How to clean any set of blinds

While there is something undeniably satisfying about getting the dust off a single slat with your finger, actually cleaning an entire set of blinds is one of those household chores that’s easy to forget and always seems more daunting than it really is—like detailing a shower head or washing your pillows. But with the right tools and techniques, it’s a simple task that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, no matter what type of window blinds you have.

Image of a woman cleaning blinds with a yellow rag and pink cleaning gloves.

Table of contents

How often should you clean your blinds?The simplest way to clean your blindsHow to deep clean any set of blinds

How often should you clean your blinds?

Ideally, you should clean your window coverings once a week to keep the dust and dirt build-up to a minimum. If that’s not realistic (and for most of us, it’s not), attending to them once a month will do the trick. 

Kitchen blinds may need to be wiped down more regularly because they’re exposed to grease, which can become grimy. And while you should always include the blinds in your annual clean, it shouldn’t be a one-a-year chore: Regular upkeep will help you avoid more painful deep cleaning down the road.

The simplest way to clean your blinds

Follow this step-by-step guide to perform a basic cleaning of your blinds, whether they are made of wood, faux wood, metal, plastic, or fabric.

What you’ll need

  • Vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment

  • Microfiber cloth

Cleaning blinds in 7 steps or less

  1. Remove any items below the blinds. Clear away books, plants, knickknacks, and other things you keep on the windowsill or counter below the blinds to keep them from getting covered by dust particles that shake loose during the cleaning process.

  2. Lower and close the blinds. For horizontal blinds, ensure that the side of the slats that typically faces up and gathers the most dust faces you. If the slats overlap, as those on aluminum and vinyl blinds tend to, leave them slightly open so that you can access the full surface.

  3. Perform the smiley face test. Draw a smiley face with your finger in the dust on one of the slats. If you can see it clearly, start your cleaning with a vacuum. If not, pat yourself on the back for keeping your blinds cleaner and skip to Step 6. If you’re working with fabric blinds, always use a vacuum.

  4. Vacuum the blinds. Use a soft, round brush head attachment to vacuum. For vertical blinds, start at the top of each slat and move down. For horizontal ones, vacuum back and forth and from top to bottom.

  5. Turn and repeat. Twist the tilt wand to reverse the slats and repeat the process on the other side. If you’re cleaning fabric blinds, maneuver around or under the whole thing to access the back side.

  6. Wipe with a dry microfiber cloth. Once you’re rid of excessive dust, wipe down your blinds with a microfiber cloth to catch any lingering particles using the techniques in Steps 4 and 5.

  7. Vacuum under the blinds. Use the brush attachment to vacuum any dust that fell onto the windowsill, counter, or floor during the cleaning.

Woman cleans blinds with a yellow duster and yellow cleaning gloves.

How to deep clean any set of blinds

Sometimes simply removing dust with a dry cloth isn’t enough, especially if grime has built up on your blinds—and different types of blinds require different cleaning techniques. Here we’ll cover the general methods, but always check the manufacturer's instructions before any sort of deep cleaning.

What you’ll need

  • Vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment

  • Microfiber cloth

  • All-purpose cleaner

  • Mild detergent

  • Bleach

  • Wood soap

  • Furniture polish

  • Bleach

How to clean plastic and aluminum blinds

Perform a basic cleaning to remove dust and loose dirt. Close the blinds again, then wet a microfiber cloth with mild all-purpose cleaner (like a one-to-one mixture of white vinegar and warm water). Wipe each slat, then reverse the blinds and repeat on the other side. Finally, run the same cloth over the tilt wand and down the pull strings.

To deep clean metal or plastic blinds, remove them from the window, extend fully, and place in a bathtub full of warm water and a quarter cup of mild detergent (such as dish soap). Soak for an hour, then wipe away any remaining loosened grime and rinse. Dry the blinds completely with a clean cloth and re-hang.

If your blinds have yellowed in the sun, you can restore them to their former glory with a 10-minute soak in a tub full of warm water and three cups of beach. Wearing gloves, rinse and then wipe dry.

How to clean wood blinds

Faux wood blinds should be cleaned the same way as plastic and aluminum blinds. When it comes to real wooden blinds, harsh chemicals and water can cause damage and warping, so be extra careful when deep cleaning them. 

Dip a microfiber cloth in a solution of wood soap and warm water, and then wring it out tightly. Wipe down the slats with the barely damp cloth, then immediately dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth. Reverse and repeat. Twice a year, apply furniture polish to keep your wood blinds well conditioned.

How to clean fabric blinds

Check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that your fabric blinds don’t need to be taken to a  professional dry cleaner. If they don’t, vacuum both sides of the blinds thoroughly—using low suction, if possible, to avoid damaging the material. Spot-clean any stains with stain-remover or blot with mild detergent and warm water. And be sure to test any cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric of your blinds.

Looking for a home where monthly cleaning is always on the books? Bungalow’s homes are designed for roommates, located in the best neighborhoods, and set up for seamless living. Common spaces come furnished, cleanings are scheduled monthly, and payments are handled individually on our app. Whether you already have roommates or are looking for new ones, there’s a Bungalow with your name on it. Find your Bungalow.

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