How to Clean Vinyl Blinds: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Cleaning vinyl blinds is simple and easy, as long as you know the right techniques.

In this quick guide, I’ll explain, step-by-step, the three most effective methods for cleaning vinyl blinds.

You’ll learn:

  • How to clean your blinds without taking them down
  • How to deep clean your blinds in the bathtub or outside
  • And tips for cleaning and maintaining your blinds regularly

By the end, you’ll have all the information necessary to restore your blinds’ original beauty.

Let’s get started!


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How to Clean Vinyl Blinds: Quick Summary

In this guide, I go into detail about the tools and materials you need, and steps you should take to clean your vinyl blinds properly.

But if you only have a minute, here’s what you need to know about the three methods.

Method 1: How to Clean Vinyl Blinds Without Taking Them Down

It’s easy to clean vinyl blinds without taking them down. First, vacuum the slats with a soft brush attachment. Then, wipe them with a microfiber cloth or blind brush. Finally, rub a dryer sheet across each slat to absorb leftover dust and dirt particles.

For blinds that need deeper cleaning, prepare the area by clearing furniture and covering the window sills with paper towels. Gently wipe the blinds with a sponge dipped in a mix of warm water and mild dish soap. Rinse with a sponge dipped in plain water and dry thoroughly.

Method 2: How to Clean Vinyl Blinds in the Bathtub

For filthy blinds, the best approach is to take them down and clean them in the bathtub. First, fill the tub with warm water and add a few drops of mild dish soap. Then, submerge the blinds and, while they’re soaking, wipe each slat with a non-abrasive sponge. After an hour, rinse the blinds and dry thoroughly.

Method 3: How to Clean Blinds Outside

If your bathtub is too small, clean your blinds outside. First, lay down a washable rug. Then, mix warm water and mild soap in a bucket. Dip a soft-cloth brush in the mixture and scrub the blinds. Rinse them with a garden hose and hang them to dry.

As you can see, the methods for cleaning vinyl blinds are straightforward and easy. However, there are details to know before you get started to maximize your efforts and avoid damaging your blinds. To get the full scoop, keep reading.

Method 1: How to Clean Vinyl Blinds Without Taking Them Down

If you can’t remove your blinds easily or are prohibited because you’re renting, don’t stress.

There are two simple ways to clean vinyl blinds without taking them down: the dry method and the wet method. The right approach depends on the condition of your blinds.

Cleaning vinyl blinds without taking them down
Cleaning vinyl blinds without taking them down

The dry method requires minimal prep work, but it’s only effective for cleaning blinds with loose dust and dirt.

The wet method requires a bit more prep work and effort, but it’s the best approach for tackling grime, grease, dirt, and yellow stains.

The good news is that, for both methods, you likely have all of the tools and materials you need to get the job done.

Tools and Materials

Below are common tools and materials that will help you clean your vinyl blinds without removing them from the window frame. Note: You won’t need all of these items.

  • Vacuum cleaner with a hose and soft brush attachment
  • Duster (static, lambswool, microfiber, or your favorite type)
  • Blind brush (like these on Amazon)
  • Microfiber, lint-free cleaning cloths
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Dryer sheets
  • Paintbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Plant-based cleanser (like Castile soap)
  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle or bucket
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Fabric drop cloths or towels

Instructions: Dry Method

  1. Close your blinds, so the slats are facing you.
  2. Use a soft brush attachment on a hosed vacuum cleaner or a small vacuum device suitable for electronics, such as a keyboard cleaner, to suction dust and cobwebs from the slats.
  3. Open your blinds so that the slats are flat, and you can see out the window.
  4. Use the duster of your choice, blind brush, or microfiber cloth to gently remove any missed dust or dirt, going between each slat carefully. For intricate, hard-to-reach places, go over the area with a clean natural or synthetic-bristle paintbrush.
  5. Finally, wipe across the slats with a clean dryer sheet. Dryer sheets have a natural dust-absorbing quality, which is perfect for cleaning between blind slats.

If you’re feeling crafty, you can make a DIY blind duster by wrapping a small microfiber cloth around both sides of the tongs and securing it with elastic bands. Take it a step further by wrapping dryer sheets around the microfiber cloths.

Instructions: Wet Method

If you have a combination of dust and grime, such as grease or food splatters, I recommend using both the dry and wet cleaning methods.

Start with the dry method, then follow these steps:

  1. Move nearby furniture or cover it with plastic sheeting. You can also use painter tape and plastic sheeting to seal off the wall on all sides of the window or door.
  2. To catch drips, place paper towels under your blinds on the window sill if you have recessed windows or on the floor for doors.
  3. Close the blinds.
  4. Using the vinyl-safe cleaning solution of your choice (such as mild dish soap, or Castile soap), mix a bucket of warm water and a few drops of the soap. Alternatively, you can use a hand sprayer on a mist setting and add warm water and soap to the sprayer.
  5. Soak the sponge in the soapy water and ring out the excess water (or lightly mist the cleaning solution into the blinds).
  6. Starting from the top of the blinds, wipe across each blind, one by one, scrubbing only when necessary.
  7. Open the blinds, and carefully inspect each slat, wiping down any spots that were hidden when blinds were closed. For intricate areas, use a toothbrush with a little cleaning solution.
  8. Use plain warm water to wipe up any soapy residue.
  9. Wipe blinds dry using a clean, dry microfiber cloth and leave the vinyl blinds open for complete drying.

Tips

  • Be gentle while cleaning as some vinyl blinds are delicate and can rip or tear. If that happens, simply use a vinyl blind repair kit or a clear adhesive tape such as Gorilla Repair.
  • Don’t skip the step of preparing your area, especially if you’re using the wet method. Prepping will help you avoid additional spills or messes that could damage surrounding furniture or surfaces.
  • In the case of heavily soiled blinds, you may need a stronger cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles in combination with a sponge, such as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Just make sure the cleanser is safe on vinyl. You may want to test a small area, first, preferably on the part of your blinds that isn’t visible.
  • When using liquid during cleaning, don’t oversaturate the sponge or blinds.
  • Choose a mild soap as your grease cutter, and remember that a little goes a long way. Using too much soap increases the chances of leaving behind a residue that can attract future dirt.
  • For heavy stains, mix one tablespoon of baking soda and enough white vinegar to make a paste. Use a toothbrush to apply the mixture gently and scrub the stains.
  • Be careful with cleaning products that also contain bleach, as it could alter the color of your blinds—and it could spill on your furniture and ruin that too.

Method 2: How to Clean Vinyl Blinds in the Bathtub

In this section, I show you how to clean vinyl blinds in the bathtub. For extremely dirty blinds, this is the most effective method since it involves submerging them in soap and water for an hour.

Cleaning vinyl blinds in the bathtub
Cleaning vinyl blinds in the bathtub

Although this method requires you to take the blinds down, you don’t have to worry about prepping the area, and you won’t need to put as much effort into cleaning.

Tools and Materials

  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Plant-based cleanser (like Castile soap)
  • Toothbrush
  • Duster or microfiber cloth
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water

Of course, you’ll need a bathtub or a plastic bin that’s long and wide enough. A bathtub is ideal because you can drain all of the dirty water once you’re finished cleaning.

Before attempting this method, please read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it’s safe to submerge your blinds in water.

Some blinds have metal parts that could rust, and others (such as smart blinds) have automated technology that could get damaged.

Instructions

  1. Close your blinds and gently dust them with a duster or microfiber cloth to remove excess dust and dirt.
  2. Open your blinds and then raise them to the top to avoid damage while you remove them.
  3. Fill your bathtub with warm water and add a few drops of mild dish detergent. You can also add a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of white vinegar.
  4. Extend your blinds, close the slats, and submerge them in the warm water. Let them soak for at least an hour.
  5. With a non-abrasive sponge, gently wipe the blinds while submerged, careful to concentrate on any stubborn spots.
  6. Drain the tub and use a shower wand to rinse the blinds or a handheld sprayer filled with clean, warm water.
  7. Lift the blinds and allow excess water to drip into the tub.
  8. Reattach blinds and allow them to drip dry with absorbent towels underneath. Or, hang them outside, in your garage, or lay them flat to dry before reattaching.
  9. Carefully wipe the wet blinds with a dry, clean microfiber cloth to attract excess water.

If you still have stubborn stains or spots after this process, try spot treatments with a paste made of one tablespoon of baking soda and a splash of white vinegar. Work the paste into the stain with a toothbrush.

Tips

  • If you cannot fully extend your blinds to lay flat in the tub, spread them as far as possible. You can also open the blinds up and soak in sections, while the previously soaked portion is draped over the side of the tub.
  • Avoid using hot water as it could warp or distort the shape of vinyl blinds.
  • If you use a product like Scrubbing Bubbles, spray the solution, wipe it off, and rinse it in the tub before submerging the blinds for a secondary cleaning session.

Method 3: How to Clean Vinyl Blinds Outside

In this section, I explain the steps you should take to clean vinyl blinds outside.

Cleaning vinyl blinds outside
Cleaning vinyl blinds outside

Cleaning outside is the ideal method for blinds that are easy to remove, longer or wider than your bathtub, and are relatively sturdy.

With this method, you’ll use a garden hose, so it’s not the best way to clean delicate vinyl blinds.

Tools and Materials

To get started you will need:

  • Garden hose with an adjustable water pressure nozzle
  • Bucket
  • Washable rug or beach towel
  • Long-handled, soft-cloth brush (similar to ones suitable for washing cars)
  • Plant-based cleanser (like Castile soap)
  • Extra absorbent towels
  • Toothbrush
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water

You’ll need a spacious area to perform this cleaning task, such as a driveway or patio.

Instructions

  1. Lay the rug or beach towel down on your driveway or patio.
  2. Fully extend the blinds, adjust them to close the slats, and lay them across the rug/towel.
  3. Fill a gallon bucket with warm water, adding a few drops of mild detergent.
  4. Dip the brush in the soapy water and gently clean the blinds, from side to side until you scrub the entire set of blinds.
  5. Using a low setting on the garden hose nozzle, rinse the blinds to remove all soapy residue.
  6. Hold up blinds and allow excess water to drain.
  7. Open blinds and use an absorbent towel to wipe between each slat.
  8. Close blinds and wipe again with a towel and then drape them over a fence or large table to allow complete drying.
  9. Reattach blinds and inspect for missed areas or stubborn stains.

Tips

  • For stubborn stains, combine one tablespoon of baking soda and a little white vinegar to make a paste. Gently scrub the stained area with a toothbrush dipped into the paste. Then, rinse with clean water and wipe clean with a dry cloth.
  • It’s good to use a washable rug or beach towel because it protects your blinds from the stone or concrete, which could scratch or damage the vinyl.
  • When choosing where to work, pick an area where water will runoff and drain properly.
  • Don’t use toxic cleansers outside as runoff may go down drains that lead to your local body of water. Choose plant-based cleansers instead.
  • Don’t use a high water pressure setting on your hose nozzle as it could damage delicate vinyl blinds.
  • When rinsing your blinds with a hose, give yourself some distance to lessen the water’s power against the blind slats.
  • If draping your closed blinds outside or in a garage, place a clean, dry rug or drop cloth underneath to protect the blinds from rubbing against hard surfaces.

Tips for Routine Cleaning and Maintenance

If you regularly clean your blinds, you’ll prevent dust and dirt from building up, and you won’t need to perform a deep cleaning as often.

Below are some tips to keep you on track:

Create a regular cleaning schedule: I highly recommend weekly dustings, monthly cleanings, and quarterly in-depth cleaning sessions. Schedule a pop-up reminder on your phone or place my printable house cleaning checklist in your laundry area as a reminder.

Keep cleaning tools and solutions on hand: Stock up on your common cleaning materials so you’ll always be ready to tend to your vinyl blinds. Save some of those dryer sheets since they attract dust so well.

Dry thoroughly: After cleaning with liquids, dry the blinds completely. Even small amounts of moisture can lead to water stains. Don’t use a hairdryer to dry your blinds because the excessive heat could warp the slats.

Avoid harsh chemicals: Avoid products with bleach or harsh chemicals that may alter the appearance of your blinds.

Take it easy:  Be gentle when cleaning blinds to avoid damage.

Replace when necessary: Over time, even with careful cleaning and maintenance, blinds may break or lose their luster. Less expensive blinds may need replacing more frequently than higher-quality ones.

Pick appropriate materials, textures, and colors: When replacing blinds or choosing blinds for a new home, look for a brand that uses stain and moisture-resistant materials. In a high grease area, such as near a stove, pick a material that is easy to clean without intricate patterns (like faux wood) on the slats. Finally, select a blind color that is more forgiving in terms of how much dirt it shows. White blinds are beautiful, but take a tremendous amount of work to maintain their brilliance.

Now that you know three easy methods for cleaning your vinyl blinds, it’s time to get to work!

If you know of any other tips and tricks for cleaning vinyl blinds, let us know in the comments below.

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