How to best clean mini blinds?
February 15, 2018 1:42 PM   Subscribe

My mini blinds are fairly dirty. It will take more than a mere dusting to get them clean and this may be more than I can accomplish, though I'm willing to try. If you have experience with this task, tell me, shall I do it myself or hire a professional? I have five blinds of average size that need cleaning.
posted by partner to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I usually take them down and throw them in the shower. I have a a detachable shower head, and I just full it down and use the full force on the blinds. Let them dry, put them back up. Its a pain, but not particularly hard. I haven't ever used a cleaning product, but if greasy, I'd probably use a dish washing brush with a bit of soap squired on the bristles.
posted by Ftsqg at 2:00 PM on February 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Same, except I fill up the bathtub with soapy water and let them soak in there for a while first.
posted by exceptinsects at 2:05 PM on February 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

When I hired housecleaners, they took down the blinds and put them in the bath tub, then microwaved vinegar and Blue Dawn and generously sprayed them on the blinds and let them soak for about half an hour while they cleaned other things. They had a good scrub brush and went over them, both sides, rinsed, and then did it again. I had no idea how nasty blinds could be.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:08 PM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Take outside, spray with hose.
posted by booooooze at 2:10 PM on February 15, 2018

Bathtub, just like HeyAllie explained. For just five blinds, you shouldn't hire professional cleaners; it's fairly easy, but murder on your back if you have a lot of blinds like I did. The next year, I replaced all of the blinds in our house with plantation shutters or curtains. Those are so much easier to clean.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2018

Bathtub. I use dishwasher detergent, which is very strong, then spray them.
posted by theora55 at 4:13 PM on February 15, 2018

If really greasy, I'd open the windows and spray a solution of ammonia on them.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:40 PM on February 15, 2018

You could also leave them in place, spray them down well with whatever solution you like*, press them gently into the window with one arm and wipe them off a few blades at a time with a dry cloth in the other hand. Then, you'll have to wash the windows that you've just messed up, but you'd want to do that anyway, right? It feels a bit tedious while you're doing it but it's much easier than taking them down and going full bathtub with them.
*I use 1 part ammonia with 4 or 5 parts water. It takes care of smelly grease, smoke, and grime, and you don't have to rinse because it doesn't suds, which is why I'd stay away from Dawn for this. Professional cleaners tend to avoid bubbles if at all possible - you just end up spending a lot of time wiping up bubbles as well as dirt.
posted by Gnella at 4:56 PM on February 15, 2018

Bathtub. When I quit smoking I used OxyClean on mine, but they belonged to the apt complex so I had no fear of destroying them since they get replaced with every new tenant whether they need it or not.

If you don't feel like hauling them down, something like Mrs. Meyer's vinegar paste is a decent way to stick some degreasing cleanser on a vertical surface for more than 2 seconds.
posted by xyzzy at 5:30 PM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe you can buy new ones for $3.50?
posted by Vatnesine at 6:19 PM on February 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

There are tools designed to get between the slats. Hot water and dish soap would help, too.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:25 PM on February 15, 2018

Whaaaaat, Vatnesine?! I am totally buying new ones rather than washing them every five years.
posted by exceptinsects at 7:11 PM on February 15, 2018

Be careful about buying deep-discount mini blinds. They often have lead added to stabilize the plastic, which degrades to create lead dust that presents a poisoning hazard. You think you've got a dust problem now—that would make it much worse.

For cleaning the existing blinds, bathtub is the way to go. I've never done this myself, but it looks pretty easy. You can also hang them outside and hose them down, which is how many of the professionals do it.
posted by limeonaire at 7:35 PM on February 15, 2018

Bathtub with Mr. Clean. If its summer I take them outside and hose them.
posted by PJMoore at 9:33 AM on February 16, 2018

my blinds are longer than my bathtub, so last time i did a deep clean i took them down and took them to the self serve car wash with the soap wands and the spray wands. works pretty well.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:42 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

FYI, the blinds that Vatnesine linked say that they are child safe and lead-free...the CDC article limeonaire posted is from 1996 and says that
CPSC asked the Window Covering Safety Council, which represents the industry, to immediately change the way it produces vinyl miniblinds by removing the lead added to stabilize the plastic in these blinds. Manufacturers have made the change and new miniblinds without added lead should appear on store shelves beginning around July 1 and should be widely available over the next 90 days.

Stores will sell the new vinyl blinds packaged in cartons indicating that the blinds are made without added lead. The cartons may have labeling such as "new formulation," "nonleaded formula," "no lead added," or "new! non-leaded vinyl formulation."

"This lead poisoning is mainly a hazard for children ages 6 and younger," said Chairman Brown. "Adults and older children generally are not at risk because they are not likely to ingest lead dust from the blinds."
[off to measure all the windows]
posted by exceptinsects at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

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