attachment
+ Time – This should be done slowly, leave sufficient time to avoid rushing.

Steps:

  • Close blinds fully (side to side) to avoid having slats bunched on one end
  • Turn blinds fully to one side
  • Slowly vacuum the slats, individually, from top to bottom. Move side to side if needed (for wide slats or narrow vacuum). Take your time.
  • Turn blinds fully to the other side and repeat.

Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Always go from top to bottom to avoid lifting the slat off their hooks
Do: Always follow the length of the vanes (don’t go across!)
Don’t: Use a vacuum with too much power (like a shop vac). This can ‘grab’ the vanes and increase risk of damage
Don’t: Use a vacuum without an attachment. Even with a regular vacuum, this increases the chances of the vacuum grabbing the vanes and may cause scratching

Note: slats overlap and the edges may not get vacuumed. This is ok. If visible dust remains, it will come off in the dusting step and you’ve still removed most of the dust.

What’s the best way to dust my blinds?

Applies to all types of vertical blinds: vinyl, wood, fabric, cellular

Vacuuming usually isn’t enough and washing isn’t normally necessary. But, after you vacuum, there will be some dust remaining. There are a few good ways to do it. Feather dusting is the most common way to clean vertical blinds and probably the best. The other two methods, using a white glove or a paintbrush, are a matter of personal preference.

Feather duster cleaning:

  • Close blinds fully (side to side) to avoid having slats bunched on one end
  • Open/close blinds fully (rotation of vanes)
  • Dust with up and down strokes, one vane at a time
  • Reverse blinds fully (rotate)
  • Repeat

White glove cleaning: (Vinyl/PVC/plastic blinds only, not for fabric)

  • Close blinds fully (side to side) to avoid having slats bunched on one end
  • Open blinds fully (rotation of vanes)
  • Put on white cloth gloves and carefully glide your hands over the vanes

Note: if blinds are more than a little dirty, you will need to brush off the dust from the gloves or have multiple pairs and wash between uses

Paintbrush cleaning:

  • Close blinds fully (side to side) to avoid having slats bunched on one end
  • Open/close blinds fully (rotation of vanes)
  • ‘wipe’ the vanes with a paintbrush of natural fibers (not plastic). Typically any wide, high-quality paintbrush works. Be sure to shake or tap the brush periodically to remove dust.
  • Reverse blinds fully (rotate)
  • Repeat

Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Use a high quality feather duster or other type that ‘pulls’ dust
Don’t: Use rags or cloths to wipe dust (rags push dirt and do not clean effectively)

What’s the best way to wash my blinds?

Applies to vinyl, PVC, plastic and painted wood – see below for fabric

You’ll need:
+ quality sponges
+ mild cleanser
+ towels
+ bucket
+ water
+ microfiber cloth (optional)

Steps:

  • Close windows and doors as needed to prevent wind and dust
  • Place towels under vanes about to be cleaned (to collect drips)
  • Wet 1 or 2 sponges in mild solution of soap and warm (not hot) water (use 1 to wash one side at a time, 2 for both sides simultaneously)
  • Squeeze excess water off sponge(s)
  • Using a sponge on one side of a vane and your hand or another sponge on both sides, squeeze very gently and slide downward slowly
  • If needed, wipe a single vane in sections (to avoid build up of dust on sponge and diminished cleaning quality)
  • If your water is hard and prone to leaving water spots, use a clean and ‘almost-dry’ sponge (or two) to do a light drying pass
  • If needed, dry with soft cloth or microfiber cloth (best)

Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Refresh bucket of water frequently or use multiples to avoid washing with dirty sponge
Do: Use minimum pressure on vanes to avoid pulling vane out of clip or damaging vane or clip
Do: Wipe down vanes in sections if particularly dirty
Do: Use quality sponges to avoid leaving sponge particles behind
Do: Dry sponges (if you have hard water) to avoid water spots
Don’t: Squeeze hard
Don’t: Use abrasive soaps

Optional: When vanes are dry, wiping them with a dryer sheet will help reduce static build up
Optional: Lemon oil or wood preservative can be used on wood blinds with a stained finish

What’s the best way to wash my vertical blind fabric inserts?

For spot cleaning fabric vertical blinds, we recommend blotting the area with a mild cleansing solution, first testing in an inconspicuous area. Using a soft cloth or sponge, blot softly and allow to dry fully. Take care to not harm the fabric material.

If cleaning other than dusting and spot cleaning is needed, consult the blind manufacturer as cleaning instructions vary amoung brands and product lines. Washing via immersion, heat and chemicals can damage some blinds, while others may respond quite well. For these more aggressive methods, be wary of general instructions from sources other than the manufacturer.

Note:
Nearly all manufacturers advise against putting fabric inserts in a dryer.