Caring for Your Horizontal Blinds: A Window Treatment Love Story

A man cleaning blinds with a vacuum cleaner.

Your window blinds take care of you.

They filter harsh sunlight, insulate against the heat and cold, and block prying eyes.

But do you take care of them in return?

Like everything else in the house, horizontal blinds need maintenance and cleaning — not as much as your finicky dishwasher, but neglected blinds become dysfunctional blinds. Their cords tangle, slats bend or break, and the lifting mechanism sticks and jams.

Regular maintenance helps you avoid these problems, with the bonus that your blinds will last longer, too.

Caring for the Cords

Many problems originate in the cords or strings that pull the horizontal slats into position. Follow these tips to keep your blind cords strong and tangle-free.

1. Clean Regularly

Dust and dirt can accumulate on the cords over time, making them look dingy. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe them down.

2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Never use harsh or abrasive chemicals when cleaning the cords. Stick to mild soaps or specialized blind cleaning solutions.

3. Tug Gently

When raising or lowering the blinds, use a gentle and even force on the cords. Avoid pulling too hard or allowing the cords to get twisted, as this can cause fraying.

4. Manage Knots

Carefully untangle any knots as soon as possible. Knots can put undue stress on the cords and lead to damage.

5. Align Cords

Ensure that the cords are aligned correctly within the pulley system. Misaligned cords can cause uneven tension, wear, and eventual breakage.

6. Keep Pets Away

Pets, especially cats, may be tempted to play with or chew on blind cords. Buy your kitty an interactive toy to keep her preoccupied.

7. Adjust Tension

If your blinds have a cord lock or tension device, adjust it to maintain proper tension.

8. Inspect Periodically

Inspect the cords for signs of wear, fraying, or damage. If you notice any issues, consider replacing or repairing the cords promptly.

9. Avoid Harsh Sunlight

Excessive exposure to direct sunlight can weaken and fade the cords over time. Consider adding curtains or blinds to reduce harsh sunlight.

10. Opt for Plastic or Brass Chains

Plastic or brass chains attach to the blind mechanism in a way that makes them less likely to catch inside the control system.

11. Hire Professional Maintenance

If your blinds are valuable or intricate, consider hiring a professional blinds maintenance company for a thorough cleaning and cord inspection.

Caring for the Slats

1. Choose Durable Slats

Some slat materials hold up better than others. Wood and faux wood blinds are thicker than aluminum blinds and more resistant to accidental damage. Call us at Aero Shade to determine which blind slats are most durable for your budget.

2. Pull Blinds Up Before Opening Windows

Move your blinds out of the way before you open a stuck window. Reaching through the slats is a recipe for bent and kinked slats and tangled cords.

3. Never Adjust Slat Angles by Hand

Always use the tilt wand or cord to adjust slat angles instead of manually handling them. Manual pulling on a slat can cause damage.

4. Avoid Rough Handling

Avoid slamming your blinds open or closed. Also, avoid rough handling when dusting or cleaning the slats.

5. Repair Bent Slats

If you notice any bent or kinked slats, gently bend them back into shape with your hands. If they can’t be fixed, consider replacing them.

6. Keep Slats Clean

Dust your slats with a soft cloth or vacuum brush attachment. Remove any stubborn stains with water and mild soap. Be sure to dry the slats thoroughly afterward.

  • Go slowly. Haste leads to bent slats, especially if they’re aluminum. Previously bent slats are more prone to bend again and eventually break.
  • Start at the top and brush side to side or down. Brushing upward may unhook some of the slats.
  • Check before you use a vacuum attachment. Select styles or brands may not respond well to this treatment. Check your owner’s manual or ask a specialist.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Abrasive or harsh cleaning chemicals on the slats can damage the finish or material. Stick to mild soaps or specialized blind cleaning solutions.

Tilt and Clean: Tilt the slats to an open position to access the entire surface when cleaning. Close them and repeat the process for the other side.


These care tips will help you keep your horizontal blinds in good repair. But there’s no substitute for quality blinds in the first place. If you’re considering new window treatments, call us at Aero Shade for high-quality blinds and expert installation. Stop by our Los Angeles showroom to see, touch, and test the various window treatments we offer. Or we can visit your home or business for a free estimate.

FAQs: More about Horizontal Blinds Cleaning & Care

Q: How do I clean fabric or cloth blinds?

Try gently vacuuming with a brush attachment or spot cleaning with a mild detergent and water. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Q: Are there special cleaning products for blinds?

There are, but a mixture of water and mild dish soap works well for most blind types.

Q: Can I remove and machine wash my blinds?

Some fabric or vinyl blinds may be machine washable. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.

Q: How do I clean hard-to-reach blinds and high windows?

You can use an extended duster, a microfiber cloth attached to a long stick, or even a handheld vacuum with attachments to reach high or inaccessible blinds.

Q: What’s the best way to clean wooden blinds?

Use a wood cleaner specifically designed for them. Avoid excess moisture, as it can warp the wood.

Q: Can I clean metal or aluminum blinds with water?

You can use water and a mild detergent to clean metal or aluminum blinds. Dry them thoroughly to prevent water spots.

Q: How do I prevent mold and mildew on blinds?

Ensure your blinds are kept dry. If you live in a humid environment, consider using a dehumidifier.

Q: What should I do if my blinds are stained or discolored?

Stains on blinds can often be removed with water and vinegar. For tough stains, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or hire a professional cleaner.

Q: Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process after cleaning?

Using a hairdryer on a low, cool setting can help speed up drying and prevent water spots.

Q: Do blinds need to be removed for cleaning?

You can clean most blinds in place, but for a more thorough cleaning, you may remove and soak them. Just be sure you know how to re-install them properly.