The Best Ways to Clean Blinds of Every Kind

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 Your blinds collect dust and grime. Here are the best ways to get them clean and keep them that way.

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You might only notice how dirty your blinds are when the light hits them at a certain angle. But if you’ve never cleaned them before, your blinds may be growing mold or mildew and trapping allergens.

The problem with dirty blinds is that they send dust and other debris floating in your air every time you open or close them. If you’ve been struggling to reduce household dust, deep cleaning your blinds may do the trick. 

How to Quickly Clean Your Blinds

No matter what your blinds are made from, it’s best to get the dust off of them before you tackle grime and stains. Depending on the type of blind, this quick and easy method may be all you need. 

  1. Close them: Use the cord and your hand to gently lower your blinds all the way. Then use the rod to tilt the slats so they’re all facing the same direction.
  2. Dust them: Wipe the blinds top to bottom, side to side, with a dry microfiber cloth, electrostatic duster, or Swiffer. If you prefer using a vacuum, make sure to use the dust brush attachment to avoid scratching your blinds.
  3. Flip and repeat: Use the rod to turn the slats in the opposite direction and dust that side.
  4. Wipe the cord and rod: Get a microfiber cloth lightly damp with soapy water and wipe the cord from top to bottom to remove grime. Repeat this to get sticky fingerprints off of the rod. Go over both the cord and rod with a dry cloth then open your blinds.

How to Deep-Clean Blinds

The best way to deep clean your blinds depends on what type they are. Metal and vinyl blinds can be deep-cleaned in the bathtub or with a hose outdoors, but you should clean wood, fabric, and honeycomb blinds in place without taking them down.

Cleaning Blinds in the Bathtub

You can easily clean blinds in a tub of soapy water if they’re made from water-safe materials like metal and vinyl.

1. Prepare a bath: Fill the tub halfway with warm water and add 2 cups of white vinegar. After you’ve turned off the water, swirl in a few drops of mild liquid dish soap. 

2. Remove your blinds: Use the cord to lower your blinds fully, then twist the rod so the slats are completely open. Carefully lift them out of the headrail without getting the cord or rod caught in the slats. Use a step ladder if you need it. Carry your dirty blinds to the tub and lower them into the water.

3. Soak then scrub: Let your blinds soak for 5-10 minutes, then use a microfiber cloth or a cotton sock slipped over your hand to wipe each slat. Drain the tub and rinse the blinds using the showerhead or a bucket of water.

4. Let them dry: Spread dry towels on the floor and lay your clean blinds on top to air dry. Use another towel to blot the cord and wipe the rod and slats if you want to speed things up. Once they’re dry, rehang your clean blinds.

Cleaning Blinds Outdoors

If you don’t have a large bathtub or prefer to work outside, you can clean your dirty metal or vinyl blinds in the driveway or yard, or even on a deck where the water can drain through the boards.

To wash blinds outside, spread out a clean sheet and lay your extended blinds with the slats closed. Use a hose to get them damp, and then wipe them with a warm, soapy microfiber cloth to remove any grime. Rinse with the hose, then carefully turn them over and repeat on the other side. Let the blinds air-dry in place or move them to drip-dry over the deck railing or fence.

Cleaning Blinds in Place

Wood blinds shouldn’t get soaking wet, but you can deep clean them in place. You can also use this method for washable blinds if you don’t want to take them down. But first, follow the steps to remove dust since that may be all you need to do. 

An easy hack to clean blinds in place involves a towel, a bowl filled with equal parts white vinegar and water, and two pairs of cotton socks. Spread the towel on the floor to catch drips. Then, extend the blind and turn the rod, so the slats are open.

Now, slip a sock on each hand and dunk them in the water, then wring your hands together so they’re not dripping. Put one hand on top of a slat and the other on the bottom, then wipe side to side, cleaning the slat in one go. Repeat until you’ve cleaned all the slats, then wipe the cord and rod. Finish by switching to the dry socks and running your hands over the slats, cord, and rod again.

Cleaning Blinds that Can’t Get Wet

Fabric and honeycomb or cellular blinds shouldn’t get wet. To get them clean, fully extend the blinds, then turn them so all the slats face the same direction. Use a cool blast from your hairdryer to dislodge dirt or debris trapped in the cells of honeycomb or cellular blinds. Then use your vacuum’s dust brush to remove any remaining surface dirt. Rotate the slats and repeat with the other side.

To remove stains or greasy spots on your fabric or paper blinds, try a dry-cleaning sponge. (I use this kind* from Amazon.) You may also use a damp rag and a little baby shampoo, but you should first spot test a hidden area for colorfastness. Never saturate fabric or paper blinds. 

Easy Ways to Keep Blinds Clean

  • Never use furniture polish on your blinds: the waxes and oils in the polish can permanently discolor the cords and may damage the blind’s mechanism. 
  • If you want to help keep your blinds from gathering dust, run a dryer sheet over them — it’s a great way to reuse dryer sheets.
  • Keep air fresheners, hairspray or other spray products away from your blinds since the overspray may land on them and collect grime. 
  • To spiff up grimy cords or rods, wipe them with a damp cloth as needed. 
  • To whiten yellowing metal or vinyl blinds, replace the vinegar in the bathtub method with 1/2 cup of liquid chlorine bleach. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Blinds?

How often you need to clean your blinds depends on many things, like what they’re made from and where they’re hanging.

For instance, kitchen blinds tend to collect a lot of grease, so you should deep clean them at least once a year to avoid permanent discoloration. Elsewhere in your home, once you’ve deep cleaned your blinds, you may only need to dust them as part of your weekly cleaning routine then spot-clean stains or smudges when you see them.

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