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How to clean blinds & shutters: A comprehensive guide

Tip-top furnishings need their TLC from time to time. From caring for furniture vacuuming window dressings, keeping your home looking fabulous is an ongoing process where cleanliness is next to godliness. 👼

Like all furnishings, blinds collect dirt and dust over time. As months go by, they need a good wash and dust to help keep them in shape and maintain their original splendour.

Household agents can be used for this, but because they’re chemicals, the wrong kind might cause unwanted reactions on your Shades by You designs. To help you navigate the task, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to care for your blinds and shutters the right way.

Read on and add the knowledge to your DIY toolkit!

The art of cleaning roller blinds

How do you deal with roller blinds you ask? There is an art to it. It’s a three-part process – but the details count, so pay attention! 🤓

To get the job done right, you’ll need:

  • A vacuum cleaner with brush attachments (or socks if you can’t find them)

  • A bucket, filled with about five litres of water

  • A sponge

  • A teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to add into the water

  • 2-3 capfuls of rubbing more than that!

  • A towel

  • Gloves to protect your hands

The process

  1. Grab your trusty vacuum cleaner and start drawing out dust and dirt from the fabric, going row by row. Make sure to add a brush attachment to the end of your hoover hose (if you don’t have one, a sock or stocking will do). This stops the fabric from being sucked into the hose.

  2. Next, it’s time to get the dishwashing liquid and rubbing alcohol. Add the detergent into the bucket of water first, and then follow with the alcohol. Make sure to avoid suds – these could end up making your rollers dirtier, or even ruin the fabric. Then, dip your sponge in the mixture and wring it out. You want a slightly damp sponge rather than something that’s soaking wet. Just as you did with the vacuum cleaner, go row by row along the textile, dipping back into the bucket when you need to. You should see a difference in the appearance of the blind with each pass made.

  3. The final step is to towel down the refreshed window dressing and transfer any residual dirt and moisture onto the cloth. Your piece will dry MUCH faster and last longer with this final step!

You can also give the steel mechanisms and chains a (very light) wipe with the sponge. Avoid dripping water near the mechanism, especially if it’s motorised. The only sparks that should be flying are the sparklingly clean reflections of your refreshed roller blinds!

These steps can be done either while the dressing is still mounted over your windows, or taken down and placed on a surface. It’s your choice which way you prefer to wash the blind, just remember to factor the re-install time into your routine.

NOTE: Never plunge roller shades into the water – this could damage the internal roller mechanisms, and ruin all your hard work!

How to tackle shutter maintenance

Shutters are the ultimate investment for your window look. They are permanent fixtures that add value to your home – so you’ll want to keep them in the best possible shape. Here’s how to do that.

The three most common shutter materials are:

A failsafe method for cleaning any of the above is with either:

  • A vacuum with a brush attachment, or

  • A handy feather duster, and

  • A microfibre cloth, with a little cleaning agent or eucalyptus oil on it (optional)

The process

Step 1

Tilt the slats at an angle so that you can get to the back of them. Run the vacuum brush attachment or duster along the slats’ surface, and around the sides, where they join the frame. If you have a centre tilt bar, be careful around this section.

Step 2

Flip and rotate the slats until you’ve taken out all the dust that’s settled on them.

Step 3

If you feel like adding an extra step in, you can run a microfibre cloth along the shutters. It’s a good idea to have cleaned your windows beforehand to avoid transferring particles onto them. If they’ve been dislodged drawing your first run, the microfibre cloth should easily sweep them up.

Optional Step (PVC & aluminium shutters only):

Adding a little cleaning product to the cloth can help pick up residue and leave a fresh scent behind. For this, you can use a little alcohol or even good old eucalyptus oil, and sweep it against the exposed surfaces. Avoid doing this at a time when the sun is likely to strike on your shutters –the addition of cleaning products could cause a reaction with the material and change its colour.

Skip this step on timber. The plantation-grown wooden shutters in our line have been treated, and adding products onto them could stain them.

A few bonus tips to keep things fresh

Part of keeping shades and shutters clean has to do with the environment they’re in. Whether they’re in your bathroom or bedroom, good airflow will blow a breeze through the space, keeping it well aired.

If you happen to live in a humid environment, investing in a dehumidifier might prove to be a good idea. This is especially handy for fabric roller blinds, or timber shades, which don’t like having too much moisture in the air.

It can also be worth your while to put a set of sheers up behind shutters or blinds, creating a barrier between the outside world and your designer window coverings.

Putting these tips into practice pays off, and gives your DIY creations all the love and attention they need. Let us know how you go with the advice we’ve dished out – or better yet, send us a before and after of your Shades by You products. 📸


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