Our Tips & Tricks

Cleaning Blinds, Shades and Curtains Thoroughly

March 3, 2024

Cleaning Blinds, Shades and Curtains Thoroughly

Keeping your window treatments clean is an important part of home maintenance. Dust, dirt, and grime can build up on blinds, shades, and curtains over time. A deep cleaning periodically helps them look their best and last longer. Here are my tips for cleaning blinds, shades, and curtains thoroughly.

Assessing the Current Condition

Before I start cleaning, I take time to carefully inspect each window treatment in the room. I look for:

  • Dust – I check horizontal surfaces like blind slats for dust buildup. I also look at the tops of curtains for dust.

  • Dirt and Grime – I look for dirt, sticky spots, and grime along the bottom and leading edges of blinds and curtains.

  • Discoloration – I look for stains or yellowing, especially along the folds and edges of curtains.

  • Damage – I inspect for rips, holes, bent slats, and other damage.

Making notes on the condition allows me to target problem areas during cleaning. It also helps me decide if anything needs professional cleaning or repair.

Gathering the Right Cleaning Supplies

Having the right cleaning tools makes thorough window treatment cleaning much easier. Here are the supplies I gather before I start:

  • Vacuum with brush attachment – For removing loose dust and dirt. The brush is great for blinds.

  • Dusting wand – For reaching corners and crevices in blinds or pleated shades.

  • Clean cloths and sponges – For wiping down slats and curtains. I use microfiber for its cleaning power.

  • Mild detergent – For creating cleaning solution to tackle dirt and stains.

  • Soft brush – For working cleaning solution into fabric on curtains.

  • Stepladder – To reach curtain rods and the tops of curtains and window frames.

Protecting Floors and Furniture

Before getting started, I protect the floors, furniture, and everything else in the cleaning zone. Here are some tips:

  • I spread plastic sheeting or tarps below the window to catch drips and spills.

  • I remove or push aside furniture so I can access the whole window area.

  • I drape towels over nearby furniture and electronics to shield them from moisture and cleaning spray.

Proper prep prevents damage, saving cleanup time later.

Dusting Blinds and Shades

For dusting blinds and shades, I use my vacuum and dusting wand. Here is my process:

  • I start at the top and work down. This prevents dust resettling.

  • I vacuum each horizontal blind slat using the brush attachment. I do both the front and back side.

  • For hard-to-reach spots, I use the dusting wand. I angle it to fit between slats and into corners.

  • On pleated and cellular shades, I lightly pass the vacuum brush attachment over the folds. I use a light touch to avoid snagging the fabric.

  • I vacuum the cords, drapery tracks, and any other dusty surfaces in the area.

Thorough vacuuming removes layers of dust and dirt from the blinds or shades.

Washing Blinds and Shades

For a deeper clean, I wash blinds and shades by hand. I use this process:

  • First I vacuum the window treatments according to the steps above.

  • I fill a bucket with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent.

  • Working on one slat or fold at a time, I dip a soft cloth in the solution. I wring it out so it’s damp but not dripping.

  • I wipe down each slat or section of pleated fabric. I rinse the cloth frequently.

  • As I clean, I check for stains or stuck-on dirt. For these, I gently rub the area with the damp cloth.

  • I use a dry cloth to wipe each slat or section once washed. This prevents water marks or residue.

  • Once done washing, I let the blinds or shades dry completely before raising them.

Hand washing removes dirt, grease, and other grime the vacuum cannot. But it does take more time and care.

Cleaning Curtains

For washing curtains, I generally do one of two things:

  1. Hand Wash

  2. I vacuum the curtains first to remove loose dirt and dust.

  3. Then I fill a tub or basin with cool water and mild detergent. I submerge sections of the curtain in the water.

  4. I let them soak to loosen dirt. Then I gently agitate the fabric by rubbing it together under the water.

  5. I drain the tub and rinse the curtains by running them under clean running water.

  6. I lay flat them to dry or hang them to dry if needed.

  7. Machine Wash

  8. I check the fabric care label first. If machine washing is allowed, I vacuum the curtains.

  9. Then I load them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle using cool water and mild detergent.

  10. I air dry or tumble dry on low if the fabric permits it.

For delicates and heavy curtains, hand washing is safest. Machine washing works well for sturdier cottons and machine-washable fabrics. Either method gets curtains clean while protecting the fabric.

Cleaning Curtain Rods and Hardware

While cleaning the window treatments, I make sure to clean above them as well. I clean curtain rods, drapery tracks, and other hardware.

  • I use my vacuum with brush attachment to remove surface dust and debris. I vacuum along the length of rods or tracks.

  • For metal rods and hardware, I wipe down with a microfiber cloth dampened with mild soap and water. I use a dry cloth to buff them after.

  • For wooden rods, I wipe with a clean damp cloth. I immediately dry with a clean lint-free cloth.

  • I spot clean finials and other decor using a damp cloth if needed.

Cleaning rods prevents dust and dirt from settling back on the curtains later. It also keeps hardware looking shiny and new.

Finishing Touches

Once the window treatments are clean, I complete a few final steps:

  • I rehang the blinds, shades, or curtains once fully dry.

  • I replace any furniture or items I removed from the cleaning area.

  • I give windows and window frames a quick clean with glass cleaner. This makes the whole area look polished.

  • I launder any towels I used for prep and wipe down plastic sheeting before storing it.

  • Lastly, I admire my sparkling clean window treatments that will keep windows looking their best.

Thoroughly cleaning blinds, shades, and curtains takes some time. But it truly refreshes the look of the windows and the room. Keeping on top of periodic deep cleaning makes routine dusting and upkeep easier between major cleaning sessions. With the right methods and tools, I can tackle cleaning window treatments from top to bottom.

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