The gloom of winter is finally lifting away for the brightness of summer. Now is the perfect time to open up windows for fresh air and clear away the last stronghold of winter dreariness: dingy window coverings. Your shades have been down all winter, keeping the cold out of your home, and they too may need a little TLC. Here’s a breakdown of the “how-tos” for the most common dirty-blind culprits.
Because these are usually made of PVC or a PVC-Wood Composite, the size of faux wood and vinyl vertical blinds needn’t stop you from cleaning them up. A rag and some warm water will easily clean up lingering dust. If you’re wiping them down and notice a thick layer of grunge that resists your efforts and just sticks to the blind, constantly being pushed forward by your rag, don’t despair! This is usually the result of oils from fingers, hair, and airborne skin particles sticking to the surface, and can happen anywhere. Add a few drops of mild dish soap (not dishwasher detergent!) to your warm water and watch the grime lift away.
Although they are dust resistant, aluminum blinds still collect dust over time. However, aluminum blinds are exceptionally easy to clean. In fact, most mini blinds can be taken outside and sprayed off with your garden hose. If you do this, be sure to avoid spraying the headrail directly and to allow your blinds to drip-dry on the grass or open the window your blinds hang in so they can dry out quickly. While the aluminum won’t rust, the headrail may if not properly dried. Don’t want to take your blinds down? Most feather dusters work great for a quick cleaning, and the tips above on dealing with greasy spots on your blinds also work for vinyl and aluminum minis, with one added step. Because mini blinds use a thinner slat than faux wood or vertical blinds, they bend more easily and need a more gentle touch when scrubbing the slats. Make sure to rinse and dry them off thoroughly after using soap and water.
Wood blinds are a thing of beauty: all they truly need is a good dusting. However, if you live in a dry climate, you can restore some beauty and add extra protection against the splitting that can occur over time in any wood product with wood polish. Pick your favorite: they are safe on stained woods and will add a luster and shine to your home in keeping with your spring cleaning goals. It should be noted that these cleaners aren’t meant for painted woods, only stained woods. The paint on a white or cream wood blind offers all the protection you need. For spots, use a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
Cellular shades can collect reasonable amounts of dust, especially in the winter. After long months of being down to keep you warm, the first time they’re raised you may see little poufs of dust press out of the pleats, leaving you wondering about the inside of the honeycomb. There’s good news though: most fabrics can be cleaned in your home with no professional help. Using a feather duster, start at the top of the shade and run the duster horizontally across the blind and work your way down the shade in rows. Shake off the duster over a trash can and repeat the process on the back of your blind. Then, lowering your blind as far as you can, run the duster up and down on the shade to knock out any dust bunnies that were hiding in the crease. If you need a deeper clean, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. Don’t use the brush attachment, as it may damage more delicate fabrics. If you know the inside of the honeycombs need cleaning, call the manufacturer. Some fabrics can be submerged in your bathtub, while others can be cleaned through injection-extraction cleaning, and you’ll need the manufacturer’s opinion on which should be done. Injection-Extraction cleaning is done in your home by a professional without taking down your shades, so you won’t need to carve out too much time for the process.
Are you shopping for blinds and shades? Check out the “Details and Specs” tab on each product for cleaning and care information to choose the blind that’s right for your needs.
When properly cared for, your window coverings will create exceptional beauty and privacy in your home. So don’t skimp your windows this spring cleaning, and enjoy the beauty of a fresh and bright view for years to come.