How to Clean Your Blinds (Horizontal & Vertical)!

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Blinded by your blinds? Don’t stress. Turning your wooden, plastic or aluminum blinds from eyesore to eye-catching is as easy as 1 (dust), 2 (wash), 3 (maintain). In this step-by-step guide, I detail my speedy, straightforward method.

When it comes to cleaning slatted blinds (both vertical and horizontal), there are two main schools of thought: The first involves dusting, wiping and a little acrobatics on your part. The second involves taking the blinds down, putting them in your bathtub, scrubbing them, drying them and then reinstalling them. As I’m sure you may have guessed—though I commend the effort of the second school—I am definitely in the first. (I have never had anything so nasty on my blinds that it required me to remove them from the window to clean them.) So let’s get started!

Dust ’Em

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The first thing you want to do is get as much dust off the blinds as possible. I like to use a handheld vacuum fitted with a brush attachment because it’s fast and efficient. But you can also use a specialty duster, a simple microfiber cloth or even an old sports sock turned inside out and worn on your hand as a puppet. The method of choice is up to you, but I do suggest you avoid feather dusters; they tend to throw too much dust around.

Work from top to bottom and left to right—if the blinds are horizontal, start with the topmost slat, wiping left to right, and work your way down; if they are vertical, start with the leftmost slat, wiping top to bottom, and work your way to the right.

Tip: Be prepared to catch wayward slats! I find there are always at least one or two that are not sitting properly in their place.

Wash ’Em

With the dust all gone, it’s time to give each blind a thorough cleaning. Add three drops of liquid dish soap to a bowl or bucket and fill it with warm water. If your blinds are heavily stained with scummy buildup (think: grease, dead bug residue or dog slobber), mix a tablespoon of baking soda into the solution.

Dunk a microfiber cloth into the solution, then wring the cloth well so it is damp-dry. Working on one slat at a time (starting from the top for vertical and left for horizontal) twist each slat so it lies completely flat, tilting slightly toward you so you can slip your hand around it. Pinch the cloth around each slat and pull it firmly all the way to the other side to wipe away dirt and any remaining dust. Be sure to rinse your cloth as you move from slat to slat—you’ll be surprised how dirty it gets!

Tip: For particularly long blinds, you may find it easier to start at the midpoint of each slat and work your way out to one end, then return to the middle and work your way out in the opposite direction. See what works for you.

Keep ’Em Clean

That’s all there is to it—much easier than taking the blinds down and giving them a bath! To make this job even easier the next time around, stay on top of your dusting. I always say mess begets mess, and dust, grime, and dirt definitely tend to compile, too. For this light in-between job, simply turn all the blinds upright and, working from the top, move your vacuum or duster in an S-pattern all the way to the bottom.

Looking for more dusting advice? We’ve got you covered!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

39 COMMENTS

  1. I like that you said that you should use a microfiber cloth to wash your blinds. My parents are wanting to remodel their living room. I think it is important that they follow these steps after they install new blinds.

  2. I really appreciate your tip to start from the top and work your way down when you are cleaning vertical blinds. My wife and I recently moved into a house with a very big sliding glass door, and we want to get vertical blinds to give us more privacy. If we do get the blinds, I will be sure to clean them from top to bottom!

  3. I was literally about to start cleaning my blinds – having taken them all down – eureka moment -check on line. Mellisa you are a whiz! Finished 2 already and raring to go! Thank you.
    Maggie Australia

  4. So. I just took my blinds down and washed them for the first time and it’s amazing! I have allergies and I’m a renter. So my old method was doing this…cleaning them one. at. a. time. Well, the dust flys, my allergies act up, I’m inpatient. So I looked it up and found out how to do it. Bath tub, oxyclean, a 45 min soak, rinse, dry and rehang. They are bright and dust free. I’ll still vacuum dust them regularly but the wash will happen twice a year!

  5. I live in Florida in a typical contemporary home. The weather can be gorgeous for months and I leave the doors and sliders open as much as possible. I have horizontals throughout the house and between the humidity and the dust from the horses ‘horsing around’…my blinds get filthy fast! I take them down, soak in the tub in cleaning solution and then ‘roll the blinds on the side of the tub (with a towel under it) and wash them that way. When it’s in a roll, simply spray it down with clear water in the shower or outside with a garden hose when the weather is nice. And dry on makeshift fence hangers like another reader posted earlier.

    What I want to know is: Is there some kind of oil or wax that can be applied to vinyl blind slats that would make them easier to clean? They’re big and heavy and someday I might not want to be teetering on a ladder trying to clean them for the umpteenth time. If I can’t find a solution, I may go back to curtains. At least they’re easy to keep clean.

  6. Unfortunately, my vertical vinyl type blind was taken down to be washed and folded. They were washed slat by slat on a flat surface and dried the same. The fold has left a crease right across the middle. They are over double glass doors and very long. Is there any way I can remove the creases. I live in Australia. Please help.

  7. I thought when you said there were two ways to clean your blinds thatone would be as you described, and two would be to buy new ones. I’m planning to use the replace method. 🙂 Love your videos.

  8. Try cleaning from right to left

    Maybe easier & faster?

    Have not timed myself

    But I almost always cleaning & organizing right to left

  9. I have lots of blinds too, and I live in Colorado. That means I can keep my windows open much of the year. and that means they get dirty fast! I wash them 2x a year….spring time and again in the fall……

    My method does involve taking them down, but it’s easier for me because I don’t have the patience to do them one by one slat. I have 2 wire coat hangers that I hang over the wooden fence in the backyard using the natural hook. Hang them between 2 boards and that will leave a v-shape on either side of the fence. I p place the rail of the blind into the hanger V and the hanger may bend due to the weight, but thats ok. they are pretty stable and I have enough control to open and close them. I simply use the little thingy where I took the wick/stick off and turn it with my fingers. I close them on one side and spray with 409 then take the hose to them! I then turn them using the wick and spray and hose down the other side. While they are hanging there drying I go inside and wash the window.

    Once dry, I simply rehang them. Then I go on to the next window. I tend to do this at the end of March because I’m off work and the weather is usually decent. when I’m done doing them all and all the windows, I love the freshness of my old blinds and clean windows! It takes me about 2 hours to do 6 windows and 6 sets of blinds, but it’s worth it. I don’t worry about it again till the end of Sept….and I go through the process again. I’m short so I need to use a stepladder to climb up to get them down, but honestly I’ve tried one by one slat cleaning and the bathtub thing and nah….I find it fairly quick and easy to do my way! By the way due to the different sizesI simply move the hangers to accomodate the size….The blinds get in the way when washing windows anyway so this works for me….

    of course…I clean the gutters by sending the grown son up on the roof with the leaf blower…….and the leaf blower is good for cleaning out the car in a rush…open all the doors and windows and blow! No vacuum needed!

    Hopes this helps!!

    • Hanging them outside on wire hangers… Genius!!

      My parents’ horizontal aluminum mini blinds haven’t been cleaned in YEARS, if ever; they’re covered in an eternity of grime. They’re 70″ wide and won’t fit in the bathtub. Your idea sounds great!

  10. First I vacum the dust off then I use a little vinegar/water combination and wipe the dust off, works great. For the kitchen a few drops of dawn dish detergent.

  11. That’s how I clean wooden blinds but any tips on cleaning greasy aluminium ones without bending them…or is the answer just bin them? 😉

  12. Great advice! For my Vertical blinds, with bucket & Pinesol..I put an old large sock on each hand & wiped both sides of each blind starting at the top and sliding down, turning socks and rinsing every so often depending on how dirty those White Sox get!!

  13. I have a TON of windows (which I usually love except for cleaning!!) and have been putting off wiping them down. I will dust them, but that doesn’t always cut it. Soooo after watching your video, I’m inspired to take two windows a day and clean like you suggest. I’ll eventually get them done and I will stop dreading this task. Thank you for the inspiration!!!!

  14. The last time I cleaned the kitchen horizontal blinds (very greasy), I swore I would throw them away before I did it again! I’m still standing by my words of wisdom. I know you mean well, however, even with a heavy degreaser, it’s still a huge project.

  15. I haven’t cleaned my blinds in months! I started to clean them today, and you are right – it is amazing how dirty the cloth gets. The main thing you need to clean blinds is PATIENCE!

  16. Thank You Melissa!!! You are awesom. Made it fun and easy too do for a chore. I laughed when you commented there was no thing or reason why you would need to bath your blinds..lol I guess you haven’t seen mine. I used a pressure washer with mild soap. You still have too hand dry but dust comes off pretty easy. Thanks for your help…

    Adrian Aguayo

  17. I have plastic mini blinds and really there is no magic way ( though I was looking for one). I have done both cleaning while hanging and taking sow and putting in the tub. Actually I think it is quicker to put in tub!

  18. Ugh there you go again, Melissa…convicting me! 🙂 I haven’t cleaned my blinds since…*gasp!* we moved into this apartment 8 months ago. I guess I’d better carve out some time to clean the blinds.

  19. Hi Melissa. Just wanted to say that i love your videos and i have tried some of your methods with great results. I was wondering though if you have some magical tricks for stains on fabric sofas….? Our sofa is in front of the tv and we tend to eat the good stuff there, mmmm chocholats and popcorn.. you know. I do try to rince with wet cloth but i still find stains.
    Thank you for all those lovely helpful videos
    Best regards
    Audur

    • use peroxide test a spot first to make sure it wont fade the color you can also use it to clean the carpets i fave a few more carpet cleaning technique

      • Do you have a web page, I need some tips for cleaning carpets, rugs. etc. I have 4 dogs, I use peroxide also. Can’t beat it for any and all biological mis-haps. Please in box me if you are able I couldn’t click on your name here and thanks.

  20. The post is really the greatest on this notable topic. I agree with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your coming updates. Saying thanks will not just be enough, for the exceptional clarity in your writing. I just bookmarked your page to stay informed of any updates. Authentic work and much success in your business endeavors!

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