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How to Clean Pleated Shades

How to properly clean pleated shades

With their unique accordion-style fabric design, pleated shades are both stylish and highly effective at blocking out sunlight. But like all décor in your home, pleated shades attract dirt, dust, and other allergens or debris in the air that can accumulate on the shade and inside the folds of the fabric. Cleaning your pleated shades and keeping them looking their best is a relatively simple process, but it does require a bit of know-how, a few basic cleaning supplies, and a cautious approach to avoid accidentally damaging the fabric.

To learn how to safely and efficiently clean your pleated shades, read the instructions below:

Step 1: Check your shades to determine how much cleaning they need

The manner in which you will clean your shades depends on how dirty they are. Although pleated shades tend to have more difficult to clean areas than other shades due to their crimped design, most cleaning jobs don't involve more than removing built-up dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris. Shades that are installed on doors or windows that are frequently opened may require more intense cleaning to remove heavy stains or airborne particles that become embedded in the fabric.

Step 2: Check the manufacturer's cleaning instructions

All shades have specific cleaning instructions and warnings that should be followed before they're cleaned to avoid accidentally damaging or staining the fabric. Before you use water or cleaning solutions on your shades, check the manufacturer's cleaning and care instructions to find any specific cleaning directions that you should follow. These instructions ship with most shades and can be found in the original packaging. If you can't find the instructions, check the manufacturer's website or contact Blindster to get a replacement copy.

Step 3: Gather a few simple cleaning items

Cleaning pleated shades doesn't require any fancy cleaning equipment beyond a few items that you likely already have in your home. To make the job as quick and easy as possible, take the time to gather these items before you begin so that you'll have them handy as you need them. The following items are sufficient to clean almost all types of shades, including pleated shades:

Feather duster

A feather duster is the first offensive line for cleaning shades. It's highly effective at removing accumulated dirt and dust and should be used on a regular basis to keep your shades clean at all times.

Vacuum with soft brush attachment

Any dust or dirt that's left behind from your feather duster can be removed using your vacuum cleaner and its soft brush attachment. You can also use additional nozzles and attachments to clean small crevices near the headrail. If your vacuum has the option to adjust the suction power, lower it until the vacuum no longer pulls or tugs on the fabric to avoid possible damage.

Bucket with warm water and mild soap or detergent

If the cleaning instructions for your shade permit the use of water and a mild soap or detergent, combine the two in a bucket and use the mixture to gently scrub away stains and caked on dirt, dust, and other debris from the fabric. Be careful not to soak the fabric or allow any liquid to enter the headrail, as it could damage the moving parts inside.

Towels and sheets to catch falling dirt and dust

Cleaning shades that haven't been cleaned in a long time can be messy. Putting towels or sheets down underneath the window and shades can catch any falling dirt or dust and spare your floors from getting covered.

Hairdryer to quickly dry the fabric

If you have to use soap and water to clean light stains or heavy accumulations of dirt and dust from your shades, it's important that you quickly dry the fabric to avoid warping, fading, or staining. Use a hairdryer on the cool setting (no heat) to dry the fabric before any potential damage can occur.

Step 4: Start cleaning your pleated shades

With all of your cleaning items in hand, it's time to begin cleaning your pleated shades. Start with the headrail and wipe away any dirt or dust using a clean sponge or cloth dipped in your mixture of warm water and mild soap. Be sure to wring it out thoroughly before using it on your shades to keep moisture from getting inside the headrail.

Next, work your way down the fabric with the feather duster, vacuum, and soft brush attachment, and clean sponge (if necessary) to remove dirt, dust, and light stains. Apply light pressure on areas that are stained, but avoid scrubbing on deeply stained areas, as the extra pressure may damage the fabric.

Step 5: Remove your shades from the window or wall if necessary

If your shades were mounted in an area where they received frequent exposure to airborne particles, like in front an opened window or door, they may need to be removed from the window or wall itself to facilitate more thorough cleaning.

After removing the shades from the mounting brackets, fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild soap or cleaning solution to the water. Then, place your shades inside the water while making sure to keep the headrail dry.

After letting the shades soak briefly, wipe away any dirt, dust, and other debris. Once the shades are clean, remove them from the water and immediately dry the fabric with towels. Hang them up to dry outside of your bathroom to prevent possible mold growth. You can also use a hairdryer (on the cool setting) during this step to hasten the drying process.

Step 6: Stick to a regular cleaning schedule in the future

Shades that are regularly cleaned don't require much more than a dusting on a regular basis to look their best year-round. To cut down on the amount of time you spend cleaning your shades in the future, make it a habit to dust them at least twice a month for shades that are installed in rooms with light foot traffic and once a week for shades installed in rooms with heavy foot traffic.