Blinds are among the most overlooked areas of the house to clean, with the floors and furniture usually getting the attention first.
Whether they’re vertical blinds, Venetian blinds or roller blinds it doesn't take long for them to become filthy and when that happens comes the prospect of having to clean them. This can seem daunting due to the construction of the blinds with the awkward ropes, thin slats or the large surface of roller blinds.
With the right tools and methods you can easily get them back to their best which can help freshen up the rooms.
Why do blinds get dirty?
Blinds get dirty effortlessly; they are next to one of the biggest dust magnets in the home - windows. With the windows open, dirt and dust can come in and rest on the blinds and accumulate over time to create an unsightly build up.
Open windows put blinds right in the middle of where the air is coming and going, along with all the small particles floating in the air such as dust, pollen, air pollution and dander.
Secondly, windows can often be a warm place; with heat from the sun trapped between panes and from radiators which are often placed nearby. Heat can dry out the particles in the air which can make them lighter and more likely to rest on the blinds. It’s also the reason why radiators and electrical devices attract so much dust.
Moreover, blinds are often touched by many hands as people peer out the window keeping an eye on the neighbours or the post person. Hands are notoriously dirty, especially children’s, which means the grease and grime on their fingers transfers easily to a blind slat or to the fabric of a roller blind or vertical blind.
How to clean your blinds easily
Here is a step by step guide on how to get dirty blinds back to their best
What you’ll need:
- A vacuum cleaner
- Cloths (microfibre)
- Washing up liquid/white vinegar
- A small jug of warm water
- A bathtub!
If your blinds just need a little touch up then start with step 1 but if the blinds are heavily soiled and filthy, perhaps from a house that has been empty for long periods of time then go to step 3.
Step 1 - Wipe with a microfibre cloth
The first step for cleaning blinds which aren’t completely filthy is to simply wipe them down with a microfibre cloth. This is to get the layer of dirt and dust off to prevent it from settling and sticking to the blind slats.
Microfibre cloths are best as their flat/split weave construction enables them to pick up more fine particles than a standard cloth which leaves less behind. This means that less effort has to be made to clean surfaces such as blinds so you can finish quicker.
Secondly, microfibre cloths attract bacteria and germs (on top of dirt and dust) which leaves surfaces not just clean but hygienic.
Lastly, microfibre cloths are non-abrasive which means they don’t scratch the surface they are cleaning.
For horizontal blinds, clean from left to right starting with the top slat and for vertical blinds from top to bottom.
This step will generate a pile of dirt at the end which you can vacuum clean up or empty into the bin.
Following this, most blinds will now be clean if they weren’t filthy to begin with. If you feel they still look dirty then go to the next step.
For trickier blinds such as Venetian or roller, a vacuum cleaner with a dusting brush can make light work of a small amount of dirt and dust. An upright using the hose or a cordless in handheld mode will do the trick.
Step 2 - Use a wet cloth (or a sock)
For blinds that have seen better days and a quick dry wipe won’t quite cut it, it’s time to take it to the next level. Start with step 1 to prevent your cloth from pushing too much dirt around and being counter productive.
Dampen your microfibre cloth with warm water - you can use just water or if you have a lot of sticky/greasy dirt try mixing in some washing up liquid or white vinegar. These two mixed with water makes it much easier to cut through grease and grime than water alone..
Make sure to just dampen the cloth and not soak it, otherwise when you are pressing down on the slats you will get drips of dirty water going down the blinds and onto the window sill or the floor.
Alternatively, you can use a clean sock - the reason being is that it is easier to put the sock on your hand and wrap around the blind slat making tight contact and maximising dirt pick up. Afterwards, the sock can just be thrown into the wash.
Either way, apply the same technique as in step 1 - for horizontal blinds, clean from left to right starting with the top slat and for vertical blinds from top to bottom.
After you’ve finished and the blinds are dried, run your vacuum cleaner in the general area to pick up the remaining dirt and dust from the windowsill and the floor underneath the window.
Still not happy with the result? Go to the last step.
Step 3 - Put them in the bath
If the blinds are filthy and stained then putting them into the bath is the best way to get them clean. Before doing so, we still recommend wiping them down with a cloth or using a vacuum cleaner with a dusting brush just to give the bath a little less to do.
Please note using a bath is only recommended for plastic and fabric blinds, water can damage wooden blinds and cause metal blinds to rust. Please check that submerging your blinds in water is a suitable cleaning method for your blinds before you begin.
Fill the bath with warm water (not hot!) along with some mild detergent, white vinegar or soap.
Either put the blinds in separately or put the entire set of blinds in (but not the top rail with the mechanism) to soak for 20-30 minutes maximum.
If your blinds have some deep stains and chunks of dirt you can use a sponge to scrub them off, although we suggest doing this before submersion.
You can use bleach to get the brightness back but this is only recommended on plastic blinds as it can damage fabric and wooden blinds.