How To Clean Wood Blinds [4 Steps]

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Admittedly, in keeping your home clean and polished, you don’t get to your blinds all that often. The last time you went to let some light in, you noticed the wood blinds were caked in dust and grime. How do you clean them? We’ve researched the most efficient steps and best cleaning tools to help you get started. 

Here are the steps for cleaning wood blinds:

  1. Remove your blinds and lay them flat (or open them in such a way where each slat is completely flat).
  2. Use a feather duster to lift the dust from each blind.
  3. Apply a wood cleaner made for wood furniture/floors.
  4. Add a wood conditioner or lemon oil to restore the wood’s natural sheen.

The cleaning method you use for real wood is not the same as that for faux wood. In this article, we’ll tell you how to differentiate between real and fake wooden blinds. We’ll also provide cleaning steps for white wood and faux wood blinds and share some tips for treating yellowed wood blinds. Please, keep reading!

hard wood blind attached on a window frame with indoor plants in front, How to Clean Wood Blinds [4 Steps]

How Do You Know if Your Blinds Are Real Wood?

Before you go into your living room, den, or bedroom with lemon oil and microfiber cleaning cloth, you have to know what you’re working with. Wood cleaning products are appropriate for real wood only, not faux wood. Using the wrong product could damage your blinds, and you don’t want that.

Okay, so how do you tell the difference between real and faux blinds? Well, if you bought the blinds, hopefully, you remember what you purchased. Then again, you might not, or perhaps the blinds were gifted to you.

In such cases, you’ll have to study your blinds pretty closely, especially the grain. If your blinds are made of real wood, then the grain will naturally change across the slats. With faux wood blinds, the manufacturer can make the woodgrain pattern identical. That would never happen with the real deal.

If you’re still not totally sure, then take the blinds down, which you’ll have to do when cleaning them anyway. How heavy are they? Faux wood blinds have a polyvinyl chloride or PVC base, so they should feel similar in weight to any set of plastic blinds you have in the house. If your blinds are a bit heavier, then chances are good they’re made of real wood. 

How to Clean Wood Blinds

Sunlight through one venetian casts shadows on another wood blind

Assuming your blinds are real wood, the cleaning steps we’ve laid out in the introduction are applicable. Let’s go over those steps and the supplies you need in more detail now.

Here’s what you should have for the job:

  • Step ladder
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Bucket or bowl
  • Feather duster or microfiber duster
  • Wood cleaner
  • Wood preservative

Now that you’ve gathered all your supplies, let’s get started!

Step 1: Remove Your Blinds and Lay Them Flat

It’s best if you can take your blinds completely down to dust both sides. Use your step ladder to reach the top of the blinds and then lift them gently. If you need a second person for this job, then ask someone for help.

What if you can’t get the blinds down? Then you’ll want to open the slats, so they’re completely flat.

Step 2: Use a Feather Duster to Lift the Dust from Each Blind

Next, it’s time to be meticulous, dusting each wood blind with a feather duster or microfiber duster. Don’t forget to clean the backside of the blinds too. Why take the extra time to do this? By leaving dust on the blinds and then using a product like a wood cleaner, the dust accumulates and could scratch the woodgrain.

Step 3: Apply a Wood Cleaner

A wood cleaner intended for wood floors or furniture will clean your blinds nicely. Weiman’s Wood Cleaner and Furniture Polish Spray is one such product you might consider. Safe also for baseboards and cabinets, you’ll feel confident you can clean your wooden blinds with this product.

Click to see more on Amazon.

We recommend testing a small part of the blinds with the wood cleaner before you go whole-hog. If the wood has no adverse effects, then you can continue cleaning. Go top to bottom and use your microfiber cloth to dry each blind in between so it doesn’t stay soaked in the product for long. It’s okay to clean only one side of the blinds for your first go-through and then flip the blinds over to get the other side.

Step 4: Add a Wood Conditioner to Restore the Natural Wood Sheen

Wood blinds don’t maintain their luster forever. If yours look a little dingy and old, then a wood conditioner is recommended. Rust-Oleum’s CopperCoat Green Wood Preservative is an Amazon’s Choice product that will lend your wooden blinds that desirable polish.

Click to see more on Amazon.

If you’re short on wood conditioner, lemon oil can work in a pinch.

How to Clean Faux Wood Blinds

Sunlight trying to deep through the faux wood blinds

What are faux blinds made of? Faux blinds are made from a variety of materials, such as composite, PVC, or vinyl. Although they resemble real wood, they lack wood’s porous properties and are moisture resistant; making faux blinds easy to clean! Skip the wood conditioner and cleaners, as these products will do fake blinds no good. Instead, here are the supplies you need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Bucket
  • White vinegar or another detergent
  • Feather duster or microfiber duster

Then, follow these steps!

Step 1: Remove Your Blinds and Lay Them Flat

Like you did before, you want to begin by removing your blinds or opening the slats as flat as possible if the blinds won’t come down.

Step 2: Dust Off the Blinds with a Feather Duster

Begin cleaning your faux wood blinds by giving them a thorough dusting on both sides of the slats.

Step 3: Clean with White Vinegar or Detergent

Now here’s where things get different. Your cleaning agent for faux wood blinds can be a mild detergent like Dawn.

Click to see more on Amazon.

If you’re using a detergent, you want a dollop or two in a bucket. The rest of the bucket should be full of warm water. White vinegar can be used instead of detergent. Skip the water if that’s the route you take.

Step 4: Dry the Blinds Between Cleaning

You can use your microfiber cloth for cleaning with the detergent or white vinegar, but make sure you have a separate clean cloth for patting each slat dry. 

How to Clean White Wood Blinds

modern kitchen top with white wood blinds

White wood blinds are the most susceptible to looking noticeably yellowed, although wood and faux wood blinds alike can also age like this. We’ll talk later about why that is, but for now, here’s how to fix it.

Grab the following supplies:

  • Bleach
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Towel

Step 1: Remove Your Blinds

You know the drill by now. It would be best if you took your white wood blinds down so you can de-yellow them.

Step 2: Plunk the Blinds in a Tub with Bleach

Run your tub with cold water and plug the drain to fill it. Pour in between two and three cups of bleach, depending on the size of your tub. Then, put your blinds in the tub and let them sit for at least 10 minutes.

Step 3: Dry the Blinds

Take a clean microfiber cloth and go slat by slat to dry the blinds after their stint in the tub.

Step 4: Reattach the Blinds

With your blinds clean, dry, and white, you’re free to put them back up.

Can You Clean Wooden Blinds with Vinegar?

We discussed how it’s safe to clean faux wood blinds with vinegar, but what about natural wooden blinds? Can you do it? It’s not highly recommended. Although vinegar doesn’t warp wood, it is acidic, so it can activate corrosion in materials such as stone and wood. What’s worse is that its abrasive properties mean vinegar can scratch the delicate woodgrain of your blinds.

You’re much better off using a product formulated for true wood surfaces like those we suggested earlier in this article.

Do you want to restrict as much light as possible with your blinds? Check out this post: “What Are the Best Blinds for Blocking Out the Light?

Do Faux Wood Blinds Turn Yellow with Time?

As promised, let’s get back to why wood blinds can become yellow. That’s due to the sun. As the glare of the sunlight filters through into your living room or bedroom all day, the UV rays discolor the blinds. You’re then left with an unappealing yellow hue.

In addition to the sun, your lifestyle can also contribute to and worsen your wood blinds’ yellowing. If you smoke cigarettes in the house, for instance, your blinds may go yellow quickly. The same is true if your home has many pollutants. The good news is that it’s rather simple to remove dingy yellowness from your blinds, especially your white wooden ones.

Now that your wood blinds aren’t yellow anymore, you may have more questions about the color. Read this: “Should Window Blinds Match Wall Color?

Conclusion

Wood blinds require cleaning with a feather duster and a wood cleaner with some wood polish for good measure. If your blinds are only faux wood, then you’re free to clean them with vinegar or a mild detergent like dish soap. Best of luck in tidying up your blinds!

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