14 Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Window Coverings

Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Window Coverings

Window coverings enhance the beauty and style of your home while providing privacy and protection from the sun. But what if they’re dusty or, worse still, grimy or have greasy fingerprints all over them? Just like you need to clean your windows to keep the sun shining through, we recommend cleaning window treatments to keep them at their best. So how often do you need to clean them?

Beige Roman Shades in Living Room

Aim for a deep clean every three or six months, although it varies depending on whether you have pets and/or children who tend to touch them with their oh-so-cute but sticky fingers that are, at times, even dipped in paint! The cleaning frequency really depends on how dirty your window coverings get over time.

While cleaning your window coverings may not be the ideal way to spend your weekend, if you dust your window treatments every time you clean your house, you’ll need to deep clean them less frequently, possibly once every six months.  Whether you’re cleaning shades and/or curtains or blinds and shutters we’ve put together some easy but effective cleaning tips based on the type of window treatments to prevent damage from excessively harsh cleaning ingredients or improper handling. So, go on…blast your favorite music and prepare to get your hands dirty!

Window Coverings – Keep Them Clean and Bright

Gray Sheer Drapery in Living Room

 All types of window treatments require regular cleaning to prevent dust and dirt buildup. Your window coverings will look better and last longer.

Vinyl, Aluminum, Painted Wood, and Faux Wood Blinds and Shutters

  • Close blinds and shutters as flat as they go.
  • Holding the bottom of the blind in one hand, lightly wipe across each slat with a feather duster or dry cloth (a microfiber cloth or even an acrylic or polyester sock works just fine). Alternatively, you may use a vacuum with a brush attachment and a low-suction setting to gently remove the dust and dirt.
  • Start from the top as dust is bound to loosen and settle on the lower slats or windowsill as you wipe.
  • Work your way down until you’ve dusted all slats clean.
  • Rotate the slats to make the other side face you so you can repeat the dusting process.
  • Make sure to clean the windowsill and hanging apparatus like cords or wand, if any.
  • For a final anti-dust finish, repeat the whole process with a dryer sheet as it works magically to repel dust.

For Heavily-Soiled Vinyl and Aluminum Blinds

  • Lightly dusting heavily-soiled vinyl or aluminum blinds won’t remove the grime or stubborn dust. Instead, wipe these with a microfiber cloth or sock dampened with a mixture of water and a dash of liquid dish soap; it’s the best way to clean blinds without taking them down.
  • Before the soapy water dries, wipe with a clean cloth dampened in plain warm water to remove any soap residue.

For Heavily-Soiled Faux Wood Blinds

  • Wipe blinds with a cloth dampened in a 50/50 water/white vinegar solution. Vinegar is a handy kitchen ingredient that is inexpensive and an efficient cleaning agent owing to its antimicrobial properties. Make sure you use a damp and not wet cloth as wood can get warped if it gets too wet.
  • Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove the vinegar to avoid warping or discoloring.
  • Lastly, wipe with a dry cloth immediately.
  • Warning -- Consult the blinds manual or your local Budget Blinds consultant for any special cleaning care instructions.

Roman Shades

  • Lower the shades completely.
  • Using a vacuum with a soft brush attachment and a low setting, start from the top, as dust from the top may settle on the lower parts.
  • Vacuum the back side of the shade as well.
  • For stubborn stains, use stain remover on the affected area. Consult the manual or your local Budget Blinds consultant for special care instructions before using stain remover, and test first on a hidden seam.
  • Let the fabric shade air dry.

For Heavily-Soiled, Washable-Fabric Roman Shades

  • Remove dowels from flat shades. You may de-thread and remove attached strings or leave them as they are.
  • Wash shades according to fabric instructions and let them air dry (don’t put them in the dryer to avoid shrinkage).
  • Remove wrinkles by pressing or steaming.
  • Restring and re-hang the shades.

For Non-Washable, Heavily-Soiled Roman Shades

  • Get them dry cleaned and let the dry cleaner know the fabric content and if you’ve used any chemical spot removers on them.

Wood Blinds and Shutters

  • First, lightly dust with a dry cotton cloth.
  • Special care needs to be taken with wood blinds as wood may easily warp or discolor with harsh ingredients. Use lemon oil or a good-quality wood polish instead of harsh chemicals to protect the wood.
  • It’s important to not get wood blinds or shutters wet. Therefore, wipe blinds with a clean cotton cloth that is lightly sprayed with wood polish or lemon oil.
  • Flip the louvers to clean the other side.
  • Finish by lightly wiping the blinds with a dry, clean cloth to absorb excess product.

Badly-Soiled Wood Blinds and Shutters

  • Dip a clean cotton cloth in a mixture of slightly warm water and mild detergent and wring it so it’s just damp, and not wet.
  • Rub each slat lengthwise with the dampened cloth.
  • Wipe dry immediately with a cotton cloth, so the wood doesn’t get spots, become discolored, or warped.

Vertical Blinds

It’s slightly more challenging to clean vertical blinds. Especially if they are floor-to-ceiling, the process becomes even more difficult. However, an easy cleaning approach to dust vertical blinds would be to simply roll a lint roller over them, to remove the excess dirt.

Depending on whether your vertical blinds are made of aluminum, vinyl, or fabric, you can use one of the following methods for a deep clean:

  • First, dust both sides with a dry cloth, vacuum with a brush attachment on a low setting or use a lint roller. Make sure you start from the top and work your way to the bottom for each slat.
  • Next, prepare for a deep clean by assembling a clean cloth and an all-purpose spray cleaner or a mixture of liquid dish soap and water.
  • Clean each slat with a cloth dampened with soapy water or cleaner. Rinse with a clean cloth dampened with plain water.

Vinyl or Aluminum Vertical Blinds

  • Vinyl or aluminum blinds can be washed with soapy water and a sponge without taking them down.
  • Just be sure to place towels under the blinds to catch drips to avoid a wet carpet or  slippery floor.
  • After washing each slat down its full length and on both sides, rinse the slats and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Vertical Fabric Blinds

  • Lightly dust both sides with a clean and dry cloth or sock, or a vacuum with an upholstery attachment and a low setting.
  • For heavily-soiled vertical fabric blinds, take down the vane and lay it on a flat surface.
  • Clean with a sponge and a mixture of warm water and mild detergent or use a dry fabric cleaner.
  • Be sure to blot dry to avoid patches or discoloration.
  • Warning – Do not dry clean or immerse vertical fabric blinds in water.

Sheer Fabric Vertical Blinds

  • Unsnap the fabric from the vanes to wash sheer fabric vertical blinds.
  • It’s recommended to wash using a mild detergent and a gentle cycle.
  • Let them air dry instead of placing in the dryer.
  • To remove wrinkles, press or steam on a low setting.
  • Warning – to prevent damage, do not steam or iron the sheer fabric blinds while they’re attached to the vanes.

Aluminum, Vinyl, and Composite Exterior Shutters

Exterior shutters are likely to get quite dirty from the dust and pollution outside. But the good news is that these can be washed with a brush and mop. Follow these steps to keep your exterior shutters looking like new.

  • Close the shutters tight and brush off the loose dirt.
  • Scrub the shutters using a brush and a solution of warm water and liquid dish soap. Alternatively, you may use a cloth dipped in the cleaning solution.
  • Use a toothbrush dipped in the solution to deep clean the dirt in hard-to-reach cracks and crevices.
  • Rinse the shutters with a garden hose or a clean cloth dipped in plain water before the soapy water dries.
  • Wipe the shutters dry with a clean and dry cloth, sock, or microfiber mop.
  • Warning – It’s highly recommended to use a helper if you’re trying to reach high exterior shutters with a ladder.

Drapery, Curtains, and Valances

At Budget Blinds, we do not recommend dry cleaning your drapes and curtains as it’s likely to shrink them. For the best care for your draperies, curtains, and valances, we recommend the following:

  • Regularly vacuum your draperies with a brush or upholstery attachment on a low setting to keep the dust off so dirt does not accumulate.
  • For washable fabrics, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s best to always use a gentle cycle, mild detergent, and cold water to prevent damage or shrinkage.
  • Warnings – Many fabrics, though washable, are not meant to be placed in the dryer. It’s best to let them air dry. To remove stubborn wrinkles, iron while still damp. Before washing lined drapery, check whether both lining and face fabric are washable. Additionally, while hiring a professional cleaner for draperies is a good idea, be sure to inform them of the fabric content along with any special care instructions.

Using draperies, curtains, and valances is one of the easiest ways to add beauty and style to your home décor; however, they need gentle cleaning care and frequent vacuuming to keep them looking as clean and beautiful as new.

Budget Blinds For All Your Window Covering Needs

We hope you found our cleanings tips and tricks helpful for maintaining your window treatments. However, if you’re too pressed for time to clean and repair blinds or your window coverings are beyond the cleaning stage, let Budget Blinds help you pick easy to clean window treatments that are beautiful and low maintenance while they instantly elevate your home’s appearance.

 Our Budget Blinds consultation experts are skilled in recommending window treatments that meet your minimum care requirements and exceptional style. They can assist you in custom-matching window coverings to your unique home décor and functionality needs. Go ahead and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation!

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