Regular cleaning and upkeep will help to keep your blinds and shutters looking as good as new. Here is expert advice on how to clean blinds.
Know your blinds
First and foremost it’s important to learn as much as you can about your blinds (Apollo Blinds provides an aftercare document with every purchase with tips on how to care for your blinds). Have a basic understanding of the type of washing each type of blind can withstand – some blinds are washable, where others can’t endure any water.
Little and often
As with everything, regular housekeeping is a must for keeping your blinds looking good. A little cleaning (done often) will limit the need for a major facelift, which can be awkward and time consuming.
The right tools for the job
There are some tools that you may not have thought of, which are perfectly suited for sprucing up your blinds:
You must dust (really you must)
Yes, there are a million other things you could be doing, but giving your blinds the weekly once-over will stop dust building up and limit the potential for stains and dirty marks, which are trickier to remove.
Vacuum your blinds every couple of months using the upholstery attachment of your cleaner. About twice a year you will need to give them a more thorough going over. Gently rub them from end to end with a micro fibre cloth.
Avoid chemical nasties
Warm water and a mild detergent should be sufficient for most types of window blind as harsh chemicals can damage delicate material. Be careful not to drench your blinds as this can cause discolouration and distort wooden blinds.
Pick washable wallpaper
How washable a wallpaper is can be found on most wallpaper websites in the ‘product summary’ section or on the packaging. Look out for vinyl/acrylic covered wallpaper as this can be scrubbed with mild detergents and is more hardwearing than plain-paper wallpaper.
Look for the labels
Before going at the walls with a scrubbing brush, check the instructions that came with the wallpaper. All of www.iwantwallpaper.co.uk’s products are supplied with easy to follow symbols that signify how to clean them, cleaning agents to use and even how much pressure to apply (information is also listed alongside products on the website).
These range from ‘spongeable’ (only dab fresh paste off when hanging the paper when it’s still wet), to ‘highly scrubbable’ (scrub using mild detergents to remove oils and other tough stains). For more details about ‘washability’ and ‘scrubbability’ head to I Want Wallpaper’s wallpaper symbols guide.
Dust or vacuum the walls
A weekly going over with the duster will keep walls looking fresh and limit the accumulation of cobwebs and ‘dust bunnies’ (fluffy clumps of dust particles) that tend to gather on walls. Use a feather duster with a long handle or alternatively vacuum with the cleaner attachment for hard to reach areas. Try not to press on the wall with the vacuum extension so as not to leave a mark or transfer dirt. Always vac or dust the walls prior to washing them.
Get everything you need ready before starting to clean
Tool up with the following items before beginning:
Ladder (free standing is best so as not to damage wallpaper when leaning it against the wall)
Plastic/cloth sheet (Line the floor and nearby furniture with a large sheet (preferably plastic), in case of drips, dust or spillages)
Bucket of clean water
Bucket of water with mild detergent
Plain, clean sponge
Do a patch test
Find a discreet spot and test the cleaning solution to avoid costly damage.
Too much detergent can actually attract dirt and leave stains. Similarly, too much water can damage the paper and leave water marks. Dip the sponge in the soapy water and wring out excess moisture until the sponge is just slightly damp.
Start at the top left corner and wipe the wall with soapy water using gentle downward motions being careful to avoid loosening or ripping conjoining edges. After cleaning a strip, use the bucket filled with clean water (and the fresh cloth) to remove excess soap. Clean from top to bottom (to avoid drips) and work across the wall from left to right. Rinse the sponges and change the water regularly, so as not to just move dirt around.
Dry each section with a towel as you go. Using a towel will gently absorb any leftover moisture and limit the risk of water marks.
Even scrubbable papers need a soft touch – it’s paper after all. Avoid bleach or harsh cleaning solutions. Similarly, abrasive products like hard-bristle brushes may be too coarse for this job. Gentle downward motions will be effective enough to clean off the majority of dirt/stains.
And for hard to shift stains…
Try these WALLPAPER HACKS to remove tougher stains but always remember to spot-check first.
Scuffs: There are a number of methods for using scuff marks – an eraser being one of the most effective. Baking soda/water can also be used but is slightly abrasive so always test it first.
Grease: Talcum powder can absorb grease stains on non-vinyl wallpaper (simply apply and leave for five mins then brush away)
Alternatively, a low-heat iron applied over paper towels should soak up the stain.
Food: Gently scrape away food that has stuck to the wallpaper. For more persistent stains, gently rub with a toothbrush dipped in detergent.
Crayon: Scrape away crayon with a blunt knife. Use the iron and paper towel technique to lift more stubborn marks.
Ink: Baby wipes should remove the ink from washable markers
Gently rub baking soda and water onto non-washable ink.
Rubbing alcohol or silver polish can be used on very durable wallpapers.
Fingerprints: An eraser should rub the stain away with minimal pressure.
Rugs are a great addition to homes, and one of their jobs is to protect floors and carpets. This also means rugs fibres can harbour millions of microorganisms – unsurprising considering they’re subject to dirty shoes, spills and in some cases pets.
Without regular cleaning, mould spores and pollen particles can collect in rug fibres, as well as dust mites (microscopic creatures that can worsen allergic symptoms). So, it’s safe to say there may be more than just a bug in your rug if left uncleaned.
Regular maintenance and these easy cleaning hacks can keep rugs fresh and looking great.
Running the vacuum cleaner over a rug at least once a week is important to keep it clean and fresh. Vacuuming will prevent dirt from becoming ‘trodden in’ and stop it from working deep down into the pile of the rug, where it’s much harder to remove.
Before setting to work with the vac, give the rug a shake to remove any loose grit or dirt that is trapped within the fibres – these can then be picked up by the vacuum.
Suction only vacuum cleaners are preferable to rotary brush or upright vacuum cleaners which can sometime damage to the surface of the pile and fray the edges of rugs.
Avoid vacuum brushes as they can break up the yarns and create excessive shedding -considerably reducing the life of a rug. Vacuum brushes will also damage the whipping on the edges of the rug due to the change in height between the rug and the floor. Use the nozzle attachment to lightly vacuum the rug to remove any surface dust and loose yarns.
There are anti-bacterial powders that can be sprinkled onto rugs to rid them of germs but always test on a small section first.
And don’t forget the underside – vacuum the backing of the rug once a month to remove trapped dust, dirt, allergens and bacteria.
This video courtesy of The Rug Seller is really useful
Deal with Spillages Immediately
It’s important to soak up liquids quickly to ensure they don’t penetrate into the yarns of a rug.
Dampen a white, cotton cloth and blot the area. Repeat the process until all the liquid has been absorbed. Be careful not to rub as this will damage the surface of the rug. Alternatively, a cloth can be placed on top of the area and left to absorb the spillage.
Always make sure the rug is completely dried (this takes about three to four hours) before placing back on your floor. There’s more advice in this video
Certain types of rugs will stand up to stains better than others. Manmade fibres are more repellent to stains. Nylon rugs can be steam cleaned. There are also water resistant and wipe clean rugs.
A mixture of equal parts white wine vinegar and washing up liquid and warm water should remove stains like coffee, red wine and mud. Mud should be left to dry and vacuumed first.
Stubborn stains should be removed by specialist cleaning companies who will have the experience and knowledge of how to deal with the problem
Try a Washable Rug
Believe it or not there are rugs available that can be machine washed. Buddy rugs are stain resistant, anti-shed and colour fast with a non-slip backing. They are fully machine washable at 40 degrees and quick drying so they retain their shape after washing. There’s a range of shapes, sizes and colours available.
Protect from Pets
Pets love rugs, but rugs don’t always love pets. Animal hair, chewing, scratching and other little ‘accidents’ can ruin a rug, but there are steps to take to reduce damage from furry friends.
Choose a rug that’s suitable for animal owners. Dogs love to dig in a high pile rug so short pile rugs are preferable (and easier to clean). Dark colours will hide stains and scratches. Soak up any ‘accidents’ with newspaper and be sure to place the soiled paper in the litter tray to signify the place where a pet should urinate. Rinse clean with cool water and blot to remove excess moisture.
Washing bedding should be an essential part of a Spring Clean for a healthier home and a better night’s sleep.
Washable bedding has been developed to withstand regular washing, in standard domestic washing machines, even at 60oC. They don’t lose any warmth, quality or comfort.
Wash Duvets Every Six Months
The Fine Bedding Company recommends that duvets should be washed every six months, or once a year at the very least. Making it part of a spring and autumn clean is an ideal reminder to do this. We recommend larger togs and sizes, e.g.13.5 tog king and superking size duvets, be washed in a large capacity machine (the majority of modern washing machines now have a high capacity drum as standard). Just make sure there is enough room for the duvet to move around a bit inside the drum to allow the fabric cover and fibres to agitate inside and get thoroughly clean.
Wash At 60oC
Dust mites are one of the biggest bed nasties – microscopic mites that can be present in their thousands living on the constant supply of dead skin cells. These can aggravate allergies; dust mites can easily result in irritated skin and eyes and for those with allergies and for anyone with asthma, dust mites can make symptoms worse.
Washing helps cleanse the entire product (filling and cover) of any accumulated dirt, moisture and dust. More importantly, washing at 60oC kills dust mites.
Use Less Detergent
Also it’s wise to use about one third of your usual amount of detergent.
Shake It Out
Shake out the duvet while it’s damp to redistribute the filling evenly and dry products as quickly as possible. Drying on a warm sunny day is ideal or pop into a domestic dryer.
Wash Pillows Every Three Months
No one wants to snuggle their head into a pillow that’s stained or even flecked with mildew. The Fine Bedding Company recommends that pillows are washed more frequently than duvets, around four times a year – or every three months. Most pillows that are filled with synthetic fibres can usually be machine-washed at 40oC or 60oC.
Adding a pillow protector can help to prolong the need to wash the actual pillow itself and these can be washed frequently and easily.
Always Check The Care Label
Always check the care label pillows and natural pillows typically require professional cleaning.
Natural Feather & Down Duvets and Pillows
Natural filled products can not be washed and dried at home, regardless of the capacity or capability of the machine. Most dry cleaners will launder natural fill bedding. Also it is essential that natural duvets be thoroughly dried. Even though a duvet may feel dry to the touch, the filling inside often holds on to moisture so if the duvet is not dried properly, rotting of the filling can occur.