by Jack Oldham
Vertical blinds are a popular option for window treatments and are particularly useful for covering larger windows, French doors and patio doors. They effectively control light and temperature and are available in vinyl, fabric, wood and aluminium.
A major advantage of these blinds is ease of cleaning. Since the louvres hang vertically, dust does not collect on them as readily as it does on horizontal blinds. They may be spot cleaned, dusted or vacuumed, depending on material.
Routine cleaning of vertical blinds will prevent them from becoming heavily soiled. The blinds should be cleaned gently to prevent damage to mechanisms, and it is often simpler to clean the blinds while they are hanging rather than removing the slats.
A vacuum attachment works well for initial cleaning. The special blind-cleaning attachment resembles a large fork, and it fits all vacuum hoses.
The attachment should be positioned between two slats and moved down their length, since slats might become unhooked if the attachment is moved upward. Used on a regular basis, this attachment works well to keep blinds clean.
The blinds may then be dusted, preferably with a lamb’s wool duster, which lifts dust rather than simply stirring it around. Application of an enzyme spray or dusting detergent spray will help loosen the dust.
Areas requiring spot cleaning may be dabbed with an all-purpose cleaner applied to a dry, clean cloth. Cleaner should never be sprayed directly onto a slat. The spot can then be rinsed with a cloth moistened with clean water.
Heavily soiled fabric blinds may be washed, though dry cleaning by a professional is generally recommended.
If the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions permit washing, the blinds may be cleaned in a bathtub of cold water with detergent designed for fine washables. Caution must be used to prevent creases and bends in stiff fabric blinds, and blinds should be hung to dry.
Wooden blinds may be cleaned with furniture polish, while vinyl and aluminium blinds stand up well to washing with a blind-cleaning tool.
Professional vertical blind-cleaning tools are found at stores selling janitorial supplies. Before using the cleaning tool, towels should be placed under the blinds to protect the floor.
Two pails of water will be needed, one filled with warm water to which a small amount of soap has been added and another with cool water for rinsing.
The cleaning tool should be saturated with the warm, soapy water and the sides of the tool applied on each side of the slat. The tool must then be pressed shut and run from the top to the bottom of the slat.
The sponges of the cleaning tool should be rinsed in the cool water and the process repeated. Soapy water and rinse water will require occasional changing as it becomes dirty. The blinds may be dried with a towel to prevent drip marks or allowed to air dry.
The homeowner who has questions about the safety of cleaning techniques should contact the manufacturer or blind dealership, who will supply additional cleaning advice.
Since vertical blinds are an attractive and functional option for many homeowners, it is worth the effort to maintain and protect this investment.
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