Cleaning wooden blinds - Everything you need to know
Your blinds are exposed daily to strong UV rays from the sun as well as dust, grease, pollen and bacteria. Getting your wooden blinds looking and feeling brand new again couldn't be easier. Here are some hints, hacks and tips to achieving sparkle clean Venetians.
How to clean wooden blinds.
For real or faux wooden Venetian Blinds you should start by removing the dust. The best way to do this is to open the slats and run a clean soft cloth (try microfibre) or feather duster along each slat individually.
Now that you’ve removed the dust on your wooden blinds it’s important to determine whether you have a real wood blind or a faux wooden (plastic/pvc) blind, as the two cleaning methods are different. Find out the difference between the two types of venetian blind in this article if you’re unsure of the type of blind you have.
How to Clean Real Wood Blinds
Real wooden blinds don’t like any form of moisture. This is because any excess moisture is absorbed by the dry basswood. Excess moisture can cause real wooden blinds to swell or warp - which you don’t want. If your blinds need more than just a dust you should use a very slightly moist (not wet) cloth. Your cloth should be moist enough to remove grime or dirt, but should not leave any standing water or excess moisture on the surface of the blind. You should take particular care of the ends of the real wooden blinds, as usually these are exposed basswood and absorb water really quickly. Remember not to rub the slats too hard or aggressively as this could ruin the paint or wood stain used.
Top Tip - If you find any standing moisture or residue on the blind, quickly wipe dry with either a dry soft cloth, a tissue or kitchen roll.
How to Clean Faux Wood Blinds
The great news is Faux Wood Venetian Blinds are made of plastic. That means they’re not susceptible to water damage. Once you’ve removed the dust from your blind with a soft cloth or a duster you can start to remove any stubborn dirt, grime or errant ketchup, in some cases!
First, get a bowl of lukewarm water (NOT hot) with a small amount of dish detergent or washing up liquid, just make sure it’s not abrasive or acidic in any way. Now, dip your cloth or duster in the bowl of water and give it a quick ring out to remove excess water.
Wipe each slat individually removing any grime or dirt. Once your blind is sparkling clean again you should blot it dry with either a dry soft cloth or kitchen roll.
What is the fastest way to clean wooden blinds?
The quickest and easiest way is to move the slats on the blind to the closed, downward position. Now, run a soft cloth or duster over the face of each slat. Your blind should be dust-free and sparkling in under a minute.
Can you clean wooden blinds with vinegar?
Yes, vinegar rocks! Not only is it great for cleaning, but it also acts as a pretty handy disinfectant. This is particularly useful in kitchens and bathrooms, where germs are more present.
First, mix 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar in a bowl. Then, grab your cloth and give it a dip in your newly formulated anti-bacterial solution. Wipe each slat on your Venetian blind individually, then remove any excess moisture with a soft, dry cloth.
Can I steam clean wooden blinds?
Steam cleaning wooden or faux wooden blinds is not advisable. Although it could be achieved successfully there are a number of associated risks. It is recommended that you first try cleaning your venetian blinds with a soft cloth as outlined above in this article.
If you’re concerned about bacteria, then we would recommend using vinegar or detergent when cleaning your wooden blinds.
The risks associated with steam cleaning wooden blinds are;
Faux wooden blinds are made from PVC, which is a type of plastic. This means when heat is applied, the plastic becomes more malleable. As a result, steam cleaning could result in warping of the slats or other distortion of the blinds.
For both Real Wooden blinds and Faux Wooden Blinds the heat from a steam cleaner, if applied to a single area for too long could distort the paint or lacquer used, and as a result can distort the colour and finish of the blind slat.
Steam cleaners work by heating water to a high heat and expelling steam. When the steam cools it will condensate on the slat of the blind, which on real wooden blinds could result in warping or swelling of the slats. This is especially risky if the ends or tips of the slats are exposed to too much moisture. Remember - real wooden blinds don’t like moisture.
If you really feel the need to steam clean your wooden venetian blinds, make sure you move quickly across the blinds as to not expose a single area to too much heat or too much moisture.
How to clean greasy wooden blinds?
Wooden blinds get greasy, especially if they’re located in the kitchen. Airborne oils from frying and cooking accumulates on the slats. Simply use a soft cloth (microfibre is great) and warm, soapy water. Wipe each slat individually, then blot dry.
Why is warm water better? Well, grease is essentially a build of up fat. The fats that would accumulate on your blind in the kitchen will usually have a melting point of between 30˚C and 50˚C, think oils or animal fats. So, if your water is warm enough, the grease turns back into a liquid and becomes easy to wipe away.
Adding a dash of soap or washing up liquid into your warm water makes removing grease from your blind even easier. Most washing up liquids contain a degreasing agent (think about the grease in those frying pans you sometimes have to wash!). The degreasing agent simply binds the fat molecules to the water, resulting in a quick and easy clean.
Can I deep clean my wooden blinds in the bathtub?
If your blinds are made from real wood, then you can not clean your blinds in the bathtub.They’d swell, distort and be ruining in no time. However, if you have Faux Wood (PVC/Plastic) blinds, then the answer is a resounding, YES!
If you faux wood blinds are covered in grease, muck or the kids ketchup from dinner then it may make sense to pop them in the bathtub for a proper soak. Just follow these simple steps;
Step 1 - Remove your blind from the brackets. Checkout our guide here on removing wooden blinds quickly and safely.
Step 2 - Run the bath ensuring the water isn’t too hot (if you wouldn't get in the bath yourself, then it’s too hot!). Too much heat can cause the PVC slats to warp out of shape.
Step 3 (optional) - Add a small amount of washing up liquid for extra degreasing power - 100 - 200ml should suffice.
Step 4 - Wait! Leave your blinds to soak for between 30 and 90 minutes.
Step 5 - With your blind still in the bathtub, wipe each individual slat using a soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. Make sure you’ve removed all of the grease, dirt and grime.
Step 6 - To dry the blind, lay a towel flat on the ground and place the blind on top. To speed up the process you can towel dry each slat.
Once fully dry, hand the blind back in place...and admire.
Top Tip: If you’re in a hurry to re-install your blind after washing it in the bathtub, simply use a hairdryer on its COOL setting. The fast flowing air will have your clean blind dry in no time!
My Wooden Blinds have turned yellow, how do I make them white again?
It is possible to save your white wooden blinds if they’re turning yellow, however, it depends on the reason. The first step is to identify why white wooden blinds have started to turn yellow.
The first reason for the yellowing of your wooden blinds could be a buildup of grease or an accumulation of dirt. If this is the case, then you’re in luck. Simply follow the instructions above to clean and degrease your real and faux wooden blinds.
The second reason for yellowing could be as a result of UV damage. This usually takes a long time to occur, if it ever does occur, however it can be very difficult to rectify, and sometimes impossible. As with any product exposed to the sun for a long period of time, the protective coating can wear thin or diminish over time. Newer wooden blinds have very strong UV protective coatings to avoid future yellowing.
If you have identified yellowing as a result of UV damage, then there is one last thing you can try. It’s called a bleach bath! It’s important to remember, this method can only be used for faux wooden or plastic venetian blinds. There is also risk of further damage. This really is the final, do or die method and you should try more gentle methods, first.
Important: Wear gloves to avoid skin irritation.
Run a cool bath
Add 2 to 3 cups of bleach.
Remove your blind from the window.
Place blind in the bath for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from the bath and dry with a soft cloth.
Rehang your blind (hopefully it’s white again!)
Hopefully the bleach bath worked. If not you may need to consider replacing your blinds.
How to clean decorative tapes or strings on a wooden blind?
This is more challenging than cleaning the slats, as fabrics are much better at absorbing dust, grime, grease and bacteria. The best way to clean the decorative tapes or strings is to spot clean them.
Step 1 - Open the slats on the blind.
Step 2 - Place two fingers between the slats pressing against the fabric.
Step 3 - using your other hand, gently rub or blot the fabric or string with either a fabric cleaning wipes that won’t leave a stain. An alternative to fabric cleaning wipes is using distilled water and a plain white cloth.
Step 4 - Blot the fabric dry with a plain white cloth, preferably microfibre.
Top Tip - be sure to test on a less visible area first.
Other Common Questions about cleaning your wooden blinds include;
What is the best way to clean wooden blinds without taking them down?
The quickest and easiest way to clean your blinds without taking them down is with a soft microfibre cloth or feather duster. Removing your blinds can be a pain, and most of the time simply removing the build up of dust can be sufficient.
How to keep wooden blinds clean.
A regular fortnightly dust and wipe with a soft cloth is sufficient for keeping your blinds looking as good as new. Keeping on top of dusting and wiping removes dust and grease layers before they have time to develop into long term issues that result in more substantial cleaning regimes.
What is the best thing to clean wooden blinds with?
You don’t need any special tools to clean wooden blinds. We recommend the following;
Multiple Microfibre Cloths, ones that will get wet and others to dry.
A non acidic, gentle washing up liquid (check the label).
White Vinegar as an alternative to the washing up liquid.
Lukewarm, clean water.