• Tara

Keeping Window Treatments Fresh

Updated: Nov 13


Wood blinds with cornice in a living room.

A good cleaning will go a long way regarding window treatments. If done regularly, custom window treatments will look as good as the day they were purchased. Some materials require minimal care, while others may require a bit more attention when cleaning. How the window treatment is cleaned and cared for will depend on the style and material. If you prefer to have someone else clean your window treatments, there are professional window treatment services that specialize in this type of cleaning. You can check your local directories to find a company that offers these housekeeping services.


Cleaning Fabric Window Treatments

For most fabric shades, curtains, or draperies, consistent light dusting with a vacuum cleaner brush attachment will keep them looking fresh and new for years to come so that dust doesn’t get the upper hand. Unlike apparel fabrics, home decorating fabrics are treated with special finishes that help repel soil or retain luster, thus protecting the beauty of the material. Let’s look at general guidelines that can be followed regularly to maintain your window treatment investment.


Draperies, Curtains, Fabric Roman Shades, Swags, Cascades, and Valances

  • With a vacuum upholstery attachment, vacuum all sides of the window treatment.

  • Pay special attention to the top of the window treatments, especially the header pleats and creases. This is where the dust settles and collects over time.

  • If necessary, spot clean soiled areas using a microfiber cloth and lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Dip the microfiber cloth into the solution and then gently blot the stain. Avoid using strong detergents and rubbing excessively as this may damage fabric fibers and potentially cause the blotted fabric to appear cleaner where the window treatment has been spot cleaned.

All draperies, curtains, fabric roman shades, swags, cascades, and valances have sewn-in care labels, which will indicate if the product is suitable for dry cleaning or hand washing. Unlike apparel fabrics, home decorating materials are treated with special finishes that help repel soil and retain luster, thus protecting the beauty of the fabric. Washing may destroy these finishes and alter the character of the material. Dry Cleaning is often the preferred method of cleaning; however, even this can shorten the life of the fabric. Additionally, fabrics can shrink up to 4% after cleaning. If the drapery is comprised of more than one fabric, each material will shrink by different percentages based on its fabric content. For example, the drapery liner and face fabric may not be the same, so puckering or creeping between the different materials can occur. If the drapery doesn’t have set in soil, the preferred method of cleaning surface dust is to vacuum it thoroughly. If dry cleaning does become necessary, it is wise to include the cleaning instructions for the cleaners.


Other deep-cleaning methods outside of dry cleaning include ultrasonic and injection/extraction methods performed by a reputable professional window treatment cleaner. These professionals use various methods to clean window coverings and can vary in their capabilities, so referrals from friends and family are an excellent place to start, as well as online reviews.


Cellular and Honeycomb Shades


Custom cellular shade products are made with an anti-static, dust-resistant fabric that repels dirt and dust. Following the cleaning options outlined below will keep the shades looking their best.

  • Following the horizontal pleats, dust with a feather duster or lightly vacuum with an upholstery attachment.

  • For dust inside the cells, use a blow dryer on the lowest cool setting to blow the dust or debris out.

  • If necessary, spot clean soiled areas using a microfiber cloth and lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Dip the microfiber cloth into the solution and then gently blot the stain. Avoid using strong detergents and rubbing excessively as this may damage the fabric and potentially cause the blotted fabric to appear cleaner where the window treatment has been spot cleaned.

  • Due to the nature of the material, additional care should be taken when cleaning opaque/blackout fabrics, as the fabrics could become permanently creased.

  • Dry cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning are not recommended.


Sheer Horizontal Shades

  • To keep sheer shades looking their best, occasionally dust with a feather duster or lightly vacuum with a handheld vacuum with an upholstery attachment.

  • Use a blow dryer on the lowest cool setting or compressed air to blow the dust or debris out of the vanes.

  • If necessary, spot clean soiled areas using a microfiber cloth and lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Dip the microfiber cloth into the solution and then gently blot the stain. Avoid using strong detergents and rubbing excessively as this may damage the fabric and potentially cause the blotted fabric to appear cleaner where the window treatment has been spot cleaned.

  • Dry cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning are not recommended.


Transition Shades


The innovative operating system of transition shades dusts the shade fabric when the panel is rotated, reducing the care necessary for the shade.

  • For additional cleaning, dust with a feather duster or lightly vacuum with a handheld vacuum with an upholstery attachment.

  • If necessary, spot clean soiled areas using a microfiber cloth and lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Dip the microfiber cloth into the solution and then gently blot the stain. Avoid using strong detergents and rubbing excessively as this may damage the fabric and potentially cause the blotted fabric to appear cleaner where the window treatment has been spot cleaned.

  • Dry cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning are not recommended.


Woven Wood, Natural Shades


Woven wood shades are hand-crafted from organic elements of reed, bamboo, grass, paper, and jute, woven together to create various patterns and colors. Because the shades are made from natural products, liquid cleaners and water should never be used on woven wood shades. The best way to clean these shades is outlined below.

  • Lightly dust with a feather duster or microfiber cloth.

  • Vacuum both sides from top to bottom with an upholstery brush attachment.

  • If soiled, gently wipe with a lightly dampened (not wet) microfiber cloth.

Screen Roller Shades

Screen Roller Shades are popular indoor and outdoor window treatments. If the shades are outdoors, they’ll require regular cleaning to look their best.

  • Lightly Vacuum with an upholstery brush attachment on both sides from side to side and top to bottom.

  • If necessary, brush with a mild detergent and warm water solution.

  • Rinse and wipe thoroughly with a microfiber cloth and allow the shade to dry completely before raising.

  • Never immerse any part of the shade in water.


Fabric Roller Shades

  • Dust with a feather duster or lightly vacuum with an upholstery brush attachment on both sides from side to side and top to bottom.

  • If necessary, spot clean soiled areas using a microfiber cloth and lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Dip the microfiber cloth into the solution and then gently blot the stain. Avoid using strong detergents and rubbing excessively as this may damage the fabric and potentially cause the blotted fabric to appear cleaner where the window treatment has been spot cleaned.

  • Never immerse any part of the shade in water.


Cleaning Hard Window Treatments

Aluminum, Painted Wood, Faux Wood Blinds, and Shutters


Below are the four most popular methods for dusting aluminum, painted wood, faux wood blinds, and shutters.

  • Lower the blinds and tilt the slats to the open position. Use a feather duster or microfiber cloth/glove, or cotton sock. Start with the top slat and work to the bottom slat. Dust the slat’s top and bottom for the entire width of the slat. When the blind is clean, follow the process again but use a dryer sheet this time on each slat to repel dust and make for easier cleaning.

  • Use specialty tools for cleaning to wipe several slats simultaneously on both sides. You can quickly locate this type of tool by searching online.

  • Use a vacuum brush attachment to clean the blinds by following the instructions in bullet one.

  • For deeper cleaning, use a mild detergent in warm water and a clean cotton cloth. Wipe the area and then wipe down with clean water; dry immediately with a cotton cloth.


Real Wood Blinds and Shutters

  • Lower the blinds and tilt the slats to the open position. Spray a furniture polish or lemon oil onto a soft cloth or cotton sock. The polish or lemon oil will help to protect the wood and restore its natural beauty. Start with the top slat and work to the bottom slat. Dust the slat’s top and bottom for the entire width of the slat.

  • For deeper cleaning, use a mild detergent in warm water and a clean cotton cloth. Wipe the area and wipe down with clean water; dry immediately with a cotton cloth.


Fabric Vertical Vanes and Valances

  • Regularly dust or vacuum with an upholstery attachment, top to bottom, on both sides of the vane.

  • For soil removal, remove the vane from the headrail and lay it on a flat surface. Use a dry fabric cleaner or a microfiber cloth with a mild detergent and warm water solution and blot dry. Test any commercial upholstery cleaner on an inconspicuous spot before using.

  • Do not immerse in water or dry clean.


Exception: Sheer vertical sheers can be hand washed or dry cleaned by unsnapping the fabric from the PVC vanes. Hand wash with Woolite, line dry, press or steam on low, and snap fabric back on vanes. Do not steam or iron fabric while it is on the vinyl vanes, as the vanes will be damaged. Do not put the material in the dryer.



Vinyl Vertical Vanes and Valances

  • Regularly dust or vacuum with an upholstery attachment, top to bottom, on both sides of the vane.

  • Spot clean soiled areas with soapy water on a clean, soft cloth; rinse with a clean, moistened cloth.


Deep Clean Vinyl Vertical and Aluminum Blinds

  • For washing vinyl vertical or aluminum blinds, place towels or a tarp under the blinds to catch drips and protect the floor.

  • With a sponge and soapy water, wash the entire length of each slat, on both sides, until clean. If necessary, vinyl vertical vanes can be removed and immersed in water to clean.

  • Rinse and wipe dry with a clean, dry cloth.


Cleaning custom window treatments increases their longevity and keeps them looking fresh and vibrant. The key to maintaining their appearance is setting a cleaning schedule because letting them go makes it challenging to get them back into mint condition once the dust and debris build-up. How you clean your window treatments largely depends on their style and material. Vacuuming, dusting, or combining both will typically do the trick. But sometimes, more rigorous cleaning methods are required to return them to their original vibrant appearance. Whether you clean the window treatments yourself or hire housekeeping services, diligent cleaning of window treatments means enjoying them for many years to come.


If you’re looking for blinds, shades, or draperies, T. Lynn’s can assist with finding the perfect solution for your home that is on-trend and within budget. We offer a comprehensive collection of blinds, shades, and draperies. Call 715-441-7997 today to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation, or go to tlynns.com.


Our Wisconsin service areas include:


BY CITY: Abbotsford, Altoona, Augusta, Barron, Bloomer, Chetek, Chippewa Falls, Colby, Cornell, Cumberland, Eau Claire, Greenwood, Hayward, Ladysmith, Loyal, Medford, Menomonie, Neillsville, Owen, Park Falls, Phillips, Rice Lake, Stanley, Thorp


BY COUNTY: Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor


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