A Guide to Cleaning Blinds & Fabric Window Treatments

Just like other design elements within your home, regular attention to your window coverings is an important factor in keeping them looking nice over time. But, cleaning blinds and fabric window treatments can require specialty knowledge to ensure they are taken care of properly.


This guide is intended as general tips and tools for cleaning blinds, window shades, shutters and draperies. Keep in mind that the manufacturer of your window treatments will provide specific recommendations, based on the materials and fabrics of your window coverings. It’s important to refer to manuals, tags–or even the window covering business that installed them.

Hard Treatments: Cleaning Blinds & Shutters

We refer to most window blinds and shutters as “hard” treatments because they are made out of materials like wood, metal, vinyl or other composites. Since the materials are similar, the guidance for cleaning blinds and shutters will sound alike.

General Cleaning Tips

The key to keeping your blinds and shutters looking pristine is regular dusting. This is done simply with cleaning tools, made of clean, dry microfiber, such as a handheld duster, cloth, or glove. When cleaning blinds and shutters, you’ll want to close them flat, then wipe from side-to-side. To clean the backside, adjust them open as much as possible, and repeat the cleaning process. This window blind cleaning kit comes with a variety of tools, and if you have hard-to-reach window coverings, an extension dusting kit will help maintain window treatments high on the wall. For small areas and tight spaces, such as the hinges of shutters, a natural fiber paintbrush or clean toothbrush are an acceptable way to dust.

open view in shower of shutters in Minneapolis home
Palm Beach™ Polysatin™ Shutters


Soft Treatments: Cleaning Fabric Shades

The opposite of hard treatments, like blinds and shutters, the “Soft Treatments” of fabric shades require some additional options. We do advise regular cleaning–this will keep the dust and allergens from building up. Let’s explore the ways you can maintain the fabrics of window shades and some vertical blinds.

Microfiber Duster, Gloves & Cloths

Just like cleaning blinds and shutters, microfiber cleaning materials will work to remove light dust on your fabric shades. With the fabric shades closed, use a side-to-side gentle dusting motion for horizontal and top-to-bottom for verticals. This gentle motion should be enough to dust, but keep from pressing on the shape of the window shades, as pressing too much may cause damage. 

Canned Air

In an effort to be gentle on the shaped fabrics of window shades, many homeowners have been turning to canned air. The air removes dust and allergens without pressing on the shape of shades, like honeycombs and roman shades. You have two ways to use canned air, a rechargeable canned air dusting tool or disposable cans of air.


The vacuum has always been an acceptable way to remove dust and allergens from fabric shades, but it’s important to proceed with caution. The best way to clean shades with a vacuum is by using the lowest suction setting. You can also use the upholstery attachment that comes with many vacuums. This is a great example of what’s available in vacuum cleaners today–a range of settings and two upholstery tools.

What about Spot Cleaning?

Sometimes, it’s not just dust and allergens you’re attempting to clean off of fabrics. With dirt or possible stains, you could try spot cleaning. Lightly dampen a clean sponge with lukewarm water, squeezing it out until there are no more water drops. Use a gentle motion to wipe the spot. It’s important to keep the window shades closed until they have had time to dry. 

roller shade in textured fabric from alustra next to house plant and vase
Alustra® Woven Textures Shades


Cleaning Draperies & Curtains

Similar to fabric shades, there are a number options to maintain beautiful draperies and curtains. Remove dust, allergens or even pet hair easily with these recommendations.

  1. Get to Know the Fabric: Determine what kind of fabric your draperies or curtains are made of. This is important to know which methods will work best without damaging the fabrics.
  2. Dry Cleaning: It is often recommended to dry clean draperies. The fabrics and stitching is considered delicate and may require special techniques for cleaning. Shrinking can also be a concern. Inquire with local businesses for pricing and specifics.
  3. Testing Fabrics: If you are considering cleaning them yourself, before applying cleaner, steam or water, you’ll want to test the fabrics for color bleeding. Use a small, less noticeable area to check.
  4. Steam Clean: One way to freshen fabrics and remove dust in your home is with a steam cleaner. The benefit of this method with draperies and curtains is that they can remain in place to steam clean and then air dry.
  5. Machine Wash: If you’ve done your homework and found that the fabric of your draperies is capable of machine washing, you’ll want to use the delicate cycle with cold water. Remove the fabrics promptly after the cycle ends to hang or lie flat to dry.
  6. Removing Wrinkles: Just like washing or cleaning, it’s important to follow manufacturer recommendations for ironing your draperies. You may want to test a small area prior to ironing the entire set.
loft apartment downtown with large roller shade blinds and beige drapery panels
Designer Solar Shades with Custom Drapery

How to Handle Pet Hair

Pet hair can easily accumulate on draperies for a couple of reasons. Pets spend time at the windows, lending to the idea that window areas have more pet hair than other areas of the home. The other reason is due to the draperies hanging close to, or puddling at the floor. Keep a lint roller close by for regular treatment. The vacuuming we recommended for draperies will also help keep pet hair from collecting. Be sure to hold draperies up out of the way when vacuuming. Let the draperies rest while any flyaway fur has time to land, and then go over the fabric with the lint roller.

white dining room with white drapery panels and dog on window sill in Burnsville MN
Designer Banded Shades


At Aero Drapery & Blind, we know how important it is to keep your home looking tidy. If we have installed Hunter Douglas window shades, blinds, shutters or drapery in your home, we’d love to answer questions. Cleaning blinds is best achieved with proper manufacturer recommendations, and we will do our best to guide you to the right options. Reach out to our team today.