It’s often easy to forget how much lighter a room can be after simply having its windows cleaned, but ask yourself this, when was the last time you did this? This is also true for drapes and blinds because these can easily become dust magnets to the world outside and so whenever they are flung open to let in the morning sunshine, a dust cloud fills the air. That means there’s only one thing to do and that’s start doing some window dressing.
Do you remember our handy homemade multi-purpose cleaner? Simply spray this onto the panes and frames and then wipe them dry with a clean cloth. This is 3 parts water to a ½-part baking soda / ½-part white-vinegar solution should do t he job.
If your windows are very grimy, however, try the following:
Sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp dishcloth or towel, then wipe over the window. Leave for a few minutes, fill a bucket with clean hot water, dip in a sponge or cloth and then rinse off the soda with it.
Next, pour equal parts of water to white vinegar into a spray bottle, give it a good shake, and then squirt your windows with the solution.
Wipe dry with a clean cloth or paper towels and leave the gl ass to air for a while.
When bone dry, buff over the panes with a soft chamois cloth or a clean chalkboard eraser. This will leave your window sparklingly clear!
If after washing, some streaking remains, you’ll probably find that it’s not the fault of the vinegar or the soda, but most likely the result of using commercial cleaners. These cleaners contain wax and so previous applications of these products to your windows can leave them covered with greasy deposits.
To rid of these completely, simply repeat the above steps until gone. Your windows will never be smeary again – unless you decide to continue using commercial products, of course!
For the purpose of this, you are going to make your own bucket of non-freezing cleaning solution. The recipe is one tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Dip in a clean cloth and wipe your windows with it.
To remove hard water stains, apply neat white vinegar onto a clean dry cloth, then rub away at the affected windowpane until clear of deposits. Once done, immediately and thoroughly rinse off the window to stop the acid in the vinegar damaging the glass and frame.
Don’t get a ladder, or step on a pile of books or invest in mountaineering gear, invest instead in a micro-fiber window washer set. These often come with a telescopic pole on top of which you mount your micro-fiber cleaning cloth. All you do is damp the cloth a little and while holding it up to the panes with the pole, wipe away at those hard to reach windows. The attachments are also fitted with a sponge squeegee for you to mop away any excess water.
You won’t clear off quite as much dirt as a professional with a ladder, but your windows would certainly be much improved.
Micro-fiber cloths are also great for wiping over all type of glass, as well as LCD TVs and computer screens, so they are certainly worth the investment. There will be more about these handy little cloths later in this book!
Never wash your windows while the sun is shining on them because they will dry too quickly and could leave streaks.
Always polish windows using vertical strokes on one side and horizontal strokes on the other to tell which side needs a little extra work.
I always dry-clean mine. Though the outer fabric may be OK to wash, the chances are the inner lining won’t be, so you’ll ruin them if you try.
Even in the unlikely event the drape’s care tag states they are safe to wash, always test a small patch in a bowl of warm water and detergent to see if the color bleeds. If it does – don’t believe the label – dry-clean them only!
If you are – ahem – “brave” enough, give them a thorough dusting and make sure all the pins, hangers, and other paraphernalia are removed from your drapes before ruining – oops, sorry – washing them.
You can save a lot on your dry cleaning bills, however, with a little weekly vacuuming! Here’s the best way to do it!
Gently tug the bottom of your drapes to open the pleats. Using the brush attachment, vacuum each panel at a low setting. Pay special attention to the bottom part of the drape as this is a dust trap! For delicate or loose fabrics, hold the brush about an inch away to avoid pulling.
To remove pet smudges, dab a clean toothbrush into a little baking soda or baby powder and gently scrub the dirt away.
This will work for all types, including aluminium, plastic, steel, and even wood. The wooden ones should be the same as wood flooring, which means they should be sealed and not waxed (remember the floor).
Firstly, with the blinds closed, give them a thorough vacuuming on both sides with the brush attachment. If you’re feeling particularly “risqué”, you could carefully wipe your hand over them first while wearing a soft cotton glove! Overall, this is probably all you’ll need to do if they are cleaned regularly.
If they do get dirty, however, here’s what you do.
In a bucket, mix a few capfuls of dishwashing fluid and water. Dip in a rag and ring it out thoroughly until damp but not wet. One thing you don’t want to do is apply the solution directly to the blind.
With the blinds closed working a slat at a time, wipe each one with the damp rag. Use a dry towel to soak up excess water as you go. Then flip the blinds and repeat the other side.
To clean the cord, pull the blinds right up to fully extend the cord and then wipe this up and down once with the rag. Then repeat this with the dry towel.
For really mucky blinds, get them dry-cleaned; otherwise, you could easily damage them or mess up the vertical alignment so they’ll never close again properly.
If you are going to give them a clean, however, never take them down, but instead leave them hanging.
The first step is to vacuum the slats gently using the brush attachment to suck up any dust and debris. It is important to use the brush because it stops the vacuum pulling on the blinds. Start at the top and brush in a downward direction only. Upward brushing unhooks the slats!
If they are still a little dirty, wash off any spots with dishwashing fluid as described earlier for venetian blinds, but as with vacuuming, work only in a downwards direction.
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