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How to Clean Blinds

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The instructions here cover how to clean several different types of blinds. These are the most common kinds. You might also get additional instructions on how to clean your blinds from the dealer where you purchased them. As you're cleaning your blinds, check your windows and seals to see if they are up to date and in good condition. If you find cracks, air leaks, or other issues, be sure to fix those too.

Horizontal Aluminum and Vinyl Blinds

Start by vacuuming the blinds using a soft brush attachment. For a quick cleanup this may be enough, especially if there are no smokers in the house. Vacuum back and forth, not up and down, so the brush bristles get between the slats.

If there is still dust and residue on the blinds you can use a rubber sponge, which is also known as a dry sponge. You can buy one at a hardware or paint store. Rub the dirty spots with the sponge to remove as much dirt as you can. If there is still dirt or stains remaining you can use any all-purpose cleaner. Don't spray it directly on the blinds. Instead apply it to a clean cloth and wipe the stained area with that.

For a more thorough cleaning you can remove the blinds and bring them outside to a driveway or other open area. Lay them out on a piece of carpet. Using warm water with a few drops of dish soap in it, wash them with a soft brush on both sides. Rinse them with a garden hose. Tap them gently and/or run a clean finger along each slat to remove excess water, which should prevent water-spots. Hang them over a clean piece of lawn furniture to dry completely before reinstalling them.

Another Method: You can also clean blinds (metal and vinyl) using a sock or glove on your hand, and vinegar. Wet the mitt with vinegar, squeeze out the excess, and using your fingers wipe the slats on both sides. Rinse the dirt out of the glove or sock as necessary, and apply more vinegar.

Horizontal Wooden Blinds

Window blinds made of wood should not be wetted. You can vacuum and clean them as described above, but don't remove them and don't get them wet. A damp cloth is okay if you are not leaving moisture on the slats when finished. Vinegar is usually safe for wood is you are careful to use it on a damp--but not wet--cloth.

Pleated Cloth Blinds

Fabric blinds are not easy to clean. Vacuuming may be enough for a light cleaning, and you can remove some dirt or stains using a dry sponge. Beyond that it is best to check with the manufacturer or the dealer where you bought the blinds.

Vertical Vinyl Blinds

In general vertical blinds do not get as dirty as horizontal ones, because dust tends to fall off of them more easily. Vacuuming may be sufficient. Vacuum in a downward direction or you might knock the slats off their hooks. You can clean them more thoroughly with a damp cloth as well, again being careful to wipe in a downward direction.

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