How to Clean Blinds and Drapes
Once you learn how to clean blinds and drapes, you'll always look out on the sunny side of things.
Blinds and drapes can do so much for a room. Not only are they practical, letting the light in during the day then cocooning you in for a good night’s sleep, but they also add a decorative touch to your windows. Too often, though, we take them for granted and forget that they need a little care, too. In fact, you may want to consider making a cleaning schedule for items that might be overlooked. For example, you should know how to clean a down comforter and how to wash sheets, in addition to—yes—how to clean your drapes and blinds.
“It’s important to clean blinds and drapes regularly due to the allergens that can accumulate,” says Kimberly Amanda Bryant, former design expert at Blindsgalore. “Of course, dirt and dust will take away from their good looks but they can also cause mold and result in respiratory issues.”
We recommend cleaning blinds once every other week, or even once per week if you’re starting to see dust particles. According to Bryant, the easiest way to clean any kind of blinds is with a Swiffer. “If you do this regularly, you’ll rarely have to do any deeper cleaning,” she says. Whether your blinds are Venetian, wooden, faux wooden, mini, vertical, plastic, vinyl, or cellular/honeycomb, we understand that the idea of a slat by slat cleaning can be overwhelming but, honestly, it’s easier than you think. Here’s how to clean blinds to keep them looking their best.
How to clean blinds
The good thing about cleaning your blinds is that there are no complicated or expensive products involved. Unless they’re really filthy, you don’t even need to take them off the window.
What you need:
- Vacuum cleaner with the soft brush attachment
- Warm water
- Dishwashing liquid
- Swiffer duster or microfiber cloths
- Baking soda
- Blowdryer or can of compressed air
- Lower the blinds.
Blinds are much easier to clean when they’re closed so they form almost a solid surface. Blinds that often overlap, like vinyl and aluminum, should be tilted downward rather than completely closed.
- Wipe the blinds with a clean microfiber cloth or old sock.
Wipe horizontal slats from side to side, starting at the top slat and working your way down to avoid dust and dirt falling on areas you’ve already cleaned. If you have vertical blinds, wipe each slat from the top down, holding the bottom of it to keep it from moving around. You want to wipe in a downward motion so they don’t come unhooked. If you prefer, you can use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner on a low-suction setting, gently running it along the length of the blinds.
- Turn the blinds over and repeat.
- Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe off any remaining dirt.
Just don’t do this on wooden blinds because water can warp them.
How to deep clean blinds
If your blinds have grease or stubborn stains on them, it may be time for deep cleaning.
- Take the blinds off the window and place them gently in the bathtub with warm water, some dish soap, and a cup of baking soda.
- Let them soak for an hour or so.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Wipe off excess dirt and re-hang.
How to brighten up white blinds
Blinds absorb a lot of sun and can end up looking yellow and dingy.
- Again, take the blinds off the window and gently place them in the bathtub, this time with cold water and 3 cups of liquid bleach.
- Let them soak for ten minutes maximum.
- Wear rubber gloves to then wipe each slat with the water and bleach solution with a sponge or clean cloth.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe them dry before hanging them back up.
How to clean cellular/honeycomb and fabric blinds
Because it’s easy for dirt and even bugs to get caught in cellular blinds, you should try to give them a quick cleaning once a week.
- Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean the surface. Sweep it gently across the blinds.
- Set your hairdryer to the lowest setting and blow any debris out of the cells. If you prefer, you can spray a can of compressed air through the cells instead.
- Blot stains gently—don’t scrub!—with a clean cloth dipped in warm water and dish soap. Dry by blotting with another clean cloth to prevent water rings. You never want to get cellular blinds overly wet.
How to clean drapes
Drapes should also be cleaned every couple of weeks, especially if someone in your home suffers from allergies.
- Vacuum drapes.
You want to remove dust, dirt, and pet hair from drapes before it gets embedded into the fabric, and the upholstery nozzle of your vacuum is a great tool to use. Using the lowest level of suction and short strokes, start at the top of your drapes and work your way down. If your drapes have embellishments like beading, you may want to just wipe them down with a dry microfiber cloth instead to avoid damaging them while removing dust.
- Wash drapes.
If your drapes are really dirty or stained, they may require washing. Before getting them wet, though, check the care label for manufacturer recommendations.
If your drapes are machine-washable, use cold water, a gentle detergent, and a delicate cycle. Don’t put too many panels in at one time, though, or they won’t get clean. And, if they’re made of fragile fabrics like lace, place them in a mesh bag in the machine. If you’re going to hand wash drapes, consider using the bathtub to give them more room.
To dry drapes, hang them on a clothesline to avoid wrinkling and possible damage from the dryer. If they do look wrinkled, you can give them a quick touch-up with a warm iron or steamer. Again, check care labels before doing anything.
- Dry clean drapes.
Sometimes the safest thing to do is just send your drapes to the dry cleaner to let the professionals take care of them. Do this if your drapes are especially delicate or soiled. If they’re made of expensive fabrics, such as silk damask, make sure you go to a dry cleaner who specializes in drapes.
- Kimberly Amanda Bryant, former design expert at Blindsgalore