Friday, May 18, 2012

How to easily clean wood and faux wood blinds

Spring Cleaning.  I love it and I hate it.  Even though it's hard work to deep clean the house, I look forward to spring and fall cleaning because it's like a home reset.  So refreshing!
 
Do you dread cleaning your window blinds?  I know I do.  I love to have them clean, but they are such a pain.

When we moved into this house, the blinds were so filthy, a wipe down just wasn't good enough.  I don't think they'd ever been cleaned.  

In desperation, I threw them in the bathtub and took a scrub brush to every single slat.  When I realized how brilliant this method was, I decided to make it a routine.  Now that the blinds don't have a build up of gunk, the subsequent cleanings are a breeze!

I do this process about twice a year during my spring and fall deep house cleaning.  In between those times, I quickly run a swiffer duster or a vacuum over the slats to keep the dust at bay.

Since you have to take the blinds down to clean them, it's a great time to really dust the curtain rods, wash the curtains and the windows.  I also dust and vacuum under the beds and any furniture as well as washing every piece of bedding (like the dust ruffle and decorative swag over my bed).  Because this can be a long process, I usually tackle just one room a day so it doesn't get too overwhelming.

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Now I will add a disclaimer.  No company is going to recommend you do this, so use this method at your own risk.  
If you leave them in the water for a long time, you could easily damage them.  My blinds only stay in there for a minute or two, tops.  I am simply dipping, not soaking.  Do not soak your wood blinds!
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Now, let's get to the good stuff!

Here is the BEFORE.  Nasty layers of dust.  This is from a house that is relatively clean most of the time.  I vacuum and dust these at least every 2 weeks.  If you have blinds, I know you know what I'm talking about.

First Step: Run a bathtub partially full of water with a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid or (ideally) Murphy's Oil Soap (if you have wood blinds).  Each bath tub like this will usually do 3 windows for me before I want to drain it and put in fresh clean water.

Second Step:  Gently lower your blinds into the water.  Be careful with the adjustment rod so it doesn't tangle and hurt your slats.  With your hands, swish the blinds and slats around in the water carefully.

Third Step: Pick up the blinds out of the water (using the top solid mounting rail) and then lower back down.  Do this 3 or 4 times or until you feel they are clean. The pressure of the water flowing off the slats cleans them really well.

Fifth Step:  Drain off excess water from blinds and take them out into the sunshine.  I just let them stay out there for a couple of hours, going out once or twice to flip them. 

Sixth Step:  Re-hang them and stand back to admire all your hard work!

That's it!  It's so simple and easy, I will never clean blinds the conventional way again.



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23 comments:

  1. I've done this many times over the years, but with the metal mini blinds. I've also done to my vertical blinds, by removing each vane.

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  2. I am dreading this but I do agree, it seems much easier than wiping them down by hand. It's the taking down of the blinds that I am dreading...and putting them back up. We are in an apartment until Sept while our house is being remodeled. You should see what those blinds look like right now! Yikes. Major dust and gunk!!!

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  3. I don't have this type I have a fabric type blind that is solid, no gaps but accordion pleated. Some of them are falling apart with the string coming loose. I have never put them in water and they are very hard to dust as well due to the texture of them, gosh this makes me wonder I need to inspect them up-close!! I have only 6 of those and the other windows (50) have nothing or the see through sunglasses for windows which get dusty too. I need to talk to Bob about getting those down maybe we could put them in the tub but they streak so bad I would have to use something other than soap.

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  4. Nan, what about using some sort of fabric detergent? I think you have nothing to lose if they're yucky.

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  5. Great information! We have so many in our home that I refuse to stand there scrubbing. So, down they will come for a bubble bath :) Tanya

    http://twelveoeight.blogspot.com/

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  6. Do you ever put Liquid Gold on them after cleaning to "condition" them?

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  7. Paula, I have never thought of that (well, I've never heard of Liquid Gold), but I think that's a great idea. Thanks for the thought!

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  8. It's a spray wood conditioner, you can use it on cabinets and paneling.

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  9. What perfect timing!!! I see our wood blinds when I do dishes (all the time!!) and they get full sun so the dust is front and center!! (ew!!) I've wiped the bottom ones but I still know the rest are gross!! Thank you so much for sharing this!! I'm going to go do it right away!!!!!!

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  10. I finally did this and I'm SOOOO glad!!!!! Dang, it's so easy that I cannot believe I've been looking at these icky blinds for so long!! lol!!! I just got done hanging them back up and keep looking at them......just looked at them again!!! hehe!!!! Thank you SO much!!!!!!!

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  11. We’re on the same side, Miranda. I love to get the result, but hate the process. Putting the blinds in the tub and brushing them there sure sounds fast and easy. As of now, I’m trying to maintain a quick dusting routine. And I’m doing well I guess. Yeah, me. Not the windows. Ha-ha! It requires a lot of motivation to keep consistent. I hope this would spare me the pains of spring cleaning. ;P

    Roxie Tenner

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  12. Since these blinds are obviously made of wood, here’s a friendly reminder: Never leave it to soak for too long to prevent it from warping and discoloring.

    - Alejamuel Sultz

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  13. I love blinds but I hate cleaning it. The process of taking it down, cleaning every single blind and making sure the dust came off. OMG! It's dreadful! I don't think soaking wood even if it is a very short time is a good thing. Wood absorbs water and once it does. It'll slowly rot inside even if you sun-dry it.

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  14. I agree that it's not a good idea to soak the blinds in wood. I don't soak them and would never recommend someone does that due to possible damage caused to the wood. I quickly dunk them in water and then pull them out as per my photos. I've been using this method for 3 years, about 3 times a year and so far there is no damage to the blinds. If they end up being damaged over a period of 6 or 10 years, I'll deal with replacing them then. I prefer to have clean blinds, then to have them be continually dusty.

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  15. THANKS for the well written post and photos. My blinds are "wood" but I think they are veneer (didn't cost too much). I've been thinking about how to clean them since I moved here about 4 years ago, and this is a revelation. Am working my way through all the blinds in my house today, and so far a huge success. I used just a dash of Ivory dish soap, which is my go-to cleaner for walls, patio furniture, you name it. Nice and mild and no irritating fumes. Quick dip/wash like you described, dried them in the Colorado sun and they look like new. Only problem, now I am noticing the walls need cleaning too. Rats.

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  16. I used that cleaning method on the old fashioned ones when I was a kid in the 50's (my Mother's form of punishment I'm sure), but would NOT do that to the "wood' ones.

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  17. Do you need to rinse them?

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  18. Nice post! My boyfriend and I just bought some faux wood blinds for all the windows in our living room and they look great! Couldn't be happier with the way they came out. I am so glad I came across this post because I was concerned about cleaning them, I thought that maybe having them soak in water would ruin them. Thanks so much for sharing Miranda, this was very helpful.

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  19. I have about 16 wood blinds in my house and they are filthy. I was researching how to clean wood blinds when I came across this website. I was excited until my husband burst my bubble to say the water would ruin the mechanisms. Any comment about that? If that were the case, it would also damage the mechanism on metal blinds, which I have taken down in the past to clean in that method. I am just thinking this through. Personally i think it is a great idea.

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  20. I have had no issues with mine. You're NOT SOAKING them in water and letting the water just sit in there. I DIP mine (only needing to really scrub them the first time) and then they go outside to dry. I don't even like drying them indoors because I don't feel it gets them dry fast enough.

    I've only been doing this method for 3 years, at 2 to 3 times a year, but so far I see no issues, at all. But it's not been scientifically tested or anything ;) Honestly, if this method meant I would occasionally need to replace a blind here and there, I would still do it.

    Cleaning them well any other way is nearly impossible, and this method has saved me HOURS of time and energy. It's worth it for me.

    @Denise...no, you don't need to rinse them. You're using a minor amount of soap that doesn't leave a film.

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  21. About 2 years ago, I started doing this yearly, but I used Mr.Clean. I think I'll try your cleaner. I was inspired by a friend that bought a condo with seriously dirty blinds. Her choices: clean or buy. She put them in the tub filled with Clorox and water. The blinds look great, but I'm not that brave. :)

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  22. Just came across this site looking for an easier way to clean my real wood blinds which I paid a small ransom for about 5 years ago. I have always wiped with a rag and furniture polish, but my blinds have a slightly distressed finish which catches and holds the lint from my rags. They also have three rows of decorative "tape" in a deep red. Not sure how this would fare...

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