The Fastest, Easiest Ways to Clean Your Blinds

Your step-by-step cleaning guide for fabric, wood, and plastic blinds by Clean That Up host Brandon Pleshek

When was the last time you cleaned your window blinds? If you’re like most people, you may not be exactly sure. If that’s the case, one thing is certain: you’re not cleaning them often enough. Don't worry — it’s ok.

When was the last time you cleaned your window blinds? If you’re like most people, you may not be exactly sure. If that’s the case, one thing is certain: you’re not cleaning them often enough. Don't worry — it’s ok. That’s what I’m here for. Honestly, cleaning your blinds is harder to remember than cleaning your windows. But once you understand how to clean your blinds properly, the cleaning itself won’t feel so daunting, and you may even find yourself getting into a feel-good cleaning routine. Soon enough, you will no longer have to worry about being overwhelmed or embarrassed by dust bunnies when you’re opening or closing the blinds to let in the light or see the view.

Before we get into how to clean blinds, let’s take a moment to appreciate all that these oft-overlooked accessories do for us and for our homes. Whether they are made of fabric, wood, or plastic, window blinds are great at blocking out light, keeping a room cool, and providing privacy from neighbors or passersby—but to stay functional and do their job well, they need special attention to stay free not only of dust, but also pet hair, dirt, and other unpleasant debris that may be invisible to the eye until enough accumulates (yuck!).

For those living with allergies or conditions like asthma, keeping your home free of these irritants is even more important, since indoor air quality plays a critical role in keeping you and your family healthy. You may want to opt to use a face mask or covering when you clean your blinds to avoid inhaling any particles that get kicked up as you are working, and ask your family members to go outside—to run errands or play in the backyard—so that they aren’t exposed.

Thankfully, cleaning your blinds can be relatively simple, and easily worked in as part of your overall household cleaning routine. You can clean them once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month, depending on how quickly they get dirty and what your lifestyle allows—in all truthfulness, the frequency matters less than staying on some kind of regular schedule. With that in mind, read on for the tried-and-true steps you can take to keep your blinds clean.

Cleaning fabric blinds

Dust is the biggest culprit when it comes to dirty blinds of all materials, but it especially loves to cling to fabric. In my experience, I’ve found that the best way to clean fabric blinds is with a vacuum. While you’re vacuuming a room, and after you’ve done the carpet or floor, switch to the vacuum attachment with the soft bristles at the end and slowly run it over your blinds, starting from top to bottom. (Don’t have a vacuum handy? A lint roller will work in a pinch!)

Believe it or not, dust can even cause fabric discoloration and stains. To remove stains, grab a bucket and mix a teaspoon of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid with a gallon of warm water. Use a microfiber cloth and slowly and methodically dab the solution on the stain, being careful not to oversaturate the area. Too much water can cause further staining, or cause the blinds to become misshapen, especially if they have pleats. Blot the area dry with a fresh rag or cloth. If this remedy doesn’t work, it might be time to set aside your pride and call in a professional. Experts can always harness ultrasonic cleaning technology to bring fabric blinds back to life.

Cleaning wood blinds

Dust loves wood almost as much fabric, so you’re going to want to tackle that first. I prefer to use a dry microfiber cloth or a Swiffer Duster. Both are wonderful at trapping the dust as you clean. They also lift the dirt away so that you’re not just moving the dirt around the surface.

As you’re cleaning, move horizontally across each individual blind, starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. This way, any dust that does happen to fall will land on the next dirty blind and you will avoid having to double back and repeat the process.

When all of the dry dust is gone, you can use the same solution—a teaspoon of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid and a gallon of water—and go back over the blinds, again from top to bottom. Make sure to dry them thoroughly so the wood does not become warped over time.

TIP: Keep a vacuum nearby so that after your blinds are clean, you can vacuum up any dust that has fallen to the floor. Or do your regular room cleaning routine, but leave the blinds to last.

How to clean plastic blinds

Anyone who’s ever had plastic blinds knows what a nightmare they can be to clean—and how noticeable the dust buildup is especially on a sunny day. Somehow, everything seems to stick to plastic, and if you start scrubbing the slats without first removing all of the dry dirt, you’re in for a muddy surprise! To avoid such a messy situation, follow these two simple steps in order:

  1. First things first, dry dust the blinds with a microfiber cloth or use a Swiffer Duster.
  2. Now that you’ve removed all of that irksome dust, you’re in the clear and can wipe down the blinds using the solution of water and Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid.

Stubborn Blinds? If your plastic blinds are not surrendering to your cleaning efforts, all is not lost. But you may need to double down and adopt an even more intensive process. Here’s how.

  • Fill your (clean!) bathtub with warm water and a tablespoon or two of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid.
  • Remove your blinds from the window and place them into the bathtub to soak for about an hour.
  • Once they’re done soaking, drain the tub and take a dry microfiber cloth to carefully scrub any remaining grime from the blinds.
  • Allow them to air dry, or speed up the process by using a fresh microfiber cloth to dry each individual blind.

Article by Brandon Pleshek

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