Saturday Assignment: Clean Your Blinds!

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Abby Stone)

Looking for help remembering to clean those “forgotten” areas of the home that have a huge impact on your space looking and feeling clean? Well we’ve got today’s assignment to tackle: Blinds! They’re a common element in many homes that we tend to leave off of our regular cleaning to-do lists. Take an hour (or less!) of time to tackle today. We’ve got a little info to get you started on cleaning the most common types of blinds, plus some tips to keep them clean and establish a cleaning schedule.

Even if you did a good clean of your blinds during the January Cure, it’s time to establish a habit that will keep this part of your home tidy all year long. (And of course, if you regularly clean them, they’ll never get so gross it requires an intense cleaning).

Plastic or aluminum blinds:

Dirt level: A little dusty
You can attack slightly dusty blinds easily and quickly with a Swiffer type dusting tool or an ostrich feather duster tool that will go in and out of the blind slats, grabbing the dust and (hopefully) not distributing it to another area of your home. Start from the top and travel to the bottom. Start from convex side facing you, and don’t forget to flip your blinds and dust the concave side.

Dirt level: Very dusty
Switch to the vacuum if your blinds are incredibly dusty. Then move to wet wipes or eco-friendly sprays and microfiber cloths. Or try the glove method. From an Apartment Therapy reader:

“I use cotton gardening gloves. Put them on, get them damp, and run your fingers along the slats. For the greasy shades, spray them with the cleaning product of your preference.”

Dirt level: Kids, pets, cigarette smoke or cooking grease filmy
If your blinds aren’t just dusty but are accompanied by a film or stains, you’ll have to get a little extra tough. We suggest the bathtub method: Taking your blinds down to soak in a few inches of warm water plus dish soap and vinegar in your bathtub for an hour or so. You should be able to wash the stains and film off easier after a soak. Then, just lightly towel off and hang to dry.

(Image credit: Abby Stone)

Vertical blinds:
These blinds can get really filthy, especially being so close to the floor. Use eco-friendly cleaners and microfiber wipes to clean these and consider putting towels underneath to catch any grimy drips. It might serve you to take each one down individually, lay across some towels, and spray and let soak before cleaning, so as not to bend them while trying to clean them while hanging. (I’ll personally be tackling this task this weekend as mine are so gross.)

Fabric blinds:
Vacuuming works wonders. Any stains should be spot-cleaned with a fabric stain cleaner (after you’ve done a test on a small corner, first), rinsed with water and blotted with a towel to allow to air dry.

Wood blinds:
Consider adding a wood cleaner to your regimen to help attract dust and keep it away, and avoid strong cleaning chemicals. Plastic blinds can withstand a lot, but wooden blinds could be discolored. Do a test first.

Keep your window blinds clean longer:
Periodically wipe them down with used dryer sheets. The anti-static properties of the product will actually help to repel dust and dirt.

Set up a routine:
If you use dryer sheets in your laundry, make it habit of dusting one set of blinds with some used sheets (or any cleaning method you choose) once a week. Or, add the blinds to your vacuuming or dusting schedule if you haven’t already to keep them clean throughout the year.

More info to help you clean those blinds:

  • Dusting the Blinds: An “Oh, Duh!” Moment
  • Good Questions: Cleaning Wood Blinds?

How do you tackle cleaning your blinds? Do you have a regular way of cleaning them that keeps them looking good all year long? Or do you frequently forget and then have to do a mega-clean every once in awhile?