How to Clean Dirty Blinds

Monday, October 28, 2013 6:36:00 PM Categories: Green Living Home Cleaning Tips Home Maintenance

In this how-to, you'll learn

  • Tips on how to properly get blinds clean and how to keep them that way.
  • How to clean a wide range of blind types including fabric and venetian blinds.
  • How to clean extremely filthy slatted blinds quickly and easily.


Keeping blinds clean is one of those chores that all of us tend to put off because, let’s face it, there are more important and fun things to do! However, letting grime and dust build up on your blinds is not only unsightly, it can also cause health issues as dust gets blown around the room when the furnace or air conditioning is running. This is potentially dangerous for people with allergies, but anyone can be adversely affected by an overabundance of dust in a room.

Here are some tips for getting your blinds clean and keeping them that way.

Fabric Blinds

clean fabric blindsFabric blinds are easier to maintain than slatted or Venetian styled blinds. Some fabric blinds are pleated while others are smooth, roller type blinds. The best option for fabric blinds is to vacuum them frequently. Push or roll them all the way up, and with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, gently clean the surface and mounting bar. As you unroll the blind, continue to vacuum, working from the upper surface toward the lower portion of the blind. Be careful not to damage any cords or mechanisms and you may find it helpful to set your vacuum’s suction at a lower level. If there are any stains or spots on the fabric, please refer to manufacturer’s instructions and spot test before using any cleaners.

Venetian (Slatted) Blinds

Venetian blinds are more of a challenge to clean because of the slats and the fact that the blinds can be tilted in an upward or downward position: So there are LOTS of places for dust to accumulate. Start out by giving the blinds a thorough but gentle vacuuming using a brush attachment and appropriate level of suction. Once the loose dirt and dust is removed, clean off the grime:

  • First, before using any cleaner on your blinds, check manufacturer instructions and spot test in an inconspicuous place.
  • Make us a solution of water and vinegar, using equal parts of each.
  • Using a clean sock, dip it into the water, wring it out and place the sock on your hand.
  • Then gently work, top to bottom, wiping off each slat as you go. Rinse out the sock and change the water as needed. Then flip the slats in the opposite direction and repeat.
  • Now use another clean, dry sock to dry the blinds, slat by slat, and you are done!

If your Slatted Blinds are REALLY Filthy…

clean slatted blindsIf your slatted blinds are really filthy and grimy, more drastic action may be needed because wiping them will smear the dirt rather than remove it. In this case, take the blinds down off their window mounts and placed them in a bath tub filled with hot soapy water; a grease-cutting dish soap works really well. After letting them soak for about ten minutes, use clean sock to wash each slat individually while soaking. You may need to repeat this a few times; then rinse, stand them sideways to drain and then wrap them in a towel to absorb most of the water. Then hang them and wipe off any excess water with a clean dry sock or rag. Be sure to close the blinds before lifting them out of the tub turning them to drain. Of course, this is not a good approach with wood or wood composite blinds as the water will cause them to warp and split, but it works well with plastic or metal blinds. Special spray on cleaners made for wood products are a good option for wood and wood composite blinds.

Frequent, regular vacuuming of your blinds may be enough to keep them clean and avoid this chore again for a long time. In need of a total cleaning of your windows? Read our tips on cleaning window screens and winterizing your windows.