Cleaning Venetian Blinds

Most people will agree that venetian blinds make a great window covering to have in the home or office environment in terms of looks and functionality. However many people are put off choosing them because of previous experiences with cleaning venetian blinds. With a lot more horizontal surface area than all other blinds, it is true that venetian window blinds seem to get much dirtier and require cleaning more often than all other blind types. In addition it is also true that venetian blinds are more difficult to clean than most other blind types due to the often large number of slats which have to be cleaned individually if you want to clean venetian blinds without taking them down. Even then after cleaning, keeping a venetian blind clean seems impossible and many people feel they are quickly back to square one with the dust quickly starting to settle on the blinds slats as soon as they have finished cleaning.

We have put together some useful instructions on how to clean venetian blinds not only to help those who already have them installed, but also to help those who are thinking about buying venetian blinds make a decision by letting them know what needs to be done to keep your blinds looking great. In our guide we have detailed what we think are some of the best cleaning methods along with a few tips. We have split the guide into light cleaning of blinds to begin with followed by deep cleaning of blinds which you will find lower down the page.

Important note about cleaning wooden venetian blinds

Before discussing any cleaning methods we should make a special point of warning about how to clean wooden venetian blinds (and faux wooden blinds!). Most wooden venetian blinds are made from a type of wood that is very absorbent which means that any cleaning method which involves water or a liquid is unsuitable for wooden blinds, as the timber slats can absorb the water or liquid and then warp when drying. In addition many of the stains and varnishes used to colour and finish the slats of wooden blinds are not suitable to be put into contact with water and other liquids as they can cause the stain to streak and the finish layer to delaminate from the wood and peel. We therefore recommend that if you plan to clean wooden (or faux wooden) blinds that you only use light cleaning and dusting methods without liquids before checking what your supplier or manufacturer recommends.

Light Cleaning your Venetian Blinds

By ‘light cleaning’ we are referring to relatively fast methods that can be undertaken regularly, easily and without too much effort, and also that can be undertaken without removing the blind.

In order to keep your window blinds as clean as possible and also to make the cleaning task as easy as it can be each time you get round to cleaning your blinds we recommend that you undertake a regular regime of light cleaning. Light cleaning venetian blinds regularly involves quite a bit of work but it does mean that you will need to give your venetian blind a deep clean less frequently.

The simplest method that many people use is to lightly dust their blinds with the lightest feather or fluffy duster. However for a more effective clean you should physically dust each individual slat by wiping it with a dry cloth. Some people find alternatives to a dry cloth and prefer to use such things as old socks, white cotton gloves, antistatic cloths, or even tumble dryer wipes. There are also proprietary venetian blind slat cleaning products sold by many household stores. These often resemble cooking tongues with felt pads and can clean 3 slats at a time.

If there are stains, marks or grease on any of the slats then you may need to introduce a small amount of water and maybe some cleaning solution to the process. Many different types of cleaning solution such as window cleaner and washing up liquid have been used successfully and there are even special ‘venetian blind cleaning sprays’ on the market which claim to leave the blind slats in an antistatic state which will reduce the amount of dust that will be attracted to the slat afterwards. However before using any cleaning solution it is best to check with your blind manufacturer first whether the cleaning solution is suitable. It may also be worth testing the solution on a small sample spot first. If you are using water or a cleaning solution then we recommend applying a very small amount onto to one cloth (or sock!) and having another to quickly wipe off and dry. In this way dirt or grease will not be spread to the other slats during the cleaning process.

Another method many people use is to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the slats of a venetian blind. This is best done with an upholstery attachment or one of the similar proprietary venetian blind cleaning attachments which are now on the market. If you decide to use a vacuum cleaner make sure that the suction is not too strong as the vacuum may draw the slats down the nozzle folding and damaging them. The slats of pvc and aluminium venetian blinds are particularly liable to do this so be careful. If the suction is adjustable on your machine then start at the lowest level and increase the suction slowly until it is having the best effect without damaging the slats.

Good luck in cleaning your venetian blind and remember to make sure to clean both sides of the slats whilst you are cleaning. However if your light cleaning of your venetian blind is not bring up the standard of cleanliness you desire then it may be time for a deep clean.

Deep Cleaning your Venetian Blinds

Many people just don’t get round to ‘lightly cleaning’ their venetian window blinds very regularly and many people will inherit dirty, dusty or greasy blinds maybe in a home they move into. Even blinds that are lightly cleaned regularly will one day need a ‘deep clean’ as even if the slats seem fairly clean, dirt will have built up in on the tapes and cords and in hard to get places where a ‘light cleaning’ cannot reach. Whatever the reason your venetian blind may need a deep clean read on to find out how you may be able to bring them up like new.

Warning wooden blinds!

As we mentioned above, if you have wooden or faux wooden venetian blinds then it is very likely that the cleaning methods we describe below will damage your blinds, so please don’t try them. We recommend you check with your blind manufacturer what they recommend as the best method to clean your blind.

How to deep clean your blinds

Firstly you will need to take down or remove your venetian blinds from the window. To deep clean the blind indoors the venetian blind can then be placed in a bathtub. We recommend using a towel to protect the sides and bottom of the tub from scratching. You can then fill the bath with enough water to cover the blind completely and apply a cleaning solution to the water. Many different types of cleaning solution have been used successfully however we recommend that you check with your blind manufacturer as to what they recommend. You can then leave the venetian blind to soak and the water and cleaning solution should lift a lot of the dirt, dust, grease and grime from the blind slats, headrail and cords. You may need to use a soft brush to gently scrub to agitate any ingrained dirt on any grimy or greasy slats, making sure to do this on both sides of the slats. When the blinds look clean in the water you will need to rinse all the dirty water away. This may require rinsing the venetian blind in clean water and leaving it to soak shortly a number of times to make sure the blind does not pick up the dirt from the water again. A shower attachment is useful to help rinse off.

You can also deep clean your venetian blind outdoors if you do not have a bath or you blind is too big for your bathtub. You can carry out the cleaning on a path, a driveway or a lawn using a garden hose. We always recommend laying out a clean tarpaulin or blanket to do this on so that your blind does not pick up dirt from outside. If you are cleaning your venetian blind in this way you will probably be unable to leave your blind to soak immersed in water so you will probably need to use a soft brush to gently scrub as mentioned earlier. You will need to clean and rinse the blind a few times with your hose before your blind is completely clean.

Whatever way you clean your blind make sure you hang your blind up after cleaning so that air can pass through all the vanes so it can dry properly, preventing mould from forming. There are many ways you could do this perhaps by hanging it from a sturdy shower rail over the bath or a garage beam if working outside. Make sure your blind is completely dry before fitting it back in its proper location.

If having read this the thought of deep cleaning your venetian blind is sounding too onerous a task or if you are managing a commercial building and do not have the time, the facilities or even a member of staff who can do the job for you then it would be worth considering using the services of a professional blind cleaning company. A professional blind cleaning company can offer different levels of service but will most often take down your blinds and take them away to clean and then replace the blinds for you. This type of company will also service and lubricate any moving parts and make any repairs necessary to your blinds whilst they are in their possession.

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