When was the last time you cleaned your blinds? Like drapes, once they become noticeably dirty, it’s past time for cleaning. The best way to clean blinds is to dust them regularly before dirt, pet hair and bug spots build up to intolerable levels. Although many helpful cleaning sites advertise how “easy” it is to clean dirty blinds, the fact remains that they do require a fair amount of attention and time to clean properly. Each type of blind system has its own particular cleaning needs. Below, we discuss the best ways to proceed.

Direction of Movement

Horizontal. With horizontal blinds, you’ll need to work across them, side to side for best results. Because horizontal blinds are secured by strings laced through each side, they should remain secure and in line. Start at the topmost blind and work down, so that dust and cleaning solutions from above only fall on still-soiled slats.

Vertical. With vertical blinds be sure to work from top to bottom so that you avoid unhooking them. Although loose slats should go back into place easily, the more you must handle them, the greater the opportunity for damage.


For blinds oriented in either direction, start by opening the set and dusting each slat carefully. For fabric blinds, a vacuum with a soft brush attachment works well. For smooth blinds, you can use dusting tools. Wands with several arms covered in dusting cloth can minimize the need to wipe one slat at a time. Otherwise, use a regular dusting wand or simply a good cloth in your hand. For mini-blinds with very narrow slats, a sock-covered hand may work well, too.

How to Clean Your Blinds

Wet Wiping

Wood. Real wood blinds have a finish that can become spotted if you use too much water. Rather, use Murphy’s Oil Soap according to directions, or apply wood polish for a nice finishing shine.

Plastic and Aluminum. Smooth, non-wood slats can take a wet solution more readily. Use a few drops of dish soap in a half gallon of water or a quarter cup of vinegar instead of soap. Greasy build-up may require more soap or vinegar in the solution followed by a plain water rinsing wipe. If the coating of grease is too thick to wipe off easily, take them down and soak in the bathtub for an hour or so. Then wipe the slats and rinse. Dry them with a clean cloth and re-hang.

Work very carefully on thin plastic and aluminum slats as you can easily bend and crease them. Don’t forget the areas between the strings.

Fabric. Cloth blinds that fail to come clean after vacuuming should go to the dry cleaners. Insects love to set up camp, then die, in the webbing of honeycomb style window coverings — those covered with cloth on both sides. If this happens to yours and you’d rather not send them to the pros, you should remove them, carefully hang them sideways in the open position and shake out the bugs. If some remain, you can try winding tape over a thin stick, sticky side out, and running it through the openings to grab the carcasses.

Blind cleaning will take time and care. If you feel the job is a bit more than you wish to tackle, give Chet’s Cleaning a call. Our experienced, conscientious crew will treat your window coverings with the utmost respect and leave you with delightfully clean, like-new again blinds.

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