The First-Aid Staple You Want To Reach For When Cleaning Vertical Blinds

Though their up-and-down construction means they won't get as dirty as horizontal blinds, that doesn't mean vertical blinds don't need a cleaning every now and then, too. As with anything in a home, the slats of vertical blinds attract dust, and over time, buildup can occur. Not to mention, the headrail of vertical blinds is a dust collector, and since it's so high up (to the ceiling), it often gets overlooked in spot cleanings. When you're ready for a deeper clean, however, you'll want to take down your vertical blind slats so you can really reach that headrail. What's more, you may want to employ the power of a handy first-aid staple: rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is a type of natural liquid made from either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, though most products in your bathroom are going to be isopropyl. Look for those products with an alcohol concentration of at least 70% to be effective at not only cleaning but also removing the bacteria and virus droplets that can linger on your blinds (especially if someone in that room has been sick for a while).

How to clean vertical blinds with rubbing alcohol

That small bottle of rubbing alcohol and all those vertical blind slats may seem like a big project in itself, but you don't need much of the liquid to create a like-new look. To start, you'll want to take down each slat. Unlike horizontal blinds, you can easily pop off vertical blind slats and clean them on a flat surface. Once all the slats are removed, use a step ladder to reach the top of the headrail and clean it well with a microfiber cloth.

Next, clean your vertical blind slats (vanes). If your vertical blinds have any significant buildup on them, like a lot of pet hair (from static electricity) or dust, it can help to run a small handheld vacuum or attachment hose linked to your larger vacuum over the surface to start. This is not typically necessary but can help if it's been a while since you cleaned your blinds.

Now, mix up some rubbing alcohol cleaning mixture by using a 1:1 ratio of water to rubbing alcohol. You don't need much to clean blinds. You can put this into a spray bottle if you like, or simply dab a clean microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution and go. It doesn't have to be too wet to work well (you don't want a dripping mess as you're cleaning the blinds, after all). Once done and the slats are dry, hang them back up by their slots on the top rail's hooks.

A few tips and warnings for using rubbing alcohol

Before getting started, keep a few things in mind. Rubbing alcohol isn't safe to mix with bleach as this creates dangerous gases. If you need to add a bit more cleaning power to your mixture, you can add mild dish soap to the mix (generally, just a few drops is all it takes). You can also add a bit of ammonia to this mixture.

In order to disinfect, the mixture needs to be a 50:50 blend of rubbing alcohol (that has a concentration of alcohol of 70 to 85%, and not higher) and water. Anything outside of this leads to a loss of disinfecting power. Also, note that you shouldn't use rubbing alcohol in any way on wood products, so if you have wood vertical blinds, you'll want to look into another cleaner other than the first-aid staple.

Finally, if your child managed to color on those vertical blinds with a permanent marker or wrote their name on the blinds using ink, rubbing alcohol may be able to help with removal. It's an excellent stain remover when you can soak the item with the solution and allow it to sit for a few minutes.