How To Clean Blinds


If you’ve got a lot of dust in your house, you’ll want to know how to clean blinds. Most people with allergies prefer blinds because they hold onto less dust than curtains, but that’s only true if they’re cleaned regularly.

In most cases, you don’t need to take blinds down to clean them. That’s another reason I like them better than curtains! But understand: if your shades have a thick layer of greasy dust, you might need to remove them for a thorough cleaning the first time.

After that, dust them as part of your weekly cleaning routine and give them a bit of extra attention once a season.

How to Clean Blinds - Easy directions for cleaning blinds

Tips to Clean Your Blinds

• Dust blinds weekly from top to bottom with an electrostatic duster or microfiber cloth. Pay particular attention to the valance at the top which is where the majority of dust collects. Tilt the blinds in the opposite direction and repeat.

• At least once a month it’s a good idea to clean them with your vacuum cleaner’s dust attachment.

• Whiten dingy cords and blind tape by wiping them with a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide.

• Use a Magic Eraser to clean the rods and cord caps.

Cleaning Vinyl, Metal or Wood Blinds

1. Cleaning blinds in place: Wet an old sock in a bowl filled with equal parts white vinegar and warm water, then slip your hand into it. Run your sock-covered fingers along both sides of the top slat at the same time. Work from top to bottom, rinsing the sock every few slats. Be sure to wring it out, so it’s never dripping wet. Finish by wiping the blinds dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

2. Cleaning blinds in the tub: (NOT for wood blinds!) Fill a bathtub with 3 inches of warm water then add 1/2 gallon of white vinegar. Pull the cord on the blinds to completely open them, then remove and carry them to the tub. Lowering the blinds into the water carefully to avoid tangling the slats. Let them soak for 10 minutes, then drain the tub and rinse them with cool water. Hang the blinds over the shower rod to let them drip dry before returning them to place.

Cleaning Fabric Blinds

1. Vacuum first. Fabric blinds are more challenging to clean, which might be why they’ve fallen out of favor with homeowners. The first step is using your vacuum cleaner’s dust attachment to remove as much dust, dirt, and pet hair as possible. Vacuum from top to bottom on both sides. For particularly dirty blinds, you may need to use the crevice attachment on the crease between cells.

2. Damp clean. Never try to wash fabric blinds because it might cause their dye to run. Instead, after spot testing for colorfastness, use a damp (not wet) microfiber cloth to wipe away heavier dirt. For greasy areas or tougher stains add a little detergent to the water, then follow by dabbing with a damp cloth using only plain water.

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  1. Those of us in severe drought regions (*cough*California*cough*) should probably avoid Method #2…since it seems each set of blinds gets a fresh tub of water. But I like the sock/glove idea, and will definitely give it a try! 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Good point, Violamom. You wouldn’t want to use this bathtub water for plants, either, since the vinegar in it would kill them. The sock method is definitely the way to go for drought regions.

  2. I find that cleaning blinds outdoors using a brush and garden hose is easier than using the bathtub. Spread out an old sheet on your deck or driveway. Lay the extended blind on the sheet. Fill a bucket with hot water and whatever you use for general cleaning. Scrub the blinds using a stiff brush. Replace the water in the bucket if it gets really dirty. Then spray with a garden hose, turn the blind over, and scrub the other side. The deck works better than the driveway because water can drain through the floorboards. It doesn’t take long for the blinds to dry enough to carry through the house and rehang. Depending on how you feel about water fights, you might want to invite the kids to help scrub and spray.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That’s an excellent suggestion, Helen!

  3. Can you get the mechanism that operates the string wet without consequence when soaking in a bathtub? How about using bleach? These are plastic blinds (I think). Any suggestions that is easy?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Garrett,
      For plastic blinds, I’d clean them in place by putting a towel on the floor below then extending the blind to its full length. Spray with a mixture of soapy water, wipe with a clean damp cloth, and let that dry. Then reverse the blinds and repeat. Hope that helps!

  4. Can you wet wooden blinds?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      No. That’s why it specifically says the bathtub method isn’t for wooden blinds.

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