Roller blinds are by far the most common and popular type of blinds thanks to their versatility, ease of use, and comparatively inexpensive purchase cost. Other than the cheapest roller blinds picked out of the bargain bin of the local Wilko, roller blinds should last for many years in good order and still be able to withstand the occasional boxing match with the cat.
But when they do start getting on a bit, you may find that the sidewinder mechanism (the thing that winds the roller blind’s chain up and down) on a chain-operated roller blind might start to get stiff or jam up, or start making a pained noise when you do operate it that you could probably live without.
So, why does my roller blind not work? If it’s a chain-operated roller blind this is probably due to either the fabric rolling up unevenly and causing it to jam, or the mechanism itself becoming stiff and so, hard to operate.
How do you fix a roller blind that won’t turn, or that has a stiff or noisy sidewinder? Un-jamming a fabric malfunction or repairing the sidewinder itself will sort you out for chain-operated rolling blinds that are acting up, and I’ll tell you how to do both of those things in this article.
If you’re trying to find out how to fix a roller blind that has a cordless or spring-tensioned control that’s borked itself, I will talk you through the steps on how to do that in this post.
How to fix roller blinds that won’t turn due to fabric gone awry
If your roller blind has started to act up fairly suddenly rather than working its way up gradually to becoming a mortal PITA, the most likely explanation is that the fabric itself is on a wonk.
If the fabric isn’t more or less symmetrical when you roll a blind up, it can skew to one side and start to jam in the mechanism, which will make the blind difficult to operate and that over time, will batter the edges of the fabric too and start to make it look ratty.
How do you fix a roller blind that won’t turn due to a fabric jam?
Take a reasonably firm but not heavy-handed hold of the bottom of the fabric to keep it taut, and then gently pull the blind down by the chain to try and loosen the jam and free the blind up.
- If that worked:
Fully extend the blind when it starts behaving normally again, before rolling it back up carefully, keeping an eye on the symmetry of the thing to make sure it doesn’t go staggering off to the side again like a drunk parting company with the pavement on their first post-lockdown night out.
- If that did not work:
If you can see that the fabric is the problem but you can’t hoik the blind up or down enough to free it up, you’re going to have to get the big guns out.
This means taking the blind down from its brackets so that you can manually roll the fabric all the way down, and then rolling it back up again carefully with the fabric straight and in line with the edges to an equal degree on both sides.
Plonk the whole array back into its brackets and everything should be fine.
How do you fix a roller blind that won’t turn due to a sidewinder issue?
Chain-operated blinds rely on a sidewinder mechanism to operate the chain, and if a fabric jam isn’t the cause of your lack of rolling, blinds stuck in one position or that are resistant or noisy to operate tend to be caused by a stiff sidewinder.
This too can be fixed – and you may already have guessed where I’m going with this – with nothing more complicated than the judicious application of a bit of WD40 or another silicone-based spray of this type. This can make even a roller blind that’s older than your kid, who is in turn old enough to have started growing a bit of bumfluff on their chin, last for many more years in good order.
- To fix a roller blind sidewinder that’s stiff or noisy, you first want to take the blind off the brackets and pull the sidewinder mechanism out of the tube itself to get a good look at all of the moving parts.
- Then, use the straw thingy that comes with WD40 (this is important) to spray all of the moving parts liberally but carefully, as you really want to avoid getting any on the fabric of the blind because this is apt to stain.
If you can’t or don’t want to pull the pull the sidewinder mechanism out of the blind, it’s best to fully unroll the fabric of the blind all the way down before getting spray-happy, just because on the off chance you do get any WD40 on it, this will be limited to the fabric at the very top of the blind which will usually remain rolled around the top tube and out of sight anyway.
Most householders find this preferable to introducing a new and unintended repeating pattern all the way down one side fabric of the blind, if staining cannot be avoided full stop.
Seriously though, use the straw on the WD40 and try to keep it off the fabric.