Cleaning Tips for Window Blinds and Shutters

Raise your hand if you like cleaning your windows and window coverings.

No hands?  No surprise there! Cleaning windows and window coverings can be very time-consuming and frustrating, especially blinds and shutters with all those slats that collect dust. Rather than give in to this sentiment on mini-blinds, a little TLC (Tender Loving Care) will keep all your blinds and shutters looking fabulous!

What the Experts Say 

To help ensure that you have a successful cleaning campaign every time, here are some tips from cleaning professionals, including “at-home professionals” who have mastered the art of DIY cleaning for window blinds and shutters. As you’ll note, cleaning recommendations vary from professional to professional:

  • Dust or vacuum them every time you clean house
  • Dust window coverings once a month
  • Give a thorough cleaning once a season (summer, fall, winter, spring)
  • Twice-a-year do a deep clean (i.e., spring cleaning and just before the holidays)

Factors like weather, smokers, allergy sufferers, sticky little fingers and pets contribute to the challenge to keep window treatments clean. Ultimately, you are the determining factor in how often to clean your blinds, shades, shutters or drapes.

Blinds and Shutters–Aluminum, Vinyl, Painted Wood, and Faux Wood

Dusting by hand, three popular methods:

  • For blinds, extend as far as they will go; close blinds and shutters as flat as possible. Use a feather duster or soft dust cloth and start at the top and work your way across each slat, all the way to the bottom. Rotate slats and repeat process.
  • Place a sock on your hand, slightly open the slats and run your hand back and forth, over and under each slat. When clean, do another “once over” with a dryer sheet to repel dust.
  • Use specialty tools for cleaning louvers that allow you to swipe several slats clean at the same time, both sides.

Vacuuming makes quick work of dusting

  • Use a brush attachment and go over the slats, side to side, starting at the top and working your way down
  • Rotate slats and start again
  • Finish by wiping slats with a dryer sheet or spraying with anti-static dust product

TIP: Treat the duster with a non-silicone, anti-static spray to attract dust and leave the blind’s surface dust-resistant so it’s easier to clean next time around.

Washing Grimy Blinds–Aluminum or Vinyl

If dusting or vacuuming isn’t enough to get soiled blinds clean, you can give aluminum and vinyl blinds a bath! (This necessitates taking them down from the windows.)

  • Lay blinds flat in the bathtub with just enough water to cover them; mix in two to three cups of white vinegar and a squirt of dishwashing soap
  • Let blinds soak for five to ten minutes each side, then wipe both sides of the slats with a sponge
  • For crevices, use an old toothbrush or a small paintbrush to deep clean
  • Rinse blinds in clean water and place on a towel rack or hook to dry, or lay flat on the floor
  • Wipe dry with a clean cloth or chamois

If the weather permits, you can wash blinds outside with soapy water, a sponge and a garden hose. Hang blinds on a clothesline or lay flat on the driveway or patio. Then it’s basically the same process as the bathtub—spray with soapy water to dampen, let soak, wipe clean, rinse with garden hose and dry.

TIP: For non-submersible blinds and shutters, sponge with a mild detergent and warm water solution; blot dry.

Real Wood Blinds and Shutters

  • Never get real wood blinds or shutters “wet.” Use furniture polish or lemon oil to help protect the wood and restore its beauty.
  • Lightly spray a soft cloth with furniture polish and dust the top, bottom and side of each slat while the blind is mounted.

For badly soiled wood, use a mild detergent in tepid water and a clean cotton cloth. Clean the area and rinse with clear water; immediately dry with a cotton cloth.

Regular dusting keeps wood blinds free of dust and dirt buildup and helps your family breathe easier 

 TIP: Microfiber seems to be the cloth of choice due to its extreme softness and dust attraction, and Swiffer products got a lot of call-outs for ease-of-use and efficiency.

Vertical Blinds

By virtue of their usual floor-to-ceiling size, vertical blinds can be challenging to clean, but regular dusting by hand or vacuum should limit deep cleaning measures to once or twice a year.

  • Starting at the top of each slat, hand dust or vacuum both sides all the way to the bottom.
  • Spot clean soiled areas with soapy water or an all-purpose spray cleaner on a clean, soft cloth; rinse with a clean, moistened cloth.
  • For washing PVC or aluminium plantation shutters, place towels or a tarp under the blinds to catch drips.
  • With a sponge and soapy water, wash the full length of each slat, both sides, until clean. (Vinyl vanes can also be removed and immersed in water.)
  • Rinse and wipe dry with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Sheer fabric vertical blinds can be washed by unsnapping the fabric from the vanes. Wash gentle cycle with Woolite, line dry, press or steam on low, snap fabric back on vanes.

Exterior Shutters—Aluminum, Vinyl, and Composite

Exterior shutters can easily be cleaned with a garden hose, a brush and mops. The process may require a ladder, extension rods and a helper for safety, especially if it’s a two-story house.

  • Brush all loose dirt off the shutters
  • Hose down the shutters before scrubbing with soapy water and a mop
  • Rinse shutters immediately, don’t let the soapy water dry
  • Wipe the shutters dry with a clean microfiber mop
  • If you have a pressure washer, brush away any loose dirt, power wash, and dry

Keeping the patio looking like new is almost effortless with easy-care exterior aluminum shutters

TIP: You can always call in the professionals to clean your window coverings!

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