How to Properly Clean Fabric Blinds

Vertical beige fabric blinds

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 3 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Fabric blinds add both privacy and a custom, decorative touch to windows. There are two main types of fabric blinds you should know:

  • One style is constructed with fabric bonded to semi-flexible plastic slats that are then strung together. The slats can be vertical or horizontal.
  • Another type of fabric or cloth blinds feature slats made from woven fabrics that can be translucent or room-darkening. The fabric used in manufacturing these blinds creates the soft lighting effects of a shade but still offers the light control of traditional wooden, metal, or plastic blinds. Both types of cloth blinds can be motorized or manually tilted to control the amount of light entering a room.

Most fabric blinds are more delicate than blinds with wood, vinyl, or metal slats. While they are manufactured with dust and moisture-resistant protective coatings, they should still be cleaned regularly. With just a few cleaning supplies and tools, you can clean your fabric blinds with ease.

Tip

The same cleaning guidelines for fabric blinds can also be followed for pleated fabric shades, cell or honeycomb blinds, and roller shades. The material used in cloth blinds is similar to what is used to manufacture most shades.

How Often to Clean Fabric Blinds

Ideally, any type of window blinds should be dusted weekly to prevent dirt from settling on the surface. In reality, that usually doesn't happen. Dust the blinds at least monthly and do a deeper clean at least twice per year. If the blinds are in the kitchen where grease particles can settle on them or the bathroom where hairspray can leave them sticky, do a deeper clean seasonally.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with hose and upholstery brush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Small bowls

Materials

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Baking soda

Instructions

  1. Close the Blinds

    Once you have gathered all of your cleaning supplies and the vacuum, lower horizontal blinds or draw vertical blinds over the window so they are fully extended. Tilt the slat so they are closed exposing the most fabric surface.

  2. Vacuum Away Dust

    Use a vacuum with a hose and upholstery brush attachment to easily dust the blinds. If you don't have an appropriate vacuum, you can also dust the blinds by wiping down each slat with a microfiber cloth.

    For horizontal fabric blinds, hold the bottom with one hand to stabilize the blinds. Starting at the top, run the upholstery brush gently over each slat or section. Do not apply excessive pressure, or you can damage the blinds. When one side is finished, angle the slats in the opposite direction and vacuum again. If the blinds are one solid piece of fabric, hold the blind away from the window and vacuum the reverse side.

    Tip

    While you are vacuuming the blinds, this is an excellent time to pay attention to window sills. Vacuum away cobwebs and insect droppings. If you're ambitious, it's also a good time to wash the inside of the windows.

    To vacuum vertical fabric blinds, hold the bottom of each slat and vacuum down from the top. Vacuuming in a downward motion will help prevent the slats from unhooking from the top. Pay extra attention to the upper hardware that may catch and hold dust. Reverse the slats and vacuum the reverse side.

  3. Inspect for Stains

    After dusting, inspect the blinds for stains from splattered food, sticky hands, or insect droppings.

  4. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Place two cups of lukewarm water in a bowl and add a few drops (no more than 1/4 teaspoon) dishwashing liquid. Agitate the water with your fingers or a spoon to disperse the dishwashing liquid.

  5. Spot Clean Stains

    Dip a microfiber cloth in the cleaning solution and wring until the cloth is no longer dripping. Place one hand behind the area that needs cleaning to help support the blind. This will help prevent damage to the fabric.

    Use the dampened soapy cloth to gently dab the stain. Do not scrub or the fabric can tear or abrade. If there is a particularly difficult-to-remove stain, dip the damp cloth in some dry baking soda and then gently rub the stain. The baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive to help remove the stain.

    Dip a clean microfiber cloth in plain water and wring until just damp to rinse the area. Wiping away the soapy residue will help prevent discoloration.

  6. Air-Dry the Blinds

    Leaving the blinds fully extended, allow them to air-dry. Do not apply direct heat from a hairdryer or heater.

Tips to Keep Fabric Blinds Clean and Lasting Longer

  • Vacuum regularly, at least monthly.
  • Treat stains as quickly as possible.
  • Do not soak fabric blinds in a bathtub of water. This can often cause the fabric to lose its shape or detach from the slats.
  • When washing the inside of windows, consider taking down the fabric blinds and laying them flat to vacuum. This gives you access to areas of the blinds and windows around the hardware that may need vacuuming or cleaning.