Sparkle & Smile

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Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

How to clean window blinds and shutters


Blinds and shutters are the perfect accents for your windows.  To keep them looking as nice as the day they were installed, clean them on a regular basis. The secret is all in the frequency.   A light dusting once a week will keep shutters looking brand new. But skip a few weeks, and the dust will build up and combine with the moisture in the air and make it difficult to remove.

Here’s all the info on how to clean window blinds and shutters, whether they are brand new or not-so-new and kind-of-yucky. Follow these cleaning tips throughout the year, especially if there are asthma or allergy sufferers in your family.

Weekly Blind Cleaning

During your weekly regular cleaning, lightly dust all blinds and shutters.  Adjust blinds to the closed position and use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe them down completely. If the blinds are getting dusted every week, the microfiber cloth will do the trick to keeping them clean without using any cleaning products.

Deeper Cleaning

If your blinds have a buildup of dust and dirt, there are a few things you can do to make the task of cleaning them a bit easier. Start by putting the blinds in the downward position and use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum just to remove any large debris accumulated on the blind. While in the closed position rub a large looped microfiber cloth vigorously over the slats of the blind. Remove as much of the buildup as possible by putting pressure on the slats. Finally, using a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol, spray a light mist on a clean microfiber cloth and work it over the slats. The alcohol will work to cut through the buildup of dirt without turning it to a muddy mess. And the alcohol will dry quickly so it won’t drip down onto the next blind or onto the floor.

Deepest cleaning

Really grimy blinds or shutters will have to come down. If only there were some easy cleaning tips for yucky blinds, but there aren’t. Fill a bath tub full of warm water and add a few drops of your favorite dish soap and two cups of distilled white vinegar to the water.  Let the blinds sit for five to ten minutes in the solution to loosen the buildup.  The natural acid in the vinegar will work to break down the dust and the soap will help to lift it off.  Gently rub a sponge over the slats to remove dirt. A small stiff brush will work to get into tight areas.  Rinse the blinds twice in clean, cool water. Let them drip dry for a few minutes then wipe them dry with a microfiber cloth.

Other types of blinds


Wood Blinds – Wood blinds should not be immersed in water as the moisture will warp them. Avoid using polish or oil on wood blinds as it will attract more dirt to the slats and make them more difficult to clean. Instead of a polish, use a spray bottle of witch hazel to spritz a light mist onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the slats clean.

Vertical blinds – Vertical blinds should be dusted or vacuumed but never submerged in water as the blind will separate from its backing. Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust on either side of vertical blinds on a weekly basis. Once a month use the upholstery brush and work over each of the slats to remove deeper dust and dirt. If your vertical blinds get a buildup that your vacuum can’t handle, call a professional blind cleaner to have them deep cleaned.

Exterior – Outside blinds or shutters can be dusted with a soft brush on an extendable pole. Or, wash with a hose and stiff extendable brush.

A word about the tools used to clean window blinds and shutters

Microfiber large-looped cloth – to wipe over the blinds so it will catch the dust and hold onto it until you put it into the washing machine.

Microfiber dusting wand – to reach the top corners of the blinds that are difficult to reach.

Microfiber dusting glove – to capture and remove dust on the slats and hold onto it until you place the glove in the wash. There are two types. One looks exactly like a driving glove and the other like a mitten. Both work well.

Paint brush – to clean off dust and dirt in hard to reach places on your blinds. They’re inexpensive at the hardware store so purchase different sizes to get into different areas.  Wash with warm water and a drop of dish soap. Air dry before re-using.

Blind cleaner brushes – supposed to be very convenient to dust the individual slats but these tong-like tools, hawked on late night TV, are cumbersome and time-consuming to use. It takes a lot of patience to get the tool lined up with the slats on the blinds.  A microfiber cloth or a microfiber glove to remove the dust is the way to go.

Vacuum attachments – to remove cobwebs and larger debris on blinds. Also cumbersome for dusting and other than the big stuff, microfiber cloths and wands are easier to manage and very effective.

clean-window-blindsNow that you know how to clean window blinds and shutters, you’ll be able to keep them looking great whether closed for privacy or open to let the sun shine in.


If you liked these cleaning tips, check out some others that are super useful this time of year:

How to Clean Summer Stains

How to clean the gas grill

How to clean a clogged drain, the GREEN way


For more information from our DIY green cleaning expert, Leslie Reichert, go to


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