How to Clean Blinds and Curtains

Updated: Apr. 12, 2024

Don't let your window treatments become a home for dust, dirt and grime. Learn how to properly clean blinds and curtains, and your windows will thank you.

Blinds and curtains can do so much for a room. Not only are they practical, letting the light in during the day then cocooning you in for a good night’s sleep, they also add a decorative element to your windows. Too often, though, we take them for granted—many people don’t even know how to clean blinds.

If you’re still learning how to clean your home properly (and who isn’t), consider making a cleaning schedule for items that might be overlooked. For example, you should know how to clean a down comforter and how to wash sheets, in addition to keeping your window coverings free of dust and grime.

“It’s important to clean blinds and curtains regularly due to the allergens that can accumulate,” says design expert Kimberly Amanda Bryant. “Of course, dirt and dust will take away from their good looks, but they can also cause mold and result in respiratory issues.”

Much like changing your toothbrush, we recommend cleaning blinds regularly. Once every other week is good, or even once per week if you want to get rid of dust. According to Bryant, the easiest way to clean any kind of blinds is with a Swiffer. “If you do this regularly, you’ll rarely have to do any deeper cleaning,” she says.

From Venetian (horizontal slats) to vertical, there are so many types of blinds, but they all have one thing in common: There are way too many slats to consider cleaning them one by one. However, once you start seeing the results, you’ll realize that keeping your blinds clean is easier than you think. Here’s the best way to clean blinds to keep them in tip-top shape.

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Different types of materials for window blinds

  • Aluminum: Lightweight and affordable, aluminum blinds are perfect for areas with lots of humidity, like bathrooms and kitchens, due to their rust-resistant properties. They can also reflect heat, keeping the room cooler.
  • Wood: Gorgeous and long-lasting, wood blinds are one of the most sophisticated types of blinds (and can have a price to match). They’re often found in the Venetian style of overlapping slats and are not recommended for high-humidity rooms—try a faux-wood blind instead for a clean look in your bathroom or kitchen.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is one of the cheapest options for blinds, and the range of customization options makes them very popular. They aren’t the most durable, however, and due to their flexibility, they are quite easy to dent, bend or break.
  • Fabric: Fabric blinds are often found in bedrooms in the form of Roman (solid fabric folds with no slats), roller or tie-up shades, vertical slats or as honeycomb or cellular blinds. Any type of fabric shade tends to be a higher-maintenance product than other types of blinds, as they can collect dust and absorb odors and moisture. Avoid them in kitchens, as that caked-on food and grease you cleaned out of your oven could easily splatter on your blinds.

How to clean blinds without taking them down



  1. Lower and close the blinds. Blinds are much easier to clean when they’re closed, so they form an almost solid surface. Blinds that often overlap, like vinyl and aluminum, should be tilted downward rather than completely closed.
  2. Using a clean microfiber cloth or an old (clean) sock, wipe horizontal slats from side to side, starting at the top slat and working your way down to avoid dust and dirt falling on areas you’ve already cleaned. If you have vertical blinds, wipe each slat from the top down, holding the bottom of it to keep it from moving around.
  3. Pull on the cord, flip the blinds and repeat on the back side. If your blinds are not on a string, hold them gently away from the window while you dust.
  4. Using a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap (just a few drops), dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe off any remaining dirt.

Pro tip: Always wipe vertical blinds in a downward motion, otherwise they can come unhooked.

How to clean aluminum, vinyl and faux-wood blinds

vinyl blindsdeepblue4you/Getty Images



  1. Wet a microfiber cloth with warm water and run it across each individual slat. If your blinds are particularly dirty, you can add a small amount of dish soap to the mix.
  2. For a deeper clean, use the brush attachment of your vacuum and run it along each slat.

Pro tip: Although hardier than real wood blinds, faux-wood blinds can also be scratched and warped by too much water, so never scrub or soak these blinds. Aluminum blinds can bend easily as well, so be gentle when dusting.

How to clean wood blinds

Full Frame Shot Of Orange Blinds At HomeChayapon Bootboonneam/Getty Images



  1. Run the feather duster or Swiffer across each slat, starting at the highest and working downward to avoid getting clean blinds dusty again.
  2. For a deeper clean, use the brush attachment of your vacuum and run it along each slat.
  3. For any stubborn marks, wet a microfiber cloth and gently spot clean.

Pro tip: If your wood blinds need a spot-clean with a damp cloth, be sure to dry them afterward with a clean microfiber cloth, as too much water can warp them.

How to clean fabric blinds

brown roman blind shade curtain tree forest mountain background living roomtarnrit/Getty Images



  1. For fabric blinds, your best bet is to start by running the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner over them.
  2. If that doesn’t get them totally clean, try spot-cleaning any marks or stains with a microfiber cloth dipped in a mixture of dish soap and warm water.

Pro tip: Most fabric blinds don’t take well to soaking, so if they’re really soiled, look into dry cleaning first.

How to clean honeycomb or cellular blinds

Pleated blinds XL close uo on the windowAstibuk/Getty Images



  1. Lower the fabric blinds.
  2. Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean the surface. Sweep it gently across the blinds.
  3. Set your hair dryer to the lowest setting and blow any debris out of the cells. If you prefer, you can spray a can of compressed air through the cells instead.
  4. If there are any stains, blot them gently—don’t scrub!—with a clean microfiber cloth dipped in warm water and dish soap.
  5. Dry the blinds by blotting with another clean cloth to prevent water rings.

Pro tip: These types of blinds can be quite delicate, so take care when doing your weekly cleaning. You especially don’t want to get cellular blinds overly wet.

How to deep-clean blinds

If your blinds have grease or stubborn stains on them, it may be time for deep-cleaning.



  1. Fill the bathtub with warm water, dish soap and a cup of baking soda.
  2. Gently remove the blinds from the window and place them in the bathtub.
  3. Let them soak for an hour.
  4. Rinse with warm water.
  5. Wipe off any excess dirt with a microfiber cloth and re-hang.

Pro tip: If you’re learning how to clean blinds, never scrub your blinds with a harsh sponge or use too much pressure. Vinyl and aluminum blinds can dent or bend, while scrubbing hard can remove the protective sealant from wood blinds. Microfiber cloths are always preferred. Wipe gently, and use a damp cloth for any stuck-on spots.

How to wash blinds

Blinds absorb a lot of sun, which can leave them looking faded. But even dingy, yellowed blinds can come back to life with a few simple steps. If you have white plastic or aluminum blinds, here’s how to wash them and brighten them up.



  1. Fill the bathtub with cold water and 3 cups of liquid bleach.
  2. Gently remove the blinds from the window and place them in the bathtub. Let them soak for 10 minutes maximum.
  3. Wear rubber gloves to then wipe each slat with the water-and-bleach solution, using a clean microfiber cloth.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Use a clean cloth to wipe them dry before hanging back up.

Pro tip: There are many things you should never clean with bleach, and this includes wood or fabric blinds.

How to clean curtains

ironing with garment steamerOlgaChertova/Getty Images



  1. The easiest way to clean curtains is to run the upholstery nozzle of your favorite vacuum cleaner over them. Using the lowest level of suction and short strokes, start at the top of your curtains and work your way down. If your curtains have embellishments like beading, you may want to just wipe them down with a dry microfiber cloth instead.
  2. If your curtains are really dirty or stained, or you’re committing to a full spring cleaning, you can wash them in the laundry. Before getting them wet, though, check the care label for manufacturer recommendations.
  3. If your curtains are machine-washable, use cold water, the best gentle laundry detergent and a delicate cycle.
  4. If you have curtains made of fragile fabrics, such as lace, place them in a mesh laundry bag before machine-washing, or hand-wash them in the bathtub.
  5. To dry curtains, hang them on a clothesline to avoid wrinkling and possible damage from the dryer. If they do look wrinkled, you can give them a quick touch-up with a warm iron or steamer. Again, check the care labels before doing anything.

Pro tip: Curtains are items you’re not vacuuming enough but should be. On average, you should clean your curtains every few weeks, especially if someone in your home suffers from allergies. All that fabric traps dust and pollen from open windows and can make the sneezy season even more difficult to deal with. This advice goes for carpet cleaning, shower curtain cleaning and shower door cleaning too.

How to keep blinds and curtains clean

Now you know how to clean blinds, but what about keeping them clean? The best way to clean blinds is to choose what works best for your cleaning schedule. A weekly or bi-weekly dusting session (and spot-cleaning when necessary) should keep your blinds looking their best. Dust and grime can build up over time and become hard to remove, so a regular wipe of your window blinds will actually save you hours of cleaning in the future. The only problem is that once your blinds are clean, you’ll probably want to know how to clean your windows too.

With long hours of sun exposure and daily mechanical movement, blinds can fade and wear out, but cleaning blinds often and keeping your window coverings working well will help them last for years.

Additional reporting by Lois Alter Mark.