In general, appropriate cleaning methods for window coverings can vary depending on the type of window treatment and composition. Some of our products are washable, others dry cleanable, and numerous ones can be spot cleaned to remove accumulated dirt or fingerprints.
Cleanability is a definite and important consideration before you select your window coverings. American Draperies & Blinds, Inc. specially engineers the construction of our products for extraordinary long-term durability. Therefore, when purchasing drapes and blinds from us, be sure to plan on how you will clean them over the many years our products will last. Time efficiency with cleaning and maintenance costs should be some factors to review before making your purchase. Our customers can expect to receive well-built American Made drapes and blinds that are cleanable and easy to maintain.
A. Dry cleanable only. Some drape and curtain fabrics can only be dry cleaned because of their content and composition. For example, rayon or cotton/rayon fabrics should not be subjected to washing. The quality of this material requires that these drapes be dry cleaned. This type of cleaning method is typically a more gentle process than washing. Moreover, the drapes we produce here at American Draperies and Blinds, Inc. are hand selected to withstand repeated cleanings without losing their form, appearance, or the integrity of their seams.
However, the best results with dry cleaning draperies are usually achieved by carefully choosing a reputable cleaner who either specializes in drapes or has significant experience in cleaning window treatments. Store front cleaners often accept many of the materials you bring in to them with some obvious exceptions, e.g. leather, etc. But, many times businesses with drape cleaning expertise use special equipment and protocols that yield best results. That is, dry cleaning drapes and curtains is different from the way apparel goods are cleaned. Be sure to ask qualifying questions of a dry cleaner such as: 1) do you clean the drapes/curtains yourself right here at your own establishment or do you outsource the work to others; 2) what equipment do you have on site to clean drapes; 3) what exact temperature cycles do you run them on (note: exposure to severe heat is the chief culprit in damaging drapes) since drape/curtain cleaning should be typically under 140 degrees; 4) when you clean drapes, do you cycle them on underweight loads; 5) do you remove them from the damper as soon as the cycle is complete; 6) any problems with length shrinkage or can the cleaner clamp the drape product down?
These are just some of the questions you can ask to determine experience in cleaning drapes.
B. Washable. These types of drapes offer several distinct advantages over fabrics that require dry cleaning. First, any drapery shrinkage concerns regarding preserving the height of your window treatments can be minimized or eliminated by using washable fabrics. The composition of these fabrics provides very stable drapes and curtain products. Since all cotton drapes tend to sometimes shrink, washable fabrics eliminate this concern. Second, washable drape fabrics frequently last many years longer than other materials, sometimes 5 to 10 years longer than other drapes. Durability is actually one of the key advantages of buying washable drapes. Third, spot cleaning washable drapes is both labor and cost efficient. To "spot clean" means to simply take a damp cloth with water or very mild soap, wring the rag out tightly to eliminate excess moisture, and blot (not rub) the dirt or marks. This action, with the exception of oil or grease, should remove most visible dirt on a drape. There are also safe "spray on" fabric fresheners you can use to give your drapes that extra clean touch. Obviously, these quick cleaning methods reduces typical dry cleaning costs incurred. Fourth, at American Draperies & Blinds, Inc., we are so confident in our skilled workers and finished drapes that we offer a Lifetime Warranty on all of the sewing and workmanship of our washable drapes.
Preferred Washing Instructions:
For the very best results when washing drapes, be sure to follow these basic steps:
1. Wash the drapes by themselves.
2. Do not pack the washer tightly with several drapes; run them on under weight loads.
3. Cold water only; never wash drapes in hot water.
4. Run on gentle cycle and not heavy or normal cycles.
5. Do not place drapes in a dryer.
Remove drapes while still damp from the washing machine.
Hang drapes up and allow them to "drip dry"
6. Shaping/forming pleats by hand
Starting at the tops of the pleats (folds on the drape), run your hands sandwiched together (with each pleat between your hands) all the way down the drape to the bottom
This action should re-form the pleats on your washed drapes back into smooth even folds
A. Types of mini-blinds. There are several diverse classifications of horizontal mini-blinds requiring varying approaches for cleaning. In fact, the composition of the mini-blinds is the primary criteria in determining how to effectively clean them. The following short list and accompanying steps should cover most blinds:
i. Aluminum and Vinyl Horizontal Mini-Blinds – Basically, these types of blinds can be cleaned in the same way. You can choose to either clean them yourself, which is relatively easy or outsource them to a professional cleaning service. Of course, your decision will probably be based, in part, on the quantity of blinds needing cleaning and frequency.
Cleaning them yourself:
1. Remove the mini-blinds from the windows; leave the brackets in place in the window casings (openings)
2. Using a bathtub, add a gentle cleaning solution such as "Simple Green" or "TSP." However, do not use these products at full strength; instead dilute them with water.
3. Next, submerge the mini-blinds in about 6" of warm (not hot) water.
4. Let the blinds soak in the cleaning solution for about 10 minutes.
5. Use a sponge or soft cloth to lightly rub the surfaces, headrail, and slats.
6. Drain the tub.
7. Rinse off the blinds or re-fill the tub with clean water.
8. Drying them – damp dry with a towel or let nature do its job by placing them back into the windows, turn the slats into the open position, open the window and air dry them.
ii. Wood Horizontal Mini-Blinds
1. The selection of the species of wood, the drying process using a kiln to wick out any moisture, and the multi-step procedure to paint or stain the product, all make wood a very resilient form of mini blinds.
2. However, unlike horizontal aluminum or vinyl blinds, custom wood blinds should never be submerged directly into water. Our wood blinds are similar to fine furniture in both craftsmanship and wood quality.
3. Therefore, the steps to properly clean this type of window covering product are exactly as follows:
A. The blinds should remain fixed or bracketed in the window casings. Do not remove the blinds from the window areas.
B. Make sure the blinds are lowered into place so that they cover the entire window.
C. Turn the baton or pull the cords adjacent to the blind to make sure the slats are turned to the open position. The open position means there is visible space between each slat and you can clearly see through them to the outside.
D. Use a pail filled with warm (not hot) water. Add a mild soap; example: a natural or organic all-purpose cleaning solution; or a product concentrate called Simple Green that you dilute before adding it to the water; or TSP granules that, again, you dilute before adding to the water.
E. Dip a sponge, wring it tight and lightly wipe over all slats and surfaces of the blinds. Headrails and slats are the biggest areas of exposure. Next, and sometimes harder to clean, are the ladder areas that hold the wood slats on the custom cloth tapes that cover the slat ladders.
Note: The most difficult thing to remove from cords or cloth section of blinds is where heavy tobacco smoking occurs in the rooms with blinds. Sometimes these stains and discoloration cannot be removed.
1. Either cloth dry by run a soft cloth over all damp surfaces; o
2. Open the window completely while the mini-blind slats remain in the open position to air dry
A. There are two basic methods of cleaning vertical blinds; first, you can remove the louvers/vanes and clean them separately; or second, you can chose to clean the verticals while they remain affixed and mounted in the windows.
B. Let's start by removing the louver/vanes from the attachment clips hanging down from the mounted headrail. These clips can be gently pulled apart so the vanes are released. You can either do this by hand, with a screwdriver, or even a credit card will work, but, be sure to do so carefully so you don't snap or shatter the attachment clips by splitting them too far apart. If they should break for any reason, we can furnish you with replacement ones if they are the products of American Draperies & Blinds, Inc.
C. Next, for vertical blinds' vanes, follow the same instructions noted above for aluminum or vinyl horizontal mini blinds. Fill a bathtub with warm water, and a gentle or diluted cleaning solution, rub each vane/louver down with a sponge or rag. Drain the tub and refill with clean water to wash off any soap. Towel dry or re-hang the vanes back on the vertical blind, open the window, and air dry.
D. Cleaning the louvers/vanes while still affixed to the vertical headrail
Use the same type of gentle or diluted cleaning solution we discussed previously; pour into a pail.
Use a sponge or cloth that you wring out to wipe away excess moisture.
Rub the headrail down, then each side of the louvers top to bottom until you complete the entire process.
Broadly, this falls into two categories of outsourcing to cleaning companies. "Mobile cleaning units" provide on site service which is fast and convenient. They either remove and reinstall the window coverings themselves as part of their services or ask you to have them pulled down and ready. Mobile units can also perform minor repairs to replace mechanisms or broken cords. "offsite cleaning companies" perform the cleaning and repair functions at their own facilities. This service is not as instant as a mobile service unit, but, can offer other definite advantages. For example, the offsite cleaning facility can provide more extensive repairs, because they have the parts and equipment available to better handle bulk or large quantity cleaning, and accommodate elongated blinds. This type of company can also remove and reinstall the blinds for you.
Tips when you outsource cleaning your blinds:
1. Inspect your blinds carefully, noting any damage before allowing them to clean your blinds. Keep a written record.
a. Code, mark, or put a "placement" label inside each headrail so you will easily remember where each blinds goes when you can later receive back from the cleaner.
i. Be as specific as possible notating both the room and the actual window each blind goes into; keep a record for easy placement when they are returned.
ii. State clearly your expectations and consider these questions:
1. If slats are crimped or bent, will they replace them or just clean them?
2. Can they repair your specific problem?
3. IMPORTANT: Do they carry the same parts for your brand blind? If not, it will be very difficult to repair blinds with dissimilar parts?
The aforementioned instructions are applicable in most situations. Remember, because American Draperies & Blinds, Inc. makes window treatments to last for decades, you should expect both durability and cleanability from our products.
Feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding cleaning your drapes or blinds at at 1-800-232-9600.