Selecting window treatments often involves a compromise, leaning either toward the elegance of draperies or the utilitarian attributes of blinds, which grant you customized light control. But with fabric blinds you can get the best of both worlds: functional convenience and versatility with luxury and softness. The material of fabric blinds are more texturally and visually appealing than the vinyl or metal typically used for traditional blinds.
The only potential concern lies in keeping fabric (or cloth) blinds looking nice as new as time goes on, without the tedium of taking them down and the expense of dry-cleaning them. Fortunately, maintaining cloth blinds isn’t difficult if you pick a durable, easy-care fabric. Then, simply banish dust and dirt with a few basic techniques as part of your regular housecleaning routine, and spot-clean soils or stains, if necessary, to enjoy beautiful blinds for years to come.
The Best Material for Fabric Blinds
Like drapes and curtains, fabric blinds may be constructed from natural materials, including linen, cotton, wool, and silk, but these fibers present a real cleaning challenging. Once wet or even damp, they can wrinkle, warp, and shrink. So fabric blinds made of these materials are best left for dry cleaners to handle.
That’s why so many commercially available fabric blinds are made of polyester. Interestingly, most window treatment retailers don’t disclose the content of their fabric blinds (though some may mention that the material is patented). If the products are described as durable, flexible, wrinkle-resistant, and easy to clean, chances are they’re some version of the ever-popular synthetic textile. In addition to the qualities described above, polyester fabric blinds come in various forms (vertical and horizontal, room-darkening, UV-blocking, etc.) as well as a huge spectrum of colors, patterns, and weights to suit virtually any décor scheme.
Despite these attributes, fabric blinds are not ideal choices for grease- and moisture-prone zones like busy kitchens and bathrooms, since they’re not as easy to clean as non-porous materials and may even absorb odors. If you already own fabric blinds or are considering purchasing them, read on to learn how to keep them looking fresh.
The Best Way to Clean Fabric Blinds
There are two types of slats that are used to create fabric blinds. They may be constructed completely of a woven material, for ultimate softness and (if desired) sheerness, or made of cloth-covered plastic, resulting in an opaque look and less flexible feel. The approach to cleaning is the same, regardless of type or whether they are horizontal or vertical. And the best part is that this guide will show you how to clean fabric blinds without removing them. Another thing to note: It’s not recommended to submerge fabric blinds in water to clean them; that could potentially cause them to warp or discolor. Instead follow these maintenance tips to keep them fresh.
How to Vacuum Fabric Blinds
Dust and other dirt can easily settle onto the surface of fabric blinds so to keep them looking in good condition, vacuum blinds in regularly (as part of a weekly cleaning routine, or at least once a month).
- First, clean the windowsill and inner window frame to prevent dirt from these areas from transferring onto blinds.
- Fully extend the blinds (i.e. blinds are closed with minimal overlapping of slats). Using your vacuum’s hose and upholstery attachment, start vacuuming at a top corner and work your way down and across, gently vacuuming each slat.
- When finished, if possible, close the blinds in the opposite direction and repeat to clean the other side.
How to Remove Stains from Fabric Blinds
It’s always a good idea to vacuum first before attempting to remove a stain. If you notice dirty spots that vacuuming couldn’t budge, you would’ve eliminated particles of dust which could create more of a stain once they encounter water. From there, follow these steps.
- Make sure the blinds are fully extended (i.e. blinds are closed with minimal overlapping of slats).
- Completely dissolve a drop or two of dishwashing soap into a bowl of warm water. Don’t overdo it with the soap—more than a quarter teaspoon can result in a sticky residue or discolored fabric.
- Dip a microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution and wring well. Then, with one hand holding the back of the slat, lightly dab the stain with the cloth in your other hand. Use gentle pressure and avoid scrubbing, which could damage the fabric.
- If the stain is stubborn, add a small amount of baking soda to a slightly moistened cloth and apply the baking soda to the spot. Let sit for a few minutes, then gently dab away the powder with the cloth. Because baking soda is a mild abrasive, be cautious when rubbing as it can damage the fabric.
- Rinse the cleaned area with a fresh cloth moistened slightly with in plain water. Press gently to remove any remaining soap or baking soda.
- Leaving the blinds fully extended, let them air dry. Feel free to turn on a fan nearby to help speed the process, but do not use heat from a hair dryer or other device.
Once fabric blinds are refreshed, you may notice a cleaner vibe throughout the room. So don’t neglect this chore. During housecleaning, it’s natural to focus on horizontal surfaces like tabletops, counters, and of course floors, but walls and windows need TLC, too.