Tips and Tricks for La Maison, Vol. VIII

I am ashamed to admit that I have mini blinds in my home that are downright dirty.  I have tried to clean them with a myriad of different cleansers and none of the methods I have previously tried have been strong enough or efficient enough to bring them from a dull, dirt-speckled mess to white, shining window treatments.

I always secretly pray that my guests won’t look close enough to see the dirt and dust that seems permanently attached to my old plastic blinds.  But no more!

Today I decided to try a variety of cleaning methods and document here which ones work best. 

As a little disclaimer, I am certainly not endorsing products here, these are just methods I have read about or ideas that have been suggested to me.  Since I don’t have wood blinds, I’m not sure if these methods would be safe for cleaning wood.  Consult a local hardware store or home improvement store or a window professional for more information.

Here they are in no particular order:

1.  Brush the blinds clean with a paintbrush.  This method is simply not strong enough to remove the type of grime that I have on my blinds, but I guess it could be used to clean them periodically.  However, I don’t like the idea that the paintbrush is just dispersing the dust that was formerly on the blinds into the surrounding air.

2.  Vacuum the blinds with a vacuum wand attachment or a vacuum brush.  This method sounds pretty good for cleaning blinds periodically, but my only problem with this is that my vacuum wand doesn’t reach the top of the blinds that well and I don’t want to remove the blinds every time they need a cleaning!

3. Clean the blinds in the bathtub with soapy water.  I have to admit that when I heard this method, I was a little shocked that someone would take all that effort to clean window blinds.  Here are the steps:

  • Fill the bathtub with water and soap
  • Remove the blinds from the window
  • Put the blinds in the tub with the slats arranged so that you can clean each side
  • Use a sponge to rub the soapy water on the both sides of each slat, moving down the blinds
  • Rinse the soapy water off of the blinds
  • Lay the blinds flat to dry
  • Re-hang the dried blinds

All that work is really unappealing to me.  I didn’t even try this method because I don’t think it’s practical.  I similarly vetoed taking the blinds outside to use a garden hose to clean them.

4.  Take the blinds to a car wash and use the soap and brushes provided to remove the dirt.  When I heard of this method, I thought: “Really?!?  Who does that?”  I honestly would buy new blinds before I tried this method at all!

5.  Clean the blinds with a vinegar and water mixture.  I was initially skeptical of this method, but the vinegar actually worked well to loosen the stubborn grime on my blinds.  Ultimately, this was my favorite method. 

I mixed a large glass of water with a dash of white vinegar and dipped paper towels into the liquid.  Then, I went over each slat with the vinegar mixture on both sides.  This is a process that needs to be repeated for very messy blinds, but it makes the blinds as close to white as possible, and it doesn’t leave any sticky residue.  I didn’t even notice the vinegar smell that much.

6.  Clean the blinds with rubbing alcohol solution.  This method is similar to the vinegar solution, but with rubbing alcohol and uses old rags, socks, or paper towels to scrub the slats clean.  This method removes the grime, but left my blinds a bit sticky (with dirt bits stuck to the slats) and smelling of alcohol.

If you choose this method, you will probably have to repeat the process at least twice, and then clean the slats with a spray cleaner with a nice smell to remove the stickiness and the alcohol odor.  But that kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

In summation, I guess it will be vinegar and water for me.  Ironically enough, I think it is the most cost-effective solution on the list.  For regular dust removal once the blinds are clean, I’ll probably break out the vacuum cleaner wand.

I hope you found my trial and error helpful.  If you have any successful methods for cleaning mini blinds, please share them in the comments!

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