How to Clean Blinds: Your Window to Dustless and Grime-Free Blinds Without All the Fuss

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated August 4, 2022
A kitchen with white window blinds
Photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

There's no need to turn a blind eye to your dirty blinds

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If you’ve always dreaded cleaning every single surface and crevice of your blinds, you should know that it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. With dedication and some basic household supplies, you can learn how to clean your blinds to keep them looking brilliant. 

We’ve rounded up all of the best ways to spruce your blinds, whether you’re working with standard horizontal slats or trying not to damage delicate surfaces.

Why Cleaning Your Blinds Regularly Is Important

Beyond the aesthetics of beautiful blinds, cleaning your blinds helps reduce the number of allergens in your home. Blinds hold onto dust, pet dander, and other airborne allergens like a magnet—so, even though it’s a simple chore, you’re helping you and your family breathe easier. Plus, if you stick to a routine, you’ll have a much easier time getting through every cleaning session.

How Often to Clean Your Blinds

Aim to dust your blinds once a week and deep clean them monthly. This routine will help you tackle all the dirt, dust, and grime before it becomes a stuck-on mess. If you’ve been meaning to stay more on top of your cleaning, a daily, weekly, and monthly house cleaning checklist can help.

How to Prep for Cleaning Your Blinds

Before you get started, you should know a few general guidelines in preparation for cleaning your blinds. First, take the blinds down before cleaning them if possible (while it’s an extra step many tend to avoid, you’ll have a way easier time).

Aside from that, you can clean nearly any type of blind with just a few simple supplies you probably already have on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloths

  • Dish soap

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or microfiber duster

For blinds that are prone to greasy residue, such as those in your kitchen, you might need an all-purpose degreasing cleaner. You can also opt for rubbing alcohol, but avoid using this on painted or wooden surfaces as it might damage the finish. A simple spot test in an unnoticeable spot always helps.

How to Clean Your Blinds

Just like there are many different types of blinds, there are also a variety of different methods to clean your blinds. Find the type you hang in your home to learn how to clean your blinds quickly and easily.  

How to Clean Venetian (Horizontal) Blinds:

This method is best for materials like vinyl. If you have wooden or fabric blinds, you may have to use a more specific method outlined later in our list.

  1. Close the blinds to give yourself a flat working surface.

  2. Go over the blinds using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment or a microfiber duster.

  3. For extra-dirty blinds (that are not made of wood), wipe them down with a microfiber cloth or a clean sock dipped in a 1:1solution of vinegar and warm water with a small squirt of dish soap. You should never get wooden blinds wet, so skip this step.

  4. Rinse the sock in warm water and give each slat a once-over.

  5. If the blinds are still dirty, soak them in a bathtub filled with warm water, half a cup of vinegar, and half a cup of baking soda.

  6. Allow the blinds to soak for one to two hours.

  7. Rinse the blinds in clean water.

  8. Dry gently with a clean towel and re-hang the blinds.

How to Clean Vertical Blinds:

Similarly, if you have fabric or wooden blinds, skip down to the cleaning method for your specific material. For more durable blinds, like those made of vinyl, this method works great.

  1. Close the blinds.

  2. Hold the bottom of the blinds to stabilize them.

  3. Go down each blind with a microfiber cloth (dampen with warm water if the dry cloth won't pick up the dirt).

  4. For extra-dirty blinds, dip a microfiber cloth in a 1:1solution of vinegar and warm water with a small squirt of dish soap (do not get wooden blinds wet).

  5. Wipe each blind down using a downward motion.

  6. Rinse the cloth in warm water and give each blind a once-over.

How to Clean Woven Blinds:

Woven blinds are usually made from tightly-woven bamboo, straw, and other natural grasses. Wiping the surface can snag or cause damage, so you'll want to stick to this routine:

  1. Go over the blinds using a vacuum with a soft brush attachment or a soft microfiber duster.

  2. For extra-soiled blinds, soak for one hour in a tub filled with a 1:1 solution of vinegar and warm water (or warm water mixed with a wood-safe cleaner such as oil soap).

  3. Use a shower head to spray the blinds clean with warm water.

  4. Hang to dry.

How to Clean Wood Blinds:

Wooden blinds can be tricky, as you have to avoid getting them wet to prevent warping or other damage. Here’s the best routine to go with:

  1. Vacuum the blinds using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.

  2. If needed, use a damp (not wet) cloth to remove any leftover dirt.

How to Clean Fabric Blinds:

  1. Vacuum the blinds using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.

  2. Clean any dirty spots by gently dabbing (not scrubbing) with a soft microfiber cloth dipped in a solution of warm water with a squirt of dish soap or a mild detergent.

  3. For stubborn stains, dip your dampened cloth in some baking soda and gently rub until the stain is lifted.

  4. Use a clean microfiber cloth dampened in warm water to rinse the spot.

How to Clean Yellowed or Discolored Blinds:

Aluminum or plastic blinds that have yellowed in the sun or become discolored can often get revived with a bleach soak. Here's what to do:

  1. Fill your bathtub with cold water and 3 cups of liquid bleach.

  2. Don protective gloves and soak the blinds for 10 minutes.

  3. Rinse the shades with warm water.

  4. Hang the blinds to dry.

Tips to Prevent Damage to Your Blinds

  • Hold the bottom of the blinds while cleaning to keep them stable.

  • Review the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before getting blinds wet or soaking them in water to avoid damage and potentially voiding the warranty.

  • Avoid getting wooden blinds wet, as this may cause warping and other damage.

  • When in doubt, test a small inconspicuous area before using a cleaning product or method on your blinds. 

DIY vs. Hire a Pro to Clean Your Blinds

A woman’s hands in gloves cleans blinds with microfiber cloth
Photo: Nitinai Sangunsri / EyeEm/EyeEm / Getty Images

Cleaning is a commitment, but you don’t have to go it alone if you’re pressed for time (or willpower). Bringing in a weekly or monthly house cleaning service can keep your blinds, as well as the rest of your home, clean and sparkling. Most house cleaners charge between $30 and $50 per hour, but some offer price breaks if you book a regular service. 

You may need to specifically mention cleaning your blinds to be sure it’s included in your cleaning service. Get in touch with a local cleaning service to learn more about what services you can get for your budget.

Additional Questions

What is the best way to clean blinds without taking them down?

If you want to avoid taking the blinds down, cleaning them weekly with a microfiber duster or vacuum can help take care of dust and dirt before they turn into stains. Otherwise, hold the blinds to keep them stable and go over them with a damp microfiber cloth. If you need to use diluted vinegar or a mild detergent, dip your cloth, wipe them down, then follow up with a clean, damp microfiber cloth.

Can blinds be washed in the washing machine?

Some fabric blinds are washable. Be sure to use your machine’s gentle setting and review the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions first. You can also bring fabric shades to a dry cleaner to get them clean without any damage.

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