Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How To Clean Blinds Easily. Faux Wood Blinds 2" Blinds Mini Blinds

You know I can never start a post without a lead in story...It's just who I am.  If you want to jump right in and clean your blinds easily without breaking your back, look for my EUREKA MOMENT below with pictures... For all others...
Here it goes...

All my life I watched my mother clean windows and blinds, launder the drapes and iron the curtains before they went back up on the window...Every spring and fall season of every year. My mother was a work horse no doubt. A cleaning genius that never stopped. With 5 kids, as a stay home mom, she worked harder than anyone I knew with a regular 9 to 5. She is the only woman I know who can take apart an Electrolux and put the entire thing back together again and have it working better than when it left the factory. Needless to say I learned a lot from her but I'll never be as good in those departments. However, have something wrong with your vacuum? Send it over! Dust your blinds though... ugh, do I have to? I think I hear my mother calling me! Ok, honestly I'll do it periodically, but I'd rather wash them! Besides those blind cleaning tools don't really get in between the strings and I find they just push the dust around a lot... At least for me. But then again, I can't say I'm using it correctly as I don't want to do it at all! I'm like one of those limpy kids who doesn't want to leave the playground.

I once did a stint in one of the big box stores, I worked in the wallpaper and blinds department. I could spend hours just looking through the wallpaper books... I wanted nothing to do with the blinds. But I would have to take day trips to the Levelor seminars where they would teach you how to represent their products. They would feed me chocolate...A great incentive for me boost their sales... Yes it worked. 

While sitting in one of these seminars, among a lot of other big box store employees from different towns, they asked the question on how to clean their 2" faux wood blinds. Immediately my hand went high in the air because I've been doing this all my life! And when called on, since I was the only one with my hand up,  I blurt out, "I just wash them in the tub!" A huge smile ran across my face. I was so proud....So young... Sooooo naïve.

The horror showing up on her face told me different. As her face scrunched up into those little bitty lines, she screamed  "No, NEVER do that!" so loud, I swear she made the windows rattle. And I asked "Why? Thats what I was taught, so does my grandmother".  She snapped right back saying "because you can rust out the hardware in the headers." Ok, in my mind I'm thinking "maybe if you leave them in the tub like FOREVER". But honestly, I have never had that problem and you have to remember I started out washing blinds when the 2" metal blinds were still being used way back in the 70s, She followed it up with "Tell your customers to HIRE a blind cleaning service" for their products, so I just shut up and never said another word. I felt so embarrassed, thinking she better give me more chocolate, and I'm still going to wash my dang blinds in the tub lady because my grandmother is the smartest woman in the world and she taught my mother who taught me! So there.

See I'm not the only one!
Blinds in the tub care of Katherines Corner

Anyway, I do have a "sort of" history with a blinds manufacturer though. Kirsch, the drapery hardware company started in a town I grew up in. (Newell-Rubbermaid now owns Levelor and Kirsch) Their factory was just down the block from my house and on the weekends, my best friend and I used to ride our bikes in the empty parking lot pretending our bikes were horses... That is, until the fateful day I thought I could jump the make shift ramp like the boys, you know, because I can do anything and my friend Sam did it, so there!. LOL...Want to know what happened? ...I ended up with my face planted firmly in the asphalt! Yes, that's the exact spot it happened. Just ask Sam. Oh, and my "horse" was baby blue with a white banana seat! She was beautiful!

Ok, so back to the blinds. I still wash my blinds in the tub. I pull them up before taking them down, almost all the way up to the header, leaving the last 4 or 5 blinds open. Then I take them down, put about 4 inches of water in the tub and use an old cloth to wipe them clean, front and backs. Then I prop them up on end against the tub with a heavy duty towel under them to catch the run off. When they're done dripping, I hang them back up with a towel on the sill and open them all the way up and turn them to an angle towards me so any drips will come inward instead of towards the window. Wal-la! Done. And quickly too. I leave the towels in place for a bit until I'm sure they're no longer dripping. But pretty much, the faux wood dries much faster than the plastic mini blinds. Mini blinds stick together and just need a little bit more maneuvering to get them separated. But once you drop them down and open them up, it's rather easy.

As I get older. I have found that bending over in the tub irritates my back by the 4th or 5th blind. So when I had to wash them again, I was desperate for another way to do this task. I had been thinking about how Newell-Rubbermaid had acquired Kirsch and Levelor (something that always goes through my mind when I'm cleaning blinds and of course the infamous bike incident, lol) For some reason, I remembered the under the bed storage container I had just cleaned out and was laying empty in the garage. My blinds would fit in it perfectly! That light bulb went off and I've never looked back since!

I put the plastic bin on my countertop, filled it with the sink sprayer and my back never hurts. Ever.

Do I use soap? I could, but I don't. I've just not found a reason too. The water washes away the dust and I'm done. I don't have to rinse the soap water off and I don't have to worry about soap residue that I left by accident. I guess if they were so overly nasty I would. But I do this so often that I just don't feel the need for soap. (Hey Chickie, my blinds have yet to "rust" out.).  I have been known to put vinegar into the water at times though. Does that count? lol

I bought one of these fiber gloves from the Dollar Tree you see on my hand in the pictures.
Below is the one with the handle. Also sold at Dollar Tree. I had just bought this one, but I used the one that's a glove for these pictures and it works really well. Micro fiber duster
Either one works amazingly to swipe the blinds back and four on both sides barely ever missing a spot, especially between the strings. Actually makes this job go much faster for me. And I even wash the header and inside it as well.

I start from the top and do two blades at a time, both back and front, flipping them as I do, then move on to the next two blades down until complete. That's it! The blinds do slide back and forth a bit. but if you've got the rhythm, you might as well sing and dance while you're working!

Boy that water gets dirty. But remember that I have all tile floors downstairs and two big dogs that think digging in the yard is a beautiful thing....Then they track that stuff in! Err.


I keep a corner of the bin over the sink. This is important because it helps me as I do have to pour the water out periodically to refill it and having that corner off the edge helps me make sure I don't end up with a nice big spill down my cabinets. At one time I did fill it up too much, you don't need a lot of water maybe just a few inches, but when I did I just used a small bucket to siphon some out before I could lift it on end to drain and refill.

When each blind is finished, I prop it up against the stove with a huge towel under it. When I'm done with the next one in the container, before I take it out, I go and hang the one that was drying. That way it gives the one by the stove enough time to drip dry. I still use old towels on the sills when I hang them though, I just don't want to ruin my wood sills.
I realize that when and if I ever do get an RV, (Yes that pipe dream is still alive), that this would work pretty well outside to clean those blinds instead of having to drag them into the house. Using less water than to do them with the hose. To me that's a win-win! I can store items in the bin when camping and then use it to wash the blinds when needed... Outside by the camp fire, while singing camping songs and roasting marshmallows....Ok maybe not. But when the spring cleaning comes around, this will be what I'm using. 
So that's it, story and all! I hope this helps with anyone who wants to wash their blind and spare their backs. It's been a lifesaver for me and I'm able to do this chore much more efficiently as well since I no longer have to drag each blind up to the master bath now. I do however move the bin up to the master bath and do all of the blinds up there the same way.

Now if only I can find an easier way to clean my base boards! When I find it, I'll let you know!
Soon I'll be heading over to my mothers to surprise her with cleaning her blinds so she won't have to. I wonder just how long she'll be able to sit there and watch me before insisting that she has to do it herself. LOL

KIRSCH  HISTORY: Charles W. Kirsch founded the Kirsch Company in Sturgis, Michigan in 1907.
The factory building, on one side of the street has been shortened since I was a young child and the elevated walk way that was enclosed with windows, running between the two buildings is now gone.
Now it sits empty and sad. A full testament to the end of the mom and pop small towns of yesteryear.
It did have a future and was going to be revived into the Kirsch Lofts
But it never happened and sits abandoned to this day.
In 1939, Kirsch Drapery Rods were used exclusively in "Gone With The Wind".
Kirsch rods are used to create the magnificent federal window treatments seen in "Gone With the Wind." Kirsch merchandised this fact with special dealer promotion at the time of the movie's first release.
Now this guy's got it going on over at FrenchKnots.blogspot.com
But I don't think my dearest is going to lend me his ladders AND do all the work too. LOL

 PS.... I still have the chin scar from that Kirsch parking lot!
And Yes, I still say "warsh" for all those who are reading this that know me well!


  1. That's so smart! Thanks!

  2. This has been some great advice. I hated cleaning the blinds when I was a kid. It seemed to take forever and not really get clean. Thankfully it was a chore my mom had us do only once and awhile. Now I know that I have to do it, but before this blog it seemed like a lot of work for very little reward.

  3. I have JC Penney faux wood blinds and I am afraid if I get them that wet the "wood" will disintegrate. It looks like a cross between wood and vinyl but....
    Do I have reason for concern?

    1. Dear Ella, I wouldn't worry, you'll end up washing them so fast they'll be out of the water in no time. but if you are truly concerned, take the top slat that comes in the header and test it in the water, I would recommend never leaving your blinds in the water for a long period of time It takes me less than ten minutes to clean a blind normally 73" long and about 36 wide.

      Most faux wood blinds are made of a vinyl plastic, made to look like wood. But probably don't have any wood in them at all If you can check where you purchased them, just see if they have wood in their mix, if so and you want to wash them, just don't leave them in very long and be sure they drip dry and no water is left to sit on them,

  4. If you post only to advertise your blind company... Plan on having it deleted. .

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Do you use hot, lukewarm or cold water? Thanks for this great idea!