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!
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.
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!