While we love practical home décor as much as the next person, we have to admit that blinds can be a total pain. Anyone whose home features the centuries-old window treatment knows how finicky they can be: If your blinds aren't level and uniformly rotated, they look sloppy. Another thing that makes your blinds less-than-ideal? They're a lot dirtier than you think.
"The only thing more difficult to clean than a kitchen would be blinds," Austin Miller, founder of Seattle-based cleaning service Spruse Clean, says. "They can be flimsy, greasy, and of course, dusty. Having to clean each row one by one without bending them should be considered punishment."
It's easy to write off the tedious chore as less important than, say, washing your sheets or vacuuming your carpet. However, it's a good idea to clean your blinds on a regular basis. After all, blinds are a great place for dust and stray pet hair to settle.
Want to learn how to clean window blinds? Turns out, there's more than one way to do so. Not only do certain methods work better for different materials, but every cleaning expert has their own tips and tricks.
To help, read on: Several professionals share how to clean window blinds and, with any luck, you'll find the right tactic to add to your cleaning routine.
How to Clean Window Blinds with Steam
Whether you've never thought to clean your blinds before or it's been a minute since you've done so, there's a good chance that each vane is covered with stubborn particles that just won't budge. If you're looking to make some headway, consider whipping out your steamer—that's right, your wardrobe staple can do a lot more than getting those wrinkles out of your clothes.
"A steam cleaner can dissolve and extract dust as well as dirt deposits that are trapped between the blinds effectively," Matthew Baratta, Vice President of operations at Daimer Industries, says. "All you need to do is direct the steam generated from the steam cleaner onto the blinds, allowing the hot steam to soften the dust."
Spending a few minutes on each set of blinds is usually sufficient, but if your window treatments are in bad shape, you could spend a half-hour to full 60 minutes on them. Once you've successfully dislodged those pesky particles, you can wipe each vane clean with a towel.
How to Clean Window Blinds with a Vacuum
Contrary to popular belief, your vacuum can do a lot more than clean your floors. "Vacuuming is the one cleaning method that’s safe for virtually all treatments, such as Roman, solar, and pleated shades and blinds of any kind," Julia Dorn, Executive Director of new product development for Graber Blinds, explains.
Since your blinds are flimsy—and can bend when exposed to too much suction—it's important to vacuum with care. For best results, use your upholstery or brush attachment to gently sweep over each vane.
Another perk? Dorn says this tactic makes your clean blinds incredibly easy to maintain.
"Once the initial cleaning is done, upkeep is as easy as making window treatments part of your vacuuming routine," she shares. "A quick and regular pass will keep them dust-free and fresh, plus will help preserve your investment in the long run."
How to Clean Window Blinds with a Microfiber Cloth
Looking for an easy way to keep your blinds clean? Guy Peters, owner and founder of Mop Stars Cleaning Service, has a penchant for microfiber cloths.
"Microfiber towels make the process much easier since the microfiber material literally hooks onto dust," he explains. "You can clean both sides of the blinds without having to flip them over or try to shimmy your way behind them."
For best results, close your horizontal blinds 80 percent of the way. Vertical blinds can be half-closed. Peters says to leave a little room between them so that your cloth will still reach through and grab dust on the other side of the blinds.
While simply swiping a microfiber cloth on each vane can remove a lot of dust, you might need to call in some reinforcements. "I recommend spraying the blinds with your preferred cleaner and letting it sit for a few minutes," Peters says. "Blinds are fragile and cleaning needs to be done gently."
When dusting your blinds, Peters recommends starting from the top and working your way down. That way, any dust that you loosen up on the top blinds will fall down where you can still reach it.
How to Clean Window Blinds with Soap
If your blinds are overdue for a deep, thorough clean, you might want to remove them from your window and wash them in your bathtub. From there, Peters recommends soaking them in your bathtub for a few hours.
Removing your blinds isn't as difficult as it seems. While the step-by-by breakdown might vary based on blind type, it can generally be done when you remove the valance, lift the blinds all the way up, and unclip the bracket.
"You’ll want to spread them out as much as possible in your tub and soak them in some hot water with your favorite cleaner," he explains. "My go-to recommendation is dish soap, since it works great, is gentle enough for most blind material, and is readily available in most households."
Not sure how to clean window blinds that are discolored? Peters recommends adding two cups of bleach and letting your blinds soak for an hour or so.