How to Clean Window Blinds
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Last updated: Sunday, April 13, 2008 | 5562 Views

One of today’s most popular window treatments, Venetian blinds come in a wide variety of styles, materials and finishes.

But Venetian blinds (also called horizontal blinds) all have one thing in common when it comes to keeping them clean; the slats are dust magnets and are not always easy to dust or clean!

There are several methods you can use to clean your Venetian blinds, depending on whether you need to lightly clean or deep clean them, the width of the slats and, most importantly, the material and finish.

Read on to learn the techniques you can use to properly clean and care for Venetian Blinds.

Metal Venetian Blinds

If you light clean your Venetian blinds regularly, you can avoid having to take them down for deep cleaning more than once a year!Special care should be taken when dusting or cleaning blinds with metal slats; you don’t want to bend the slats or chip or scratch the painted metal finish.

When handling painted metal venetian blinds, take care not to bang the slats against each other or woodwork to prevent scratching the paint, which exposes the metal, diminishing their appearance and shortening the blind’s useful life.

You should not bend or separate metal slats to look out the window; always use the tilt wand or cords to angle the slats. If a metal slat is bent and kinked, it can’t really be reshaped into place and you’ll have to replace it and restring your blind.

Synthetic Polymer or Faux Wood Venetian Blinds

An advantage of faux wood Venetian blinds is that you can deep clean them by washing them in a bathtub.
Light cleaning of a synthetic polymer blind can be done using a feather duster or deep cleaning can be done by taking the blind down and washing it as detailed below.

Wooden Venetian Blinds

You should take special care when cleaning real wood products, including your wooden Venetian Blinds and should not wash them in most cases!

For detailed instructions, you should read our article on How to Clean Real Wood Blinds.

Venetian Blind Cleaning Preparation

Before you begin cleaning Venetian blinds using either of the light cleaning methods we present here, start by checking your blind for problem areas, wiping off sticky spots, stains, etc. You can use window spray cleaner to do this with metal or polymer blinds. Wipe them dry with a soft cotton cloth or paper towel.

Have a step stool available since you may need it in order to reach the top of your window blinds while dusting or vacuuming.

If you have curtains or other decorative window treatments around your blind, tie them back or otherwise move them out of the way.

Venetian Blind Light Cleaning by Hand

  1. Lower the blind all the way and angle the slats completely closed.
  2. Use either soft white cotton gloves or cotton cloth; some people also use clothes dryer sheets since they are meant to reduce static electricity.
  3. For metal or polymer blinds you can dampen the gloves or cloth slightly with a solution of warm water and a very small amount of mild dish washing liquid.
  4. Run your gloved fingers or cloth lightly over the slats from the center to one edge and then again from the center to the other edge of each slat. This is better than trying to clean a slat from one edge all the way across to the other edge, which is more likely to smear additional dust.
  5. Reverse the angle of the slats so they are closed in the opposite direction and repeat the process.
  6. Remember to change gloves or cleaning cloths every so often or you’ll simply end up moving dust around on the slats rather than removing it!

Venetian Blind Light Cleaning with a Vacuum Cleaner

  1. The easiest way to prevent dust and grime from building up in the first place is to regularly vacuum your Venetian blinds with a soft brush attachment!
  2. Lower the blind all the way and angle the slats completely closed.
  3. Use a soft brush attachment only to avoid chipping or scratching slats.
  4. Hold the blind in place with one hand and vacuum with the other so that you don’t bang the slats together or against the window as you clean them.
  5. As with the hand cleaning technique above, vacuum from the center out toward each end, making two passes rather than trying to clean from one end to the other in a single pass.
  6. Reverse the angle of the slats so they are closed in the opposite direction and repeat the process.

Deep Cleaning Synthetic Polymer or Metal Venetian Blinds

  1. Lower the blind all the way and angle the slats completely closed.
  2. Remove the blind from its mounting bracket, taking care not to loose screws or other mounting hardware and keeping the cords from getting tangled. It is best if possible to keep your manufacturer’s instructions handy for reference when removing/replacing blinds.
  3. Fill your bathtub about half full with warm water and a small amount of mild dish washing soap. Set the blind in the tub and let it soak for about thirty minutes; if dirt and grime have really built up, you can even soak the blind overnight. Gently fold the blind over where it is too long to fit into the tub so that all the slats are completely immersed.
  4. Scrub the slats gently on both sides with a soft brush.
  5. Empty the soapy water and refill with clean warm water to rinse off residual soap. If your tub has a hand held shower attachment, this works best for rinsing. Otherwise, use a bucket and continue pouring fresh water over the blind until it is rinsed clean.
  6. Hang the blind outdoors if the weather is warm and dry or over the tub to dry. You can use a hairdryer on the cool setting to help speed drying.
  7. Once the blind is completely dry, you are ready to remount it!

You’ll enjoy your window blinds and extend their life by keep them clean and shiny!

Here are some additional tips on caring for your Venetian blinds:

  • Clean blinds one room at a time if the prospect of cleaning them all at one time seems too daunting.
  • Use a soft feather duster or soft, damp cloth to quickly dust blinds at the same time you are dusting the rest of your home during normal house cleaning; the more often you dust your blinds, the less often you will need to take them down for deep cleaning.
  • When dusting Venetian blinds, always start with the top slat and work your way down so that dust doesn’t fall on to slats you’ve already cleaned.
  • An alternative to using the bathtub for deep cleaning metal or synthetic polymer Venetian blinds is to take them down and spread them out carefully on a flat surface where you can use a large bucket of warm, soapy water and a brush to clean the slats. Pour clean water over them using a bucket or garden hose to rinse them.
  • Remember; unless instructed specifically otherwise by your window blind manufacturer, you should not attempt to deep clean or wash wooden Venetian blinds or you may cause the slats to warp or crack!


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