How to clean vertical blinds

Learning how to clean vertical blinds might not be top of your list of exciting things to do, but if you go about it the wrong way and have to explain to your other half why he/she can now see the neighbours while they’re getting ready for bed, it might come a close second.

To clean vertical blinds, you just need to find out what fabric they’re made of, and then follow the right approach accordingly, using a vacuum cleaner and some basic cleaning supplies you’ll almost certainly already have. Nothing complicated or costly!

Read on to find out how to clean vertical blinds without damaging them.

Wait, vertical blinds need cleaning?

Yes and no; I mean, nothing technically “needs” cleaning and nothing bad will happen if you don’t learn how to clean vertical blinds as part of your adulting education.

Vertical blinds are actually one of the best blinds to pick if you’re not a fan of cleaning, as their louvres (that’s the slats, BTW) hang vertically (GEDDAWAY) and so don’t pick up and hold onto as much dust as other types of blinds.

That said, vertical blinds are apt to pick up the odd mark or stain now and again even if you have no idea how this happened and neither does your toddler, no sir, absolutely not, it was not me, I am innocent.

If your blinds simply get a bit dusty, well, I won’t insult you by explaining how to clean vertical blinds with a duster or hoover attachment; and if you notice the odd spot or dirty mark on them, you can often just wipe this off with a damp cloth without the need to take them down.

But if your blinds are starting to look generally grubby or dingy to the point that you’re wondering how to clean them thoroughly without ruining them or spending hours about it, read on and I’ll walk you through the basic steps involved in cleaning vertical blinds.

Can vertical blinds be washed?

If your vertical blind louvres are made of PVC or vinyl, such as those frequently used in the bathroom or kitchen, they’ll be fine to immerse in water, with care. However, some vertical blind fabrics are coated in a water-based stiffening product, and so soaking them might dissolve this, leaving you with a pile of louvres that have developed the consistency of Super Noodles and that are about as fit for use as blinds as Super Noodles are too.

If you’re not sure what your vertical blinds are made of, check the manufacturer’s description or care instructions. When you’re good to go, carry on, beginning with taking your blind’s louvres down and cleaning the headrail.

Step 1: How to clean a vertical blind’s headrail

  1. Dust or vacuum the louvres in situ before you begin.
  2. Unclip the bottom chain from each louvre.
  3. Slide the weights out of the bottom of each louvre.
  4. Unhook the louvres and lie them down neatly on a flat surface so they don’t get tangled up.
  5. Remove the hangers that attach each louvre to the headrail from the top of each louvre by sliding them out sideways.
  6. Either unscrew or unclip the headrail (depending on how yours is affixed) and take it down.
  7. Use a vacuum hose attachment to clean any dust out of the inside track of the headrail and a damp cloth to clean the headrail inside and out, before either leaving it to air dry or drying it off with a tea towel or rag.
  8. Before you put the headrail back up, you might want to use a silicone-based spray like WD40 to lubricate the tilt rod and ensure your blinds open and close smoothly. Don’t try and do this later on with the louvres attached however, as this might stain the louvre fabric.

Step 2: How to clean vertical blind louvres

The first thing you need to do before cleaning vertical blind louvres is to check if they can be immersed in water, or if they’re apt to turn into a Gremlin if you get too near to them with a bottle of Evian.

Depending on what your vertical blinds are made of, they can either be cleaned by washing them in water, or by dusting/vacuuming and spot-cleaning them while trying not to get them too wet.

How to clean vertical blinds that can’t be soaked in water

If your vertical blinds are constructed of a fabric more hydrophobic than a teenage gamer, you need to take the dust-and-wipe approach.

  1. With the louvres laid flat on a hard surface, dust or vacuum them front and back.
  2. If you need to remove spots, marks, or stains or generally think that a thing isn’t clean unless it’s come into at least passing contact with water, use a damp cloth. If you wish to use a detergent, choose something like a non-biological washing powder for silk/delicate fabrics or even baby shampoo; basically, something you’d trust not to peel the skin off your hands.
  3. Using a damp cloth, wipe each louvre down from top to bottom in one direction so that you get any surface muck or grime off rather than just smearing it around, and repeat on the other side.

That’s it!

How to clean vertical blinds that can be soaked in water

If you want to know how to clean vertical blinds that can be soaked in water, first up, don’t think of said soaking in terms of how you’d tackle a casserole dish with the remnants of a burnt-on toad-in-the-hole stuck to it.

Divide your louvres into manageable sets, so that you can get each one in and out of the water in a timely fashion. If you plonk too many louvres into the water all at once, the ones that you get to last are apt to be in there for too long. Then:

  1. Dust or vacuum the louvres if needed.
  2. Fill a bath, sink, or large bucket with water no hotter than 30 degrees Celsius, failing which you may damage the fabric of your blinds and even dissolve the glue used on some louvres.
  3. Dunk your louvres into the water and wash them gently from top to bottom with a sponge. Don’t be tempted to use a scourer or anything abrasive, nor bleach or harsh stain removers as these may discolour the louvre fabric.
  4. When you remove the louvres from the water, blot-dry them with a towel if needed, and then lie them out to air-dry fully on a flat, hard surface. Don’t re-hang your louvres while wet or peg them to a washing line, as this may stretch them.
  5. When your louvres are thoroughly dry, put the plastic hangers back into the tops, slot the weights back into the bottoms, and re-hang them on the headrail.


If you’re the shortcutting type or think that your real calling in life was being a MythBuster rather than working in accounts, check out this blog post covering five frequently asked questions about cleaning vertical blinds too.

Had a vertical blinds cleaning malfunction you’d like to share with the class? Do tell. I’d be happy to empathise with you (by which I mean “mock”) in the comments.

2 Responses

  1. Barbara Wilson says:

    Tried and tested method for Vertical Blinds that can be soaked in water >

    When washing your blinds in a washing machine, remove weights, roll them up and secure them inside a pillowcase to help prevent fraying and damage. Use a gentle laundry detergent and use a wash setting designed for delicate fabrics at a temperature no higher than 30°C.

    Replace weights and re-hang.

    • Polly Kay says:

      Hello, and thank you so much for your comment and suggested method.

      You’re right, this is a great method for vertical blind fabrics that are suitable for soaking in water. We cover the topic of washing vertical blinds in the washing machine in this article.

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