KEEP YOUR WINDOW DRESSINGS LOOKING SHINY and NEW
Do you remember that great feeling you had when you bought something new, and it looked so wonderfully appealing, and you vowed you’d keep it looking as great 2yrs down the line? Good intentions just never play out the way we expect them to, do they? We get lazy or too busy to act on the vows we made – kinda like the first flush of love that has us saying things like, ‘Let’s never take each other for granted, baby’!! But we do, and things have a way of getting away from us, and we often need a fresh infusion of TLC to keep us going….
I think the same goes for all aspect of our lives, not just relationships and shoes and clothes, our homes too! And nothing can jar more than a smudged footprint on the floor, a grungy looking sofa, a carelessly made bed, a rocky dining chair or dusty, stained curtains or blinds!
Now, I have woven bamboo Roman shades on my living and dining room French windows, cellular shades in all the bedrooms, cafe curtains on my kitchen window over the sink, and composite blinds in my bathrooms. Initially, when maintenance considerations crept up, I felt very silly to have gone overboard in being so choosy about the kind of window coverings I chose. But having gone through some of the manufacturer information, and common sense dictated recourse, I’ve found that care and maintenance of these window accoutrements is actually a cake walk!
The great thing about window coverings from reputed manufacturers is that they’re crafted for perfection in both function and endurance. Most of the fabric blinds or shades are Scotchgard treated, which makes for reduced staining and moisture absorption, therefore, reduced cleaning frequency. And most of the faux wood and composite blinds, the vinyl blinds and the Roman, roller, pleated and cellular shades and drapery made of synthetic or polyester blends are treated to be antistatic, which makes them actually repel dust articles. But by and large, over time, especially in high traffic areas, there’s bound to be some staining (especially with children around!) and dust collection (those wondrous trailing drapes!) that makes it imminent that you clean the window covering in question.
The first step in maintaining any form of window covering is to vacuum them at least once a month. All you need to do is to use the soft, round brush/fabric brush systematically downwards from the top for drapes, vertical blinds, Roman and roller shades, and gently sideways in one direction, slat by slat for horizontal blinds and cellular or pleated shades. I wouldn’t recommend feather dusting as this just displaces the dust, only to have them settle again, also creating sneezing jags, especially for those prone to dust allergy.
For your precious wood blinds and shutters, any staining can be removed using a soft damp cloth if your blinds are painted. If the slats are made of stained wood, rub stains off using lemon oil or any other wood preservative, with a soft, clean cloth.
Your faux wood, composite, vinyl and aluminum blinds can be rubbed clean using a soft cloth, water and preferably, the mildest of liquid detergent.
Vertical blinds with fabric louvers can be rid of stubborn stains by –
a). Allow the stain to dry out and gently brush off with an old but dry toothbrush.
b). If the above doesn’t work, use warm water a very mild liquid detergent and scrub off with an old toothbrush.
c). For more pervasive staining, detach vanes, put in a cloth bag, and machine wash. Iron out any creases on low heat
d). If none of the above works, call the manufacturer for instructions on how to proceed.
Cellular shades and pleated shades are best rid of any topical dirt by smudging it off with a soft dusting cloth soaked in water and mild detergent. For more severe stains or dirt, please confer with manufacturers. Dry cleaning is absolutely not recommended. I’ve heard of brave souls who have the shades detached and dunk cellular shades in a tub full of warm soapy water, and brush off the stains once it’s soaked properly. While that’s okay for PVC roller shades, I would caution against this practice as cellular and pleated shades are made with layers of fabric glued together. Always err on the side of caution and call the manufacturer for ‘best practice’ advice.
Roman shades are a bit of a different proposition! You need to detach them from the window and lay them on a clean, flat surface. Then spray aerosol foam fabric or upholstery cleaner over the stained area and immediately clean with a clean, damp sponge using back and forth movements. You can clean the entire area of the shade in this fashion. Remove any excess dampness with a clean, dry cloth. Allow to dry. You may get rid of any creases with a warm iron. Hang the shade up when it’s completely dry.
Horizontal fabric blinds may spot cleaned with a damp sponge and mild soap. Avoid chemical cleaners as these may lead to discoloration of the fabric. These shades may be cleaned ultrasonically, so fret not if large areas are soiled!
Natural blinds and Exterior shades and can be hosed down – suspend from your clothesline and use the garden hose to spray water to clean very dusty shades. Allow to dry out before re-attaching to their head rails. For exterior shades, use mild detergent and water to scrub off stubborn dirt, hose down with clean water, allow to dry, and re-attach to their head rails.
Drapes are the most easily managed. Though you can vacuum them, and spot clean stains with a damp sponge and mild soap, I would recommend that you have them dry cleaned at least once a year
If at any time you feel at sea about the care and maintenance of your window covering, please call the manufacturer for advice. Send for them to clean your blinds and shades, if required. Break a leg!