Did you know that South Africa is one of the sunniest places on the planet? With an average of 8.5 hours of sunshine each and every day, it’s no wonder that many of us opt to place blinds in our windows to help us seek refuge from the sun’s rays.
There is one question every house proud person should consider, however: am I actually any good at cleaning blinds? If the answer is ‘no’, then try our easy-to-follow guide demonstrating how to clean blinds – both vertical and venetian – without damaging the materials, breaking the blinds, or tearing your hair out.
Being able to clean blinds safely depends on using the right products in the right way – so when applying your OMO laundry detergent, SUNLIGHT dishwashing liquid, HANDY ANDY surface cleaner, or another commercial product, make sure to read the product label first.
Cleaning Vertical Blinds
The good news about vertical blinds is that the slats are often covered in a washable fabric that can easily be removed and popped into the washing machine, allowed to dry, and re-hung, leaving you with blinds that are cleaner and fresher than ever before. However, it’s always best to treat blind covers as you would a delicate fabric, to ensure that they don’t suffer any damage during the washing and drying process.
Your washing machine is generally very gentle on clothes, but very delicate materials do run the risk of snagging or tearing if they get caught on the interior of the drum during the wash cycle. To protect the fabric, place the blind covers into a laundry bag before putting them into the washing machine. If you don’t have a laundry bag to hand, an empty pillowcase should do nicely.
Always use a detergent that won’t bleach, discolour, or damage the fabric in any way. If in doubt, use the same laundry detergent that you use for washing your favourite clothes. No matter how dirty the blind covering is, don’t use more detergent than the label recommends, or the stiffened fabric won’t hang properly when reattached to the blinds.
It’s well worth checking the care labels on your fabric blind coverings to see what temperature the manufacturer recommends washing at – this is usually around 40 degrees celsius. If you can’t find the information on your set of blinds, a good rule of thumb is to wash at 20 – 30 degrees just to be completely sure the fabric won’t shrink or distort.
It’s important not to rush the drying process. Putting blind covers into a dryer is usually a very bad idea, as the high temperatures can cause shrinkage, but line drying is actually no better. The fabric will still contain moisture from the wash cycle, which can weigh it down and cause it to stretch slightly. While this isn’t usually an issue for clothing, this can really affect the look of your blinds, which need to be a certain uniform length. The best drying method is to place some clean towels on the floor and lay the fabric flat until completely dry.
How to Clean Venetian Blinds
Cleaning venetian blinds is a little different to cleaning vertical blinds, as they usually lack washable fabric covers. Instead, we need to clean the blinds themselves, and the methods for doing so will vary depending on the type of material your blinds are made from.
Wooden blinds tend to be the most vulnerable type of venetian blind, and the best way to care for them and clean them is to keep things simple. It’s best not to saturate wood with water, so if a blind can be cleaned using a duster or the soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner, then do so. For more stubborn marks that don’t respond to this sort of treatment, a slightly damp cloth should make more of a noticeable difference.
Aluminium blinds are typically very hardwearing, and can withstand a tougher cleaning method than wood. Once again, it’s always best to use a duster or a vacuum cleaner to remove surface dust, and then tackle the more stubborn dirt and stains separately. For metal slats, a good quality surface cleaner like HANDY ANDY will work wonders – follow the instructions on the product label for the best results. Apply to the slats and wipe as you would your kitchen worktops. Just be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure the cleaner you’re using doesn’t damage the metal.
Plastic blinds fall somewhere in between wooden and metal blinds when it comes to durability. They can withstand more than a simple damp cloth, but shouldn’t be cleaned with the stronger brands of cleaning fluid. Instead, fill a deep bowl or bucket with some warm water and add a dishwashing soap like SUNLIGHT. Mix well, dip your cloth into the bucket, and wipe down the plastic slats until they’re clean and sparkling. Use a separate cloth to dry to ensure that no soapy residue remains.
Cleaning both vertical and venetian blinds is actually much simpler than you may think; so if you’re keen to protect yourself from the never-ending sunshine in South Africa, then don’t be afraid to pick up a set. Blinds can actually be very low maintenance features if you treat them right – and they add a definite wow-factor to your home.