Have you ever peeked through your blinds to spy on a neighbor when you got a face full of dust and achoo! Suddenly it’s no secret you’ve been snooping. It’s also no secret that you need to deep clean your blinds if you plan to keep standing in for the neighborhood watch.
But the best way to deep clean your blinds depends on their type: wash metal and vinyl; damp wipe wood; spot clean most fabric (some are washable); use a dry cloth for paper; and vacuum cellular/honeycomb, with spot cleaning for some. And remember, before using a liquid cleaning method, spot test for colorfastness first.
To remove blinds, fully open them and support the bottom with one hand. Find the brackets in the headrail. Press the tab and lift out for snap-in brackets, or open the door and lift out for swing-open brackets.
Metal, Vinyl and Washable Fabric Blinds
Cleaning In the Bathtub
Lower your metal or vinyl blinds into a bathtub half-filled with warm water, 2 cups of vinegar, and a dash of dish soap. Soak for 10 minutes, then gently clean each slat with a microfiber cloth. Afterward, drain the tub and rinse the blinds using a shower head or bucket of water. Finally, lay them on a towel on the floor to air dry.
Cleaning Outside with a Hose
Lay a sheet down and put your fully extended, closed blinds on top. Get them damp with the garden hose. Clean the slats with a sponge-type dish wand full of dish soap or a microfiber cloth dipped in soapy water. Rinse well, flip the blinds, and repeat on the other side. For drying, either leave them flat to dry in place, or hang them over a deck railing or fence.
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Dip a cloth in a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar then wring it out well so it’s barely damp and gently wipe each slat top then bottom. Or, for a quicker method, slip a pair of clean white cotton socks on your hands to wipe both sides of the slat at once. Remember to rinse and wring out your cloth or socks often. Once you’re done, give the blinds a quick dry with a towel.
Non-Washable Fabric Blinds
If your fabric blinds pass a spot test but can’t go in the bath, give them a once-over with your vacuum’s dust brush to get rid of dust and lint. Then, clean grimy areas using a white cloth and cool, soapy water. Dab gently to lift the grime—rubbing might just spread it. Once the spot is clean, use a fresh damp cloth to wipe away the soapy residue then let the blinds air dry.
Paper blinds are delicate and require careful handling. A vacuum’s dust attachment may be too strong of suction for some paper blinds so, for best results, use a dry soft cloth to dust them starting at the top and moving downward.
For light stains, try gently using an art gum eraser—not the kind on your pencil. You can try using cornstarch on greasy stains overnight, but stains that don’t come up with either method may require advice directly from the manufacturer.
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Honeycomb and Cellular Blinds
To clean honeycomb or cellular blinds, extend them all the way and glide a foam brush along the horizontal folds to dislodge dust. Next, switch to your vacuum’s dust attachment and go over the blinds top to bottom to remove surface dirt. Repeat on the other side. If you discover bugs or other debris inside the cells, blow it out with compressed air or use your blow-dryer’s cool setting.
Treating stains on honeycomb or cellular blinds requires careful handling to avoid losing their shape. If a vacuum doesn’t remove the stain, you’ll need to prevent the cell from collapsing during spot cleaning. Use a specialized tool like a detail duster, or a light dowel rod or wooden spoon handle, inserted into the cell for support.
While holding the tool with one hand, gently dab the stained area with a white cloth and cool, soapy water using your other hand. Be careful not to soak the fabric.
Finally, remove any soapy residue by wiping with a clean, barely damp cloth. Let the blinds air dry completely before raising them so they keep their proper shape.
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Cleaning Grimy Pull Cords
The pull cords on blinds get grubby over time, but they’re easy to clean. But since they’re meant to match your blinds and the ladder cords within them, always do a spot test for colorfastness first.
Light soil: Hold the end of the cord in one hand and run the soapy cloth up and down the cord with the other. Then wipe it with a clean, damp cloth and let it air dry.
Stubborn grime: Dampen a paper towel with warm, soapy water. Loop the cord over your fingers, then wrap the soapy towel around these loops. Place this bundle in a small resealable plastic bag, sealing it around the cord. Leave it overnight, then remove and wipe the cord clean in the morning.
Yellowing cords: Use the method above for stubborn grime, but replace the soapy water with hydrogen peroxide.
Tips to Keep Blinds Clean
Rub a used dryer sheet on both sides of your blinds to help repel dust. (Be gentle with honeycomb or cellular blinds.)
Clean splashes or spills right away since the sun’s heat can make stains set in permanently.
Then, if you’ll regularly dust or vacuum your blinds as part of your normal cleaning routine, you’ll never have to interrupt your neighbor-watching to mind some business of your own.