Cleaning Tips

How Do You Clean Your Blinds?

It’s Time To Clean The Window Treatments!

Blinds and shutters are dust and grime collectors that are often neglected or skipped over because they are a daunting task to clean. This article will outline the simple steps involved in cleaning and maintaining these window coverings not only reducing the dust in your home but also prolonging their life. The first thing you need to understand is that there are many different types of blinds/shutters. These window coverings can be made of fabric, plastic, or wood. Some may hang horizontally, while others vertically. There are three main types that we ‘residential cleaners’ deal with when cleaning homes, They are the standard 2 inches horizontal blinds, 2-3 inch California or Plantation Shutters, and 1-inch micro blinds.

Let’s Start with the Two Inch Horizontal Blinds

With all blinds, it is important to dust them prior to washing. A ‘swiffer’ or feather duster will be great for this part. Reach high to tackle the window casing, then quickly dust each slat individually. Open the shutters or lift the blinds and do the windowsill as well.

Next, fill a bucket with warm/hot (without scalding yourself) water and a squirt of your favourite all-purpose environmentally friendly cleaning product. A little dish soap will work as well. Dunk your microfiber cloth into your bucket and squeeze it out. Your other hand will hold a dry cloth. This will allow you to handle and dry the blinds as you go. If you hold a wet blind with a bare hand, you might notice dirt marks left behind. Starting at the top, hold the blind still with the dry cloth, while pinching the slat with the damp cloth. Wipe the damp cloth over each individual blind moving from right to left, up to down. After a few slats, you will need to rinse your cloth and squeeze it out before starting up again.

Depending on how dirty the blinds are, you will also need to change your water on a regular basis. Keep washing and drying until you have reached the bottom. The difficult area tends to be where the strings are fed through the blinds. Be careful to wash all around them. Next, lift the blinds and wash the windowsills as well. Lower the blinds and double-check for any debris left behind.

Now We Will Clean California or Plantation Shutters

These are becoming increasingly popular and are extremely easy to clean. Follow the same steps as you would when cleaning regular 2-inch blinds by dusting them first. With shutters, it is easier to wash them from the inside. Open the shutters, wash down the window frame and sill. Then starting at the top (from the inside), hold the shutter still with the dry cloth and wash each individual shutter. Be careful not to ‘hit’ the movement mechanisms too hard. Direct sunlight might make them brittle causing them to come apart or break. Once each panel is washed, close them, and wash the entire outside casing. This area will be dirty as it is generally where hands go for opening. Use your dry cloth to give them the once over.

Not My Favourite – Micro Blinds

These mini blinds are generally 1 inch or smaller. They can be made of plastic or metal and unfortunately, can be a nightmare! Sometimes, it is best to take them down and wash them in the bathtub. Wiping each individual slat can be a tedious, time-consuming task that is why we leave them for the homeowner to clean. When you have micro blinds you can turn them closed, dust one side well with a Swiffer type duster, turn them the other way, and dust the other side. Finally, open them and wash the windowsill.

Seen Less Often Are Vertical Blinds 

We don’t often see this type of window treatment as they are becoming dated decor. When we do, they are generally hanging in front of a sliding glass door. They can be easily washed by placing a damp cloth on one side and a second damp cloth on the other side. Moving slowly, pull the cloths down the length of each blind all the way to the bottom. Follow up with a dry cloth if needed.

Finally Custom Made Fabric Blinds

If you have fabric blinds, it is always best to clean them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Vacuuming with the upholstery attachment will also help decrease the amount of dust that has accumulated over time.

With all blinds and shutters, once they are washed and looking brand new, they only need dusting to maintain them.


What Lurks in Your Backyard?


Did you know that out of the 80,000 chemicals sold, only 7 percent have been fully tested for safety! Some of these chemicals are found in the products we use every day to maintain our yards and gardens. Here are five places in your yard that may be toxic:

Green Weed-Free Lawn

“Ingredients in popular pesticides have been linked to cancer, hormonal changes, and liver or kidney toxicity. Now research points to another surprising peril: mental health hazards.”

This is scary information. The spray that your neighbours are using can waft over to your yard as well. Imagine the people working for companies that spray weeds every day. I have often seen them not wearing proper ventilation face masks.

Mosquito-Free Backyard

“Community-wide sprays to destroy mosquitoes help alleviate public fears of bug-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis. But are the sprays themselves dangerous? They contain hormone disrupters and possibly carcinogenic chemicals, though studies documented harmful effects only in higher doses than municipal mosquito spray trucks deliver.”

Thank goodness we do not have spray trucks in Durham Region. They do this often in the Caribbean. I remember seeing them in Cuba and The Dominican Republic. On a recent vacation in the Cayman Islands, a plane flew overhead spraying the town. I could not believe this was happening at 4:30 pm.

Burning Waste

“Some may view burning trash in their backyard as an efficient way to dispose of it—some countries can even produce heat and electricity by doing so—but the truth is, burning waste in your backyard (especially when much of our trash is plastics) releases dangerous chemicals that can harm you, those who live with you, and your community.”

Years ago, I lived in Rural Port Perry, where my neighbour would burn their household waste and recycling! Imagine the smell of burning plastic!

Swimming Pools

“When it comes to swimming, parents with young children put drowning at the top of their list of concerns. But many people do not realize the problems that pool chemicals can cause. Everyday Health reports that nearly 5,000 people were sent to the emergency room after being poisoned by pool chemicals in 2012. These chemicals can be even more harmful in hot tubs, which open your pores and let toxins directly enter your body. Follow the CDC guidelines for handling pool chemicals.”

I grew up around pools spending most of my youth as a lifeguard/swimming instructor. In the 80’s, I never thought about the chemicals my body was absorbing.

Black Driveways

“The sticky black coal tar sealants that give driveways their well-manicured look may contain carcinogenic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAH concentrations in these sealants are hundreds of times higher than those in other major sources, such as exhaust smoke.”

Guilty…I do love the look of a shiny black driveway. I used to have my driveway sealed all the time. I will not be doing that again!

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