The Best Way to Clean Blinds

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated September 3, 2021
A kitchen with white window blinds
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/ iStock via Getty Images

A few smart tricks will make it easy to keep your blinds pristine

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Windows are magnets for all kinds of dust and debris, but that doesn’t mean that cleaning your blinds needs to be a pain. A few common household items and less than 10 minutes a week are all it takes to keep them shining year-round. These are all the best ways to clean your blinds, whether you’re navigating a tricky horizontal set-up or trying not to ruin your expensive fabric shutters.

Here’s What You’ll Need To Clean Most Blinds

Regardless of the type of blinds you have, there are a handful of tools and materials that you’ll always need for this chore. 

  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment

  • Microfiber cloths

  • Dish soap

  • Warm water

In areas that are especially prone to collecting dirt and grease (like the kitchen), you may also need an all-purpose cleaner to restore your blinds to their original glory. Many homeowners opt to use a mix of vinegar and dish soap for a natural, affordable solution.  

The Best Way To Clean Different Blind Styles

In general, cleaning your blinds will take less time the more often you do it. The longer you let dust, grease, and other debris (like dead bugs) build up, the longer this chore takes.   

Horizontal Blinds

Also known as Venetian blinds, horizontal blinds are one of the most common types of window covers, and they can be especially tricky to clean if you don’t know how to get started. Always begin by closing the blinds so that you have a flat surface to work on. Then, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment or a microfiber cloth to wipe each individual pallet in a horizontal motion until all are clean. 

Vertical Blinds

The only difference between cleaning horizontal and vertical blinds is the direction in which you wipe. Close the blinds so that each pallet is clearly visible before getting started. Then, working one by one, start from the top of each pallet (you may need to get on a step-stool to do this) and move down with a vacuum cleaner or a microfiber cloth until you’ve removed as much dirt as possible. 

The Best Way To Clean Different Blind Materials

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

Wood

Wood blinds are easier to clean in general because they’re finished in a way that’s designed to prevent dust build-up. Remove debris with a vacuum equipped with a soft brush or a microfiber cloth or duster on a weekly basis. If that’s not enough to restore them to their original glory, treat them with a wood or furniture cleaner once a month to help them stay polished. 

Vinyl

Cleaning vinyl blinds is a bit trickier because the material doesn’t repel dust as efficiently as wood. If it’s been a while since the last time they were cleaned, you may even need to remove them and let them soak in warm water and dish soap until the dirt build-up is easier to remove. Otherwise, a weekly dusting with a vacuum or a microfiber cloth should be enough to keep your vinyl blinds in tip-top shape—though your kitchen windows might need a little extra TLC because of all the grease floating around. 

Fabric

In addition to needing a weekly dusting or vacuuming, fabric blinds (whether horizontal or vertical) also benefit from the occasional wash cycle. Use the delicate setting on your washing machine and a gentle detergent to ensure they look the same coming out as they did going in. Or, use  soap, a sponge, and your bathtub to scrub them clean by hand. If the material is extremely delicate, like silk or lace, you may even need to get them dry-cleaned.

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