Cleaning the dreaded Mini-Blinds

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

We have 15 windows in our house, many of them 6 feet high, all of them with mini-blinds. We live in New Mexico and the dust here is fine and gritty and tends to stick on the slats. Does anyone know of a special vacuum attachment or gadget that will help with this? The upholstery attachment to my vacuum doesn't do the job very well and I don't have the time or patience to dust these hundreds of skinny slats by hand. At some point we will have to have them professionally cleaned but the cost estimate was several hundred dollars which is not in my budget right now.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I don't have blinds now, but did in my last house. I took them down one at a time and laid it out on the driveway. With a bucket of sudsy water and an old broom I washed the slats from side to side, then turned the unit over and washed from the other side. Then I used the garden hose to rinse, and hung by coat hangers from the garage door frame to dry. Because of drying time I needed two days to get all eleven done, but I also got the glass throroughly clean while waiting. I did this about once a year and didn't need to call in a service.

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)


Same here but I'd just get a soapy bucket of water and a rag and wash them at the window, then windex the windows..... This is the reason I switched to room darkening vinyl shades. NO DUST! =)

Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

Hi June, I am sorting out the same problem with New Mexico dust. It's everywhere. Mine will no longer "dust" off, it's too firmly stuck. So far I've been washing the blinds in the bathtub, one at a time, in warm water with a bit of detergent. Let the detergent water out, fill again and swish them around to rinse. I blotted them on the floor with towels and hung them back up in the window to finish drying. Dark colored vinyl blinds are the worst; any water spots I didn't towel off left spots; light colors are easier.

I wish I did know of a neat way to keep the dust from accumulating. Well, I do know someone who says she dusts each slat on each blind by hand, once a month. I say life is too short for that! I'd rather wait till things get desperate, then dunk 'em.

Denver, CO

I live on a major street and the dust and dirt comes through the windows so bad it piles up on the sills. One trick I learned, was I spray antistatic stuff on them and it seems to help. The dust doesn't "stick" to the blinds as badly.

Take a swiffer sheet, like you use on regular swiffer, andwrap it around a ruler or yard stick and tape it so it stays put. Run this between the blinds.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Oldmudhouse, it's so nice to meet another New Mexican here. With current drought conditions and high winds, the dust seems worse than ever this year in Albuquerque.

Our blinds don't just slide out of the holders, they have to be unscrewed, and my husband isn't at all enthusiastic about taking down 15 blinds and rehanging them. I have a Eureka steam cleaner and am going to give it a try today on the dirtiest blind which is in the den. Lining the window sill with newspaper will catch the excess water and I can clean the glass at the same time. Wish me luck!

Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

Good luck! We have only been living here about 6 months. I knew the dust was bad (I have family in New Mexico too) but this is really amazing. We have big sliding doors on our house and they stay open a lot...and a big dog that is basically a four-legged dirt transportation device. So I might as well just learn to live with some of this stuff. Good thing I'm not a clean freak, I'd go insane. I thought the anti-static spray above was an interesting idea, may try that. Ditto with the swiffer long as I don't let a year go by in between cleanings (note to self.)

I have found that anti-static dusting spray for electronic items is helpful on our TV sets and monitors. I never had TV sets so covered with dust in my life.

What a pain you have to unscrew the blinds. I don't blame your would be great if you could find a less painful way, since this is something you'll be doing occasionally. Hope the steam cleaner works for you, let us know!

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

I've read you can rub fabric softener sheets on things to keep dust from sticking.

Albany, NY(Zone 5b)

My mother in law came up with this, and it works so well! She hangs her mini-blinds out on her low clothes line. Then she spays them all with Lysol Basin, Tub, and Tile cleaner, on both sides. She lets them sit for about an hour, and then just hoses them off with the garden hose! No scrubing, no nothing! They come out beautiful everytime!

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

I do what Yuska does except I use the back lawn and I also have done what Kmoran02's mil but I only wait about 2-3 min before hosing off. It is an annual project in the summer on a nice warm day. Using the clothesline is the best way but have to have someone help me secure the long ones to the line. I have 2" wooden blinds in living/dining room and that is a project at least 2x year with rags that are just shy of being thoroughly dry.

Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

Hey, that sounds like a good idea! I'm going to try Kmoran02's idea on the rest of my dusty blinds. "No scrubbing, no nothing" sounds more like my style. Thanks!

Dothan, AL(Zone 8a)

Hi, The way I clean my mini's is to take them down, roll them up put them in the bath tub. I pisk them up and slush them a few times. This works very good if only dusty. If they are dirter, you'll have to wash them by had. I use most any type cleaner, or just dishwashing soap will do.
After washing, drain water and let them sit and dry a little while. Then hang them up.
They will be a little wet, at this point but ok.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

My efforts with the Eureka steam cleaner on our family room mini-blind were unsuccessful. The steam didn't loosen the grime at all and just made a drippy mess. I ended up cleaning slat by slat with a terry cloth rag and a Mr. Clean solution, then sprayed on some anti-static spray. That's the only room where my husband is allowed to smoke, so he gets to clean that mini-blind next time!

The other blinds in our house were just very dusty. My Swiffer mop with one of the deep ridged pads did a good job of dusting and let me reach up high without a step stool. That gritty New Mexico dust never stops so I'll just have to Swiffer them regularly. Since our 15 blinds don't slip out but have to be unscrewed, this is about the best I can manage.

When I win the lottery the first thing I'm going to do is get those windows I see on tv, with shades built right into them and a remote control for raising and lowering them!

Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

June, sorry that steam cleaner didn't work, and thanks for posting about it. The dusting never ends, does it? There is just a limit to how much time I want to devote to dealing with it, though. I think I've accepted living with a dusty house as long as I'm in NM.

We will be replacing the windows in our house soon. I priced those lovely windows with the blinds between the panes. I would definately need to win the lottery to do those everywhere. Yikes, not in my future at this time! The good news is, when we replace the windows, I'll be forced to take down the mini-bliinds, so they'll get the bath they've been needing. Finally!

Crossville, TN

I wash mine in the bath tub...I spray them with something like Fantastic or Clorox Clean-up. then swish them around (checking to see if any dirt lingers on the slats...empty the dirty water...refill the tub with rinse water. After rinsing I lean the shades up against the back tile in the tub and let them drain a bit...then hang them back in the window to dry....which doesn't take long in AZ and NM!



Las Cruces, NM(Zone 8a)

Jo, we are all in agreement on that!

Homosassa, FL(Zone 9a)

i used to have the same problem,but i found something great
i bought it of off qvc.
cleanup is so much easier
its called (supercloth the europhean cleaning secret) you just dampen it and wipe ,no cleaning products to use,,and clean car windows beautifully,heres the email you can email the companty

[email protected]

heres the web site

McGregor, IA(Zone 4b)

I had the same problem with mini-blinds until I found the perfect answer - throw them away and replace with simple curtains that can go in the washer as necessary. Why do we do these things to ourselves?

Windham, NY(Zone 4b)

i was a chambermaid when i was a teenager. we would close the blinds, put a sock on our hand , spray with endust and wipe. worked great. about 3 minutes per blind, once a week or so. they were fine. and those blinds had to be 20 years old.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Starfly, their web site shows that they are sold out of Supercloth! I'll keep checking.

I wish it were possible to throw the mini-blinds away but here in New Mexico they are needed to block out the blazing sun and also for privacy since our bedroom and living room face the street.

I finally took two of those Swiffer deep ridges cloths, the ones with a waffle texture, stapled them together to make a "glove", and they are working pretty well for dusting the blinds. At least they actually hold the dust, not just scatter it.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

For the mini blinds with the dark slats that show water spots................ I wonder if using a little dishwasher soap like Cascade etc. in the bath water would reduce the water spots ?

Montgomery, AL

This is a little embarrassing, but I own a cleaning business and I have 2 apt. complexes I clean right now. Each complex has mini blinds, but most of these blinds I have to clean are really dirty, and I am not allowed to take them down and soak them in the bathtub, Does anyone have anyideas as to how to clean them without hand washing each one individually? I sure could use the help! I normslly use a fabric softner sheet to wipe them down with if they are just duty.Thanks!

This message was edited May 17, 2007 2:26 PM

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

I tried everything without much success. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does work and doesn't make a mess or leave water spots. You still have to wipe them with the Eraser slat by slat, and the Erasers are fairly expensive.


Montgomery, AL

Thanks you so very much for your help! I am sure the Eraser is easier than a cloth and a bucket of soapy of soapy water! Thanks so much once again! Have a great and Blessed day!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

You're so welcome. I forgot to mention that I cut the Erasers in half. It's easier to work on the slats with a smaller square and there's less waste.


Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

Gosh! I don't notice mine being that dusty. I use my vac and swipe over my blinds a few each week so that I get them all every 3 or 4 weeks. Maybe I have less dust also because my home is mainly tile and I use air cleaners because of my allergies? I would love those new windows with the blinds inside though.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Here in New Mexico we get a fine adobe-like dust that clings firmly to everything. We too use air cleaners and the filters are filthy in just a few days. I'm with you on wanting those windows with the blinds inside. They even have a remote control!


Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

June, I am in New Mexico too. I have lived here all but 8 years of my life so maybe I am just used to it? But I think it is more that the new windows have really made a difference. There is a gadget you put on the vac to help clean the blinds, but I haven't broken down and bought it as yet. I would like to take my blinds down and have curtains like one poster mentioned. But I have cats that would rub against the curtains and then they would need washing even more often than the blinds need dusting I think? After reading this I counted my windows and I have 21 if you count the 2 french doors. Ugh! somehow counting them makes it seem like a bigger job! LOL!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Years ago when I made decent money, I renovated a house and put in Pella windows with the blinds inside. What a blessing!

Parkersburg, WV(Zone 6b)

Man, I think I tried every method of cleaning mini-blinds out there. They were all a PITA. So I don't clean mine anymore. When they get dirty, I throw them out and get new ones. Fortunately, all my windows are a standard size and the new blinds are only about $4-5 a window at Wal-Mart. I'm happy to pay that to get out of cleaning them!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

That's my new philosophy here in this old house, too!

Parkersburg, WV(Zone 6b)

Yep. Recycle the old blinds to make plant markers!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Of course, what I now need to do is wash the pollen off the screens so I can have some windows open.

Parkersburg, WV(Zone 6b)

Oh yes, nothing like allergy season. My poor DH was sneezing his head off all weekend. Grass pollen really bothers him.

Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

June, now that I have slept on it--I remember why my blinds don't seem to be dusty! I bought aluminum blinds at Lowe's for all my windows 7 years ago when we moved into this new home. I have cats and need sturdy aluminum ones they can't bend. They said on the package "Dust-repelling feature minimizes dust up to 50%" !! Now I realize that must be why I can vac them off so easily. Now that you got me to thinking on how my old blinds were hard to clean I realize the dust repelling stuff is working! I know you may not have wanted to hear to replace, but go for it. They do seem to work.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Cactuspatch -- Thanks for the tip on those Lowe's aluminum blinds. We had Hunter-Douglas blinds custom made when we moved here six years ago because all 15 windows are non-standard size. The blinds are fairly flimsy and bend easily so "enthusiastic" vacuuming isn't an option. I've bent a few slats just hand dusting the things.

The house is 29 years old and although we don't feel any drafts, every window sill quickly shows a layer of powdery tan dust that sifts in. That's what sticks to the blinds. DH has recaulked but frankly I think all the windows and screens need replacement and that's not in the budget.

It's nice to meet another New Mexico resident in DG.


Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

Yes I think the newer windows are better and can't figure out what they have done differently. I lived in a new home in Roswell for 5 years before moving here and got more dust there than I do here. So I surmised that the newer windows must have something to do with it. While Roswell is flatter and on the plains they do get more wind, but also it is more humid over there-not the "real desert" like this side of the mt.

Nice to meet you too. ; ) Do you post on the garden forums? I just subscribed and am loving the SW and cactus forums. See you around!

Greensboro, AL

I think Starfly has the simplest answer. 1 spray bottle filled with plain hot water. 1 microfiber cleaning cloth from the automotive department.

a stepladder to get you to the top of the blind.

spritz the dry cloth with a mist from the bottle and wipe from left to right, and from top to bottom. You can rinse the cloth in warm water if it gets too filthy.

Add to your list of cleaning routines. Once a week, or once a month, depending on level of dust.

You can clean glass windows and mirrors the same way: with just a microfiber cloth and plain water. You want the cloth just barely damp or it will streak. You can keep another dry microfiber cloth to come behind the damp one if you think you need to dry the surface. This will leave a steak free polished surface, with no residue to attract more dust.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

cactuspatch - I follow the daily Parking Lot forum and the SW garden forum.

gloria125 -- Well, live and learn! I just tried that microfiber cloth method on my kitchen window and it worked. I went on to do the chrome faucet, the chrome trim on the dishwasher and ovens, and it worked there too. I used a slightly damp cloth and followed up with a dry one. It's chemical-free and will save money on cleaning products. I tend to be the Windex Queen. Thanks so much.

Most of our 15 windows are so oversized that you can only reach across half or a third of the width of the blinds without moving the ladder, plus the living room and master bedroom blinds are 8 ft. high. Way too unwieldly to take down and wash in a tub, and we have no outdoor area suitable for hosing them down. I'll just keep dusting the blinds with the Swiffer extended handle duster and before the holidays will pay someone to clean them with the microfiber cloth method. I have a business and also do hospice work, and DH works fulltime so we don't mind occasionally farming out some maintenance chores to keep our weekends free.


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