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The Secret to Cleaning Blinds and Shutters

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

The Secret to Cleaning Blinds and Shutters


Cleaning blinds and shutters can be a tedious chore. However, with the right techniques and products, it doesn’t have to be. As someone who has struggled to keep my blinds and shutters clean, I’ve discovered some secrets that make the process much easier. In this article, I’ll share the most effective methods I’ve found for deep cleaning blinds and shutters so you can get them looking like new again.

Assess the Situation First

Before you start cleaning, take a close look at the condition of your window treatments. Pay attention to:

  • The overall level of dust and dirt – Are they just lightly dusty or is grease and grime built up?

  • Trouble spots – Note any especially dirty areas like along the edges or where the blinds sit adjacent to each other when closed.

  • Material – Identify if you have vinyl, wood, aluminum or fabric blinds. This affects what cleaning solutions can be used.

  • Age and wear – Check if the blinds are becoming brittle or warped. This may affect what cleaning method to use.

This initial assessment helps you choose the right cleaning solutions and techniques for the job.

Protect Nearby Surfaces

Before getting started, protect any nearby surfaces from getting wet or dirty. For example:

  • Lay towels on the floor under the window and a short way out.

  • Cover window sills and glass with plastic sheeting or masking tape.

  • Move furniture and rugs away from the cleaning area.

Taking these steps now saves you time later so you don’t have to clean the surrounding areas afterwards.

Clean Blinds in Place Whenever Possible

It’s often best to clean window blinds right on the window whenever you can. This method involves:

  • Leaving the blinds hanging in place on the window.

  • Working on one small section at a time.

  • Wiping down each section thoroughly as you go.

The main advantage is you avoid having to take down, transport and rehang blinds, which takes time and risks damage. Doing a deep clean still works great this way.

Use Vacuuming as a First Step

Before wet cleaning methods, first go over the blinds with a handheld vacuum. This alone will remove a good amount of dust and debris.

Use the soft brush attachment and run it slowly over both the front and back of the blinds. For slats and crevices, use the narrow crevice tool.

Vacuuming first makes the wet cleaning more effective since it removes loose particles.

Know Which Cleaning Solutions to Use

The best cleaning solutions for window treatments are:

  • Water – For lightly soiled vinyl or metal blinds, water may be enough for cleaning.

  • Mild dish soap and water – Only a small amount of soap is needed to help cut through grease.

  • Vinegar and water solution – A 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water helps dissolve sticky grime.

  • Cleaning wipes – Convenient disposable wipes that clean well without excess moisture.

Always check the blind manufacturer’s care instructions for any specific warnings about which solutions may damage the material. And never use abrasive cleaners.

Work in Sections for Thorough Cleaning

Tackling blinds in small, manageable sections ensures you don’t miss any spots in hard-to-reach areas. Follow these steps:

  1. Lower the blind slightly from the top, exposing the first section.

  2. Use a lint-free cloth, sponge or cleaning wipe saturated with your cleaning solution.

  3. Wipe down both sides of the exposed section.

  4. Rotate the slats to clean in between.

  5. Raise the blind to expose a new section and repeat.

Take your time with each section to remove all dust, dirt, grime and debris.

Rinse and Dry Completely

After scrubbing down all sections, it’s important to:

  • Rinse away any soap residue using a cloth and clean water.

  • Blot dry with a microfiber cloth or towel.

  • Allow to air dry completely before raising the blinds.

Remaining moisture can lead to mildew or leave streaks when dry, so this step matters.

Supplement With Other Cleaning Approaches

For a really deep clean, I like to also use these approaches:

  • Ultrasonic cleaner – Allows blinds to be immersed to loosen stuck-on contaminants.

  • Steam cleaner – Uses steam to naturally dislodge grime in hard to reach areas. Safe for most blinds.

  • Blind cleaner tool – Affordable cleaning tools with rollers that fit between slats to clean.

Supplementing with these gives truly squeaky clean results.

Clean Shutters with Care

Shutters require a bit more care than blinds when cleaning:

  • Use milder cleaning solutions since shutters have more crevices where moisture can get trapped.

  • Take shutters down to clean for best results. Lay on a flat surface and scrub individual slats.

  • Rinse and dry thoroughly to prevent warping or water marks.

  • Re-apply protectants like wax after cleaning wood shutters to protect the finish.

With extra care, you can safely clean shutters without causing damage.

Set a Regular Cleaning Schedule

To prevent dirt from building up:

  • Clean blinds 1-2 times per year or whenever visibly dusty.

  • Clean shutters every 6 months since they collect more dust in slats.

  • Wipe down shades 1-2 times per month to keep them fresh.

Regular quick cleaning is easier than deep cleaning less often. Add it to your chores calendar.


The secret to cleaning blinds and shutters is using the right methods and products for your specific window treatments. Prepare the area, clean in sections, rinse and dry thoroughly. Supplement with tools like ultrasonic and steam cleaners for a deeper clean. Stay on top of cleaning regularly. Following these secrets will make the chore much faster and allow you to effectively remove dirt, dust and grime.

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