Cleaning Wood Blinds Vs. Metal: What’s the Difference?

A woman cleaning blinds with gloves and a sponge.

Cleaning blinds can seem a chore, but as Mary Poppins said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

Okay, so maybe it’s never as fun as taking a cruise or binge-watching your favorite show, but mastering the right cleaning methods for different materials can make the task so much easier — and safer for your blinds.

Wood blinds and metal blinds are different species in the same window treatment family. What works for one may not work for the other.

If you want your blinds to look lustrous and last forever (or close to it), follow this guide of material-specific care to maintain their shine and longevity.

Cleaning Techniques for Wood Blinds

Maintaining wooden blinds requires a gentle touch to avoid damaging the natural material. Here’s how to keep them in top condition:

  • Start by dusting your wooden blinds regularly using a soft microfiber cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Gently wipe along the slats to remove dust and debris.
  • For stubborn stains or spills, use a damp cloth with a mild detergent solution. Keep the cloth moist but not too wet.
  • Excessive moisture can warp or damage wood. Never saturate the blinds or use harsh chemicals.
  • Wooden blinds should be deep cleaned occasionally. For this, you can hire a professional blind cleaning service to ensure proper care and attention. This will keep your blinds looking their best and extend their lifespan.

Maintenance Tips for Wood Blinds

Preserving the beauty of wood blinds requires consistent care:

  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause fading or discoloration. Consider using curtains or shades to protect wooden blinds from direct UV rays.
  • Use a specialized wood polish or conditioner every few months to maintain the wood’s luster and prevent drying or cracking. Remember to apply it with a soft, clean cloth and avoid direct sunlight until the wood absorbs the conditioner into the wood.
  • Similar to water, high humidity can damage wooden blinds, making them warp or swell. Avoid placing them in high moisture areas like bathrooms or kitchens; if it’s unavoidable, consider using a dehumidifier.
  • Make it a habit to inspect your blinds for signs of wear or damage. Look for any discoloration, cracking, or warping, and take steps to address these issues as soon as possible.
  • Regularly rotating your blinds helps distribute wear evenly across the slats. This can prevent any one area from showing signs of wear before the rest of the blind.
  • If your blinds aren’t functioning smoothly, a little lubrication can help. Use a silicone-based spray on the moving parts of your blinds.

Cleaning Techniques for Metal Blinds

Metal blinds, such as aluminum or faux metal, are durable but need a different cleaning approach:

  • A vacuum with a brush attachment, a microfiber dusting cloth, and a gentle cleaning solution should be part of your cleaning arsenal.
  • Similar to wood blinds, start by dusting metal blinds with a microfiber cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.
  • Metal blinds are good at hiding small stains, but for small stains or dirt marks, use a soft cloth moistened with warm soapy water. Gently scrub the stain until it lifts, then wipe the area dry. For tougher stains, you can use a mild all-purpose cleaner, but always do a spot test first to ensure it won’t damage the finish.
  • For a deeper clean, remove the blinds and soak them in a bathtub filled with warm, soapy water. Gently scrub with a soft brush, rinse thoroughly, and let them dry completely before reinstalling.
  • Harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners can damage the finish of metal blinds. Stick to mild detergents.

Maintenance Tips for Metal Blinds

Ensuring the longevity of metal blinds involves specific care routines:

  • Regularly inspect metal blinds for any signs of rust or corrosion, especially in humid environments. Address any rust spots promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Be careful not to bend the slats when cleaning. Metal blinds are sturdy, but they can permanently deform under force.
  • The moving parts of metal blinds can benefit from occasional lubrication. Applying a bit of silicone spray on the headrail (where the control mechanisms are located) can help keep your blinds operating smoothly.
  • Regular cleaning keeps your metal blinds looking and extends their lifespan. Make a schedule and stick to it; you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
  • If your blinds are heavily soiled or haven’t been cleaned in a while, consider hiring a professional blind cleaning service. They have the expertise and tools to restore your blinds to their original glory.

Repairing Damaged Blinds

Instead of replacing damaged blinds, you may be able to fix them or enlist a professional to do it. Here are some common blind issues and how to address them:

  • Broken Slats: If a slat is cracked or broken, remove it from the blind and replace it with a new one. You can buy replacement slats from most home improvement stores.
  • Stuck or Loose Slats: If a slat won’t stay in place, use a pair of pliers to gently bend the metal tabs on either side of the slat’s ladder cord. This should secure it in place.
  • Wonky Blinds: If your blinds are uneven or not closing properly, check the tilt mechanism. It may have been bumped or knocked out of place. Gently adjust it back into position.
  • Malfunctioning Cord Lock: If your cord lock is stuck or not working correctly, try gently pulling and releasing the lift cords to loosen any debris that may be obstructing the mechanism. If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the cord lock.
  • Discoloration: If your blinds are discolored or stained, consider painting them. Use a spray paint specifically designed for the surface and follow the instructions carefully.

And if you live in metro Los Angeles, call us at Aero Shade for expert repair and replacement. We’ve been dealing with blinds since 1947; customers sometimes come to us with vintage wood blinds we installed many decades ago.

If it can be fixed, we’ll fix it. And if you need a replacement, count on us to install a custom window treatment that fits perfectly and looks fabulous. Call us today. 323-457-2835.

FAQs: Answering Your Queries about Cleaning Blinds

Q: Can I use vinegar to clean both wood and metal blinds?

While vinegar is a natural cleaner, it’s best to avoid using it on wood blinds as the acidity might damage the wood. For metal blinds, a diluted vinegar solution can be used sparingly.

Q: How often should I clean my blinds?

Aim to dust your blinds weekly to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. A deep clean can be done every few months for both wood and metal blinds.

Q: Are there any specific tools I should use for cleaning blinds?

Soft microfiber cloths, vacuum cleaners with brush attachments, mild detergents, and soft brushes are essential tools for cleaning both wood and metal blinds.

Q: Can I use bleach to clean my white metal blinds?

Bleach can be too harsh for the finish on your blinds and can cause discoloration. It’s best to stick with mild soaps or detergents.

Q: Is it safe to use a damp cloth on wood blinds?

A lightly dampened cloth can be used for spot cleaning, but avoid saturating the wood as this can cause warping or discoloration.

Q: What type of lubricant should I use on my blinds?

A silicone-based spray is ideal, because it doesn’t attract dust and grime the way oil-based lubricants can.

Q: What if the slats on my blinds won’t rotate?

The rotation mechanism may be stuck or broken. Try lubricating it, and if that doesn’t work, a professional may need to repair or replace the mechanism.

Q: Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process of my washed metal blinds?

Yes, but use the cool setting to avoid damaging the blinds and keep the hairdryer at a safe distance.

Q: How do I know it’s time to replace my blinds instead of repairing them?

If your blinds have extensive damage, such as multiple broken slats, severe discoloration, or a faulty mechanism, it may be more cost-effective to replace them.

Q: Can I paint my metal blinds a different color?

Yes, but it’s a detailed process that requires specific types of paint. If done incorrectly, the paint may chip or look uneven.

Q: How can I prevent my blinds from getting so dusty?

There’s no substitute for regular cleaning, but you can also use a product designed to reduce static cling. This will make dust less likely to stick to the blinds.

Q: What can I do to keep my wood blinds from warping?

Avoid exposing your wood blinds to high humidity or direct sunlight for extended periods, as these conditions can cause warping.

Q: How do I fix a broken cord lock?

In many cases, a broken cord lock needs to be replaced. This can be a DIY job if you’re handy, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.