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Let's face it, blinds are dusty and gross. Worse still, when the sun shines just so, anyone you welcome into your home will be able to see just how badly you’ve neglected your window dressings. But the thought of cleaning blinds can be cumbersome and downright daunting. Don’t worry, friends—our guide for how to clean blinds will leave each slat squeaky clean and the method is 100 percent hassle-free. (Hint: You don’t even have to take ‘em down to do it.)

How to Clean Metal or Plastic Blinds

Metal and plastic blinds are inexpensive and less sensitive to the elements than wood ones, but because they often come in light colors, they can make the inevitable accumulation of dirt especially apparent. Fear not, the grunge can be banished—and we have a clever hack that makes for a quick and easy cleaning process.

What you’ll need:

  • A pair of kitchen tongs
  • A microfiber cloth or soft kitchen cloth
  • Soap and water (optional)

What to do:

1. For particularly grimy blinds, soak your cloth in a bucket of warm soapy water and wring it out gently to avoid a drippy mess, but for a routine dusting you can leave the cloth dry. Note: If your white blinds have started to take on a dingy grey color, add a generous amount of baking soda to the soapy water for extra stain-removal power.

2. Open up the pair of kitchen tongs and drape the microfiber cloth over the top of them such that the cloth sinks down into the wedged area and completely covers the two heads of the tongs.

3. Once the tongs have been covered with the cloth, use them to pinch the far end of the topmost slat.

4. Gently slide the covered tongs along the slat until you reach the opposite end.

5. Repeat, working from top to bottom until each slat has been wiped clean—and if you started off with a wet cloth, go over each slat again with a dry one when you’re done.

How to Clean Wood Blinds

Your wood blinds look classy, but not when they’re covered in dust. However, care needs to be taken when cleaning any kind of wood (except the fake stuff which can be cleaned using the same method as plastic or metal blinds). Most importantly, you never want to ‘wash’ wood blinds (more on that below).

What you’ll need:

  • A pair of kitchen tongs
  • A microfiber cloth or soft kitchen cloth
  • Furniture polish (we like Howard Feed-N-Wax, $16)

What to do:

1. Before you get started, know that you should never use water to clean wood blinds, as water can warp and discolor the wood. Instead, the experts at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) suggest using either a dry microfiber cloth or applying a small amount of an oil-based furniture cleaner to the microfiber cloth for a more serious cleaning (and an attractive sheen).

2. Drape the microfiber cloth over the top of the tongs, as demonstrated in the video above.

3. Use the covered tongs to pinch the far end of the topmost slat.

4. Gently slide the tongs along the slat until you reach the opposite end, removing dust and grime as you go.

5. Repeat, working from top to bottom until each slat has been wiped clean.

How to Tell If It’s Time for New Blinds

Alas, the time may come in which no amount of cleaning can restore your blinds to their former glory. How can you tell when it's time to bid your blinds adieu? The ACI says discoloration is a dead giveaway (and often an unavoidable occurrence after years of sun exposure).

3 Tips for Cleaning Success

  • Remove any objects from the windowsill before you get started or they’ll just get covered in dust.
  • Good on you for protecting your windowsill decor, but the dust is still going to end up somewhere—namely, on your floor. As such, it’s a good idea to vacuum the floor when you’re done de-griming the blinds.
  • While we’re on the subject, your vacuum cleaner can also come in handy for cleaning your blinds. If the dust accumulation on your window treatments is really outrageous, use the brush attachment on your hoover to do a preliminary removal before you tackle the blinds with the cloth-and-tong method.

RELATED: How to Clean Your Washing Machine (Because, Ew, It Smells)

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