Ultimate guide on how to clean vertical blinds at home

Ever wondered what the best way to clean your specific style of verticle blind is?

There is a reason why vertical blinds exist in most homes; they are functional, look great, and work well on large windows and patio doors due to their durability in high traffic areas. However, when it comes to maintenance, most people are a little unsure about how to clean vertical blinds to ensure they do a sufficient job without damaging the materials.

When deciding how to clean vertical blinds at home, regular upkeep will have them looking their best. The following step-by-step instructions for standard vertical blinds (not cellular vertical blinds) will make sure your home is one step closer to looking fabulous all the time while getting total longevity out of your vertical blinds.

How often should you perform the clean?

Usually, an annual thorough clean is enough, but this can change and be required a little more regularly if the usage and location of your blinds is a little more high-traffic. The easiest way to determine this is quite simply with their appearance. If your vertical blinds are beginning to look a little dirty, or it’s coming up to a year since you cleaned them, it’s time to initiate the following steps.

With this being said, the more often you perform a clean of your vertical blinds, the less time it will take you to complete the task. Once you understand how to clean vertical blinds, and know which cleaning materials are best for your specific blind type, you’ll be able to complete the task faster each time.

How to clean vertical blinds without taking them down

While you can remove your vertical blinds to clean them if you would prefer, it is not a necessity and will likely save you a significant amount of time if you don’t. If you do want to remove them, you’ll need to ensure you have enough space and take a fair bit of care to ensure you don’t damage the blinds. It is important to note that removing them for a clean may not produce the best results.

If you want to know how to clean vertical blinds fast, follow these steps:

  1. Go with the ‘as needed’ approach and vacuum the blinds with an upholstery wand attachment
  2. Give them a quick dust
  3. If still dirty you’ll want to spot clean the areas of concern

When it comes to dusting and washing, the method will depend on whether or not your blinds are vinyl, PVC, plastic, or fabric.

The best way to vacuum vertical blinds

When it comes to vacuuming your vertical blinds, you’ll just need your regular household vacuum with a brush or blind-cleaning attachment. Vacuum slowly with blinds closed (side to side) to avoid bunching slats on one end, then:

  1. Ensure blinds are full to one side
  2. Vacuum the slats individually top to bottom
  3. Move wide slats side to side if needed
  4. Turn blinds to the other side and repeat 

Ensure that you always vacuum from top to bottom so that you do not accidentally lift the slat off the hooks. Follow the length of the vanes, as opposed to going across the blind.

If possible, avoid using a vacuum that is too powerful as it will grab the blinds and increase the risk of damage. The same thing can happen if you use a vacuum that doesn’t have an attachment.

What’s the best way to dust blinds?

No matter what sort of material your vertical blinds are made out of, sometimes vacuuming isn’t enough. This does not mean you need to wash the blinds! After you vacuum, feather dusting is a great way to get rid of that remaining dust. You can also use a white glove or paintbrush to achieve the same result.

If you do opt for the popular method of a feather duster, however, follow these steps:

  1. Completely close the blinds (side to side)
  2. Open and close blinds (rotation of vanes)
  3. Use up and down strokes to dust one vane at a time
  4. Reverse the blinds and repeat

For white glove cleaning of vinyl, PVC, or plastic blinds:

  1. Close blinds (side to side)
  2. Open blinds fully (rotation of vanes)
  3. Put on the white cloth gloves and glide your hands over the vanes carefully
  4. If this begins to be ineffective, be sure to brush the dust off the gloves or wash between uses

If you decide to use a paintbrush for your  cleaning, follow these steps:

  1. Close blinds entirely (side to side)
  2. Open and close (rotation of vanes)
  3. Give the blinds a wipe with a paintbrush, preferably one that has natural fibres as opposed to plastic (wide, the high-quality paintbrush is preferable) Tap the brush periodically
  4. Reverse blinds and repeat

Pro tip: Use a high-quality feather duster that pulls dust as opposed to rags or cloths, which will not clean as effectively.

What is the best way to wash vertical blinds?

For vinyl, PVC, plastic, and painted wood blinds that require a wash, first, you will need:

  • High-quality sponges
  • A mild cleanser
  • Some clean towels
  • A bucket of water
  • A microfiber cloth (optional)

Once you have all of this, follow these steps:

  1. Close all windows and doors to prevent wind and dust while cleaning
  2. Place the clean towels under the vanes to collect any drips
  3. Wet the sponges in a mild solution of soap and warm water (avoid hot water)
  4. Wash one side of the blind at a time if you are only using one sponge, use two to wash both sides simultaneously
  5. Squeeze the excess water from the sponge
  6. Squeeze the sponge gently and slide down the blind slowly

You can wipe a single vane in sections, intermittently cleaning the sponge to avoid a build-up of dust. If you want to avoid leaving water spots, use an almost dry sponge to do a light drying pass at the end. You can also dry the blinds with a microfiber cloth. Ensure that you refresh your bucket of water when required to avoid washing with a dirty sponge.

Once again, during this process, it is a good idea to use minimum pressure on the vanes to avoid pulling them out of their clip or damaging the blinds. Always make sure you are using quality sponges to avoid leaving sponge particles on the blinds, making them dirtier than before you started! Always avoid using abrasive soaps, and if you like, while the vanes are dry, you can wipe them with a dryer sheet to reduce any static build-up.

Pro tip: Lemon oil or wood preservative is a great way to protect wood blinds with a stained finish.

How to clean fabric vertical blinds

If your vertical blind and inserts are made of fabric, you will need some slight tweaks on the way you perform a clean to ensure they last and look amazing for as long as possible.

When it comes to spot cleaning fabric vertical blinds, blot the area in question with a mild cleansing solution. It would be best if you first tested the solution in an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage. From here, use a soft cloth or sponge and softly blot the stain, allowing it to dry thoroughly. Use a fair amount of care while doing this not to harm the material.

If you need to perform a more in-depth clean other than dusting or spot cleaning, refer to the blind manufacturer cleaning instructions, as they will vary quite significantly across the many product lines. Many people make the mistake of washing their blinds via immersion, heat, or chemicals, which can damage some blinds but be great for others.

Keep in mind, however, that these more aggressive methods should only be used if the general instructions of the manufacturer allow it. Most manufacturers will strongly advise against putting any fabric blinds into a dryer.

Need a little help with your vertical blinds?

If you are a little time poor and the task of getting your vertical blinds cleaned is being pushed down the to-do list, get a little help! There are plenty of people who can help with blind cleaning, saving you time while ensuring your blinds look their best.

Vertical Blinds Cleaning FAQs

Can you machine wash vertical blinds?

You can; however, it would be best if you were to put the blinds in a pillowcase before putting them into the machine. You should also always check the label to see if they are safe to wash in a machine.

What’s the easiest way to clean blinds?

This is dependent on the type of blinds you have; however, a wet sponge method that follows a decent vacuum and dust is appropriate for most blinds. The more regular the clean, the easier each clean will be!

How do you machine wash vertical blinds?

To wash your vertical blinds in a machine, first, you must remove the blinds from their hooks and follow these steps: 1. Fold the blinds in half, 2. Place inside of a large pillowcase, 3. Tie it shut, 4. Place inside the washing machine, 5, Add detergent and run on a gentle cycle

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