My hard-surface blind cleaning method is quick and effective, getting into every nook and cranny of aluminum, wood and plastic slats. However, fabric blinds and shades require a different approach. Whether yours are made of natural or synthetic fibers, delicacy is key! Here, I outline how to maintain, spot clean and deep clean them.


Dust attracts dirt, which leads to discoloration, so regular dusting is a must. Once a month shut each blind or shade fully and gingerly go over the entire surface in an S-pattern using a vacuum set to low suction and fitted with a brush attachment. Give extra attention to folds or pleat lines, which tend to collect more dirt. And don’t forget the backsides of the shades or blinds—they’re not impervious to dust.

Spot Cleaning

As with any stain, you want to act fast if there’s a spill, splash or splatter on the fabric. To avoid weakening the fibers or damaging the color, stick to a mild stain removing solution, such as a bit of dish soap diluted in tepid water. Remember to always test in an inconspicuous area first. Blot the affected area with a sponge dampened in the solution, repeat as needed, and then blot again with a sponge dampened in clean tepid water until the cleaning solution and stain are gone. Allow to air dry (as heat can set a stain).

Deep Cleaning

If you’ve let your blinds or shades accumulate dirt or if spot-cleaning just isn’t getting the job done, it’s time to give your blinds or shades a bath. Carefully remove them, unstring them if need be, and vacuum them well. Then, fill your (clean!) bathtub with warm soapy water and place them inside. Let sit for a while, then gently clean with a sponge. Rinse very well and lay flat to dry in a well-ventilated area for a day or two. This method works well on roller shades but can prove pretty time consuming and labor intensive on more elaborate styles, such as those with accordions or pleats. For those, you may choose to call in a pro. You know me—if it’s too much work, I find a simpler solution.

Do you have any tips or tricks for making light work of caring for fabric blinds or shades? I’d love to hear them!   

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