How to Clean Blinds, Shades, and Curtains

Learn the tricks and tips of the window experts for keeping your blinds and shades looking their best.

Cleaning your window treatments periodically can help ensure you get years of enjoyment out of them. It doesn’t have to be difficult, nor time consuming. For regular maintenance on most window coverings dry dusting is quick and efficient. The main goal is to avoid dust settling such that it cakes on and becomes more difficult to wipe off. Dusting every few weeks is sufficient in most homes, if you find your blinds or shades are collecting dust more quickly you can dust more often. If there’s not much dust gathering between cleanings, you can dust less frequently. Read on for some more specific tips on how to clean window blinds, window shades, and curtains/drapes.

A hand is dusting a faux wood blind with a hand-held duster.


Cleaning wood blinds: It is best to use a non-abrasive duster, such as a microfiber or feather duster, to gently clean while protecting the finish on your wood blinds. You may also use a soft, lint-free cloth.

Step 1: Start with you blinds in the down and closed position and dust the fronts of the slats, side-to-side and top-to-bottom. You are now cleaning one large surface instead of many individual slats one at a time. Don’t worry about the slats overlapping. We’ll take care of that below.

Step 2: Gently pull the blinds forward, just enough to allow you to reach behind the slats. Once you have clear access to the back of the blinds, gently dust side-to-side and top-to-bottom. For very tall blinds, you may want a partner to help manage the weight and size of the blinds. For wide blinds, you may want to clean the left then the right.

Step 3: Louver the blinds closed in the opposite direction as step 1 (if you had louvered up, now louver down and repeat steps 1 and 2. This helps remove the dust that was between the slats on the first passes.

Step 4: Gently dust the valance, taking care not to apply too much pressure because your valance is held in place by clips and pressing too hard may cause the clips to come free.

What if dusting my blinds isn’t enough?

For a deeper clean, start with a soft cloth or sponge, dampened slightly with clean water, and gently wipe the affected areas. This works by having just enough water to loosen the dust/soil, while avoiding soaking the slats with water. Just a little bit of water can do wonders for caked on dust or many sticky areas. If you need a little deeper clean after trying a wet, damp cloth, you may choose to use a gentle cleaner. Check the label to make sure it’s safe for wood and/or faux wood (PVC) and try a small area first. Potential downsides to cleaners include cost and the potential to leave residue behind or scents behind. Some “lemon” cleaners can even leave a yellow tinge over time. If your test spot works well, continue cleaning the blinds following the instructions provided on the label.

Une main tenant une éponge et essuyant des marques de crayon de couleur vive sur un store en bois.

Should I soak my blinds in water to clean them?

Less-is-more when cleaning slated blinds, whether real wood blinds, faux wood blinds, aluminum blinds, or vinyl/pvc blinds. Spot cleaning is always recommended, and we never suggest submerging your blinds in water.

How do I clean my faux wood blinds?

All of the instructions above on how to clean wooden blinds and what products to use can be applied to faux wood blinds as well. With real wood blinds you may want to use a product specifically for real wood and this is not necessary for faux wood blinds as they are not as susceptible to drying out in arid climates.


Window shades come in many different materials, and most are quite delicate: think bamboo shades, fabric roller shades, and sheer shades. In contrast some are very durable, like our indestructible solar shades or vinyl roller shades, and require a less delicate touch.

Should I dust my fabric window shades?

As with natural wood and faux wood blinds, we recommend dusting often to prevent dust from settling in a thick layer over time. Shades are often completely vertical and collect much less dust than the horizontal surfaces, making them easier to clean. However, many have nooks that can collect dust and are harder to clean than a flat, exposed, horizontal slat.

Cleaning window shades doesn’t require a multi-step process like that of cleaning blinds and can be as easy as lightly vacuuming with a brush attachment on a low setting with a brush using light setting. The vacuum attachment with a brush is a suitable method to remove dust from roller shades, roman shades, and even woven wood shades. Make sure that you start with a clean brush. If you aren’t sure if your brush is clean be sure to wash it with mild dish soap and allow it to dry thoroughly before ever touching it to your shades, this goes for fabric, vinyl, woven wood, and especially sheer shades.

How do I clean INSIDE my shades?

Window blinds and shades with interior chambers, like our Serenity sheer shades or cellular shades, can be more challenging to dust. We recommend using a blow dryer on a cool setting to blow dust particles out of the cells or chambers of window shades such as these.

A hair dryer points towards the side of cellular shades to blow out the dust.

Once again, we recommend a less-is-more approach to cleaning shades, just as we do with blinds. Avoid harsh cleaners and liquid of any sort is a last resort. Window shades can be kept pristine for years if you avoid touching the fabric. There is very little reason to touch the flat main fabric in the middle of the shade. Raise and lower the shades with bottom bar in the case of cordless shades and use the cord or chain for corded shades and the remote for automated shades. Of course, accidents do happen, and little ones will touch everything, so the last resort in cleaning fabric shades is to spot clean with a mild soap. More durable shades like our woven PVC solar shades or vinyl roller shades can be scrubbed with a brush and a cleaning solution made of mild soap should you feel the need.

How to Clean Curtains and Drapes

Curtains or drapes require a different approach to cleaning than other window treatments. The care for these is often much easier since they are not fixed to you walls the way blinds and shades are and because many can even be washed in your home washing machine. Beware, however, not all fabrics can go in the washing machine and most should not go in the dryer. Luckily every curtain panel that you purchase from Blinds To Go will give you the specific care instructions for each fabric.

Can I vacuum my drapes or curtains?

Yes, light, regular vacuuming with a clean brush attachment is the best way to keep your curtains or draperies free from dust. Use a low setting whenever possible.

A vacuum attachment with bristles being used to clean drapes.

Should I steam or iron my drapes or curtains?

Drapery and Curtains can be lightly steamed, but loosely woven materials will be more prone to stretching than other materials if you pull on them during the steaming. We recommend ironing your curtains and drapes on the lowest effective setting while they are still damp.

Can I wash drapes or curtains with a lining?

It is common for draperies that are lined to require dry cleaning as different materials will shrink or stretch ever so slightly in the wash, and this will not be obvious in an unlined panel but in a lined panel it may become very obvious if only the lining or the outer self material shrinks or stretches just a bit. Since the lining is sewn into the self fabric on the top and sides if one changes and the other doesn’t you may see warping or puckering in the panels. Follow the care instructions on each panel and you shouldn’t have any trouble. Care labels on drapes and curtains from Blinds To Go are located at the top near the rod pocket.

A drapery care label

It is amazing what a little bit of TLC can do to bring your blinds, shades, and curtains back to a near new state. We recommend regular light dusting, to keep dust and dirt from getting out of hand in the first place. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, and as with many things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is not uncommon for customers to come into our showroom because they just want to update the look of their home, even though the window treatments that they have are still in great condition. With proper care your window treatments should last many years. Should your window treatments need an update, or not make it through your child’s toddler years – because there are some things that you can’t just clean – come into a Blinds To Go showroom and we can help you choose beautiful new window treatments that fit any criteria, whether ease of maintenance, room darkening or any other concerns you may have, call us at +1 (800) 254-6377.

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