The last few months have been kind of crazy; a mini deployment, a PCS (move), living in a hotel for almost a month and finally getting settled into our new home in sunny California! One thing I learned was how to deep clean our old house in North Dakota in preparation for the final move-out inspection. I really hate to brag, but I will! I did the move out cleaning myself and wasn’t charged
a dime, a penny!!! I credit my late father for his cleaning tips and neurotic tendencies over the years which got me to where I am today (that would have been part of my acceptance speech, if I won some kind of award for this task. Hey, a girl can dream, right?!?) So here are my cleaning tips to help you detail clean your own house: Blinds edition (specifically aluminum and vertical blinds).
I know this won’t be helpful to all of you, but might for some of you. Hopefully in the next few weeks, I can add a series of posts for cleaning kitchen appliances and a tip checklist for base housing move outs.
Tip one: Don’t stress or get overwhelmed. Hard to say this, but cleaning is very stressful and overwhelming if you look at the big picture. Also the fear that cleaning is very time consuming. I think that might be a reason why people avoid it. I recommend breaking everything up into rooms. Focus, one room at a time. Normally I maintain a pretty clean and tidy house, each day of the week I do a different, yet small task. Example: Day 1: dust, Day 2: vacuum, Day 3: wipe up sticky handprints from glass, mirrors and so on, and so on.
In our old house, I really never cleaned the blinds besides giving a quick dusting here and there whenever I had a duster out. We lived in the house for 3 years and the only set of blinds I routinely cleaned, and by routinely, I mean cleaned maybe every 6 months was the kitchen blinds. I would stare at them while cleaning dishes (aka putting dishes in dishwasher) and get grossed out due to the build up of grease/grim and dust. Seriously kitchens probably need the most attention besides bathrooms due to the grease and grim the stove and oven vent produces. If you have kitchen cabinets where there is a gap between the top and ceiling, you know where you can display decorative items. Grease, grim and dust, oh my! is real there. Tip: if you move into a rental that has that gap, and you need to deep clean the house during your final inspection/move out (most likely you live on a base) I recommend lining the top with wax paper, you will have a much easier time cleaning that mess up after. But if you need to clean that build up, all you need is water, dish soap and paper towels.
Now back to the blinds! All you need to clean your blinds is a empty spray bottle (this can be new or you can reuse an empty bottle of cleaner and rip off the label), water, white vinegar (you can get cleaning vinegar too) and microfiber clothes. I love microfiber clothes, I have a stockpile of them, they are the best! Just make sure you wash them correctly and never put them in the dryer, all they need to do is air dry for a few hours. For the vinegar solution, very simple, 1 part vinegar to 1 part water into the spray bottle and give a little shake. I use this cleaner a lot, it is amazing to get rid of hard water deposits, if you have a fridge with a water/ice dispenser.
First you want to get rid of any dust; you can use a duster or if it is a lot of buildup (my bedroom blinds were bad, since our bed didn’t fit in the room and had to block the lower part of the windows) use a vacuum, and vacuum the entire window (blinds and frame). Next with the blinds down and closed, spray the blinds with the vinegar cleaner. Open the blinds so the blades are parallel, now starting from the top left or right side and with the microfiber cloth in your hand (kind of like a sock puppet), run the cloth across each blade, so your thumb running along the bottom and your other fingers running along the top. Do that to each blade working your way down. After you finish one side, work your way down the middle section(s), top to bottom, then the other side, top to bottom. With cleaning you always want to work top to bottom. If at any point you feel like you need more of the vinegar cleaner, DO NOT spray the blinds, spray the microfiber cloth then run with your hand along the blades. If the wand or cord gets in your way, just carefully tuck it behind the blinds. After you are done, close the blinds and inspect if there was any little spots you missed, then pull the blinds all the way up. I recommend if you are cleaning for an inspection, keep the blinds up until the inspection is complete, this will minimize dust build up and you can do this days or even weeks in advance like I did. (Note: I did that for all the downstairs rooms, I ended up doing the bedrooms and bathroom during the move out process. I didn’t want to put on a show for the neighbors, if you know what I mean.)
To clean the actual window, I just spray the frame again with the vinegar solution and wipe away with the cloth. Don’t forget to wipe down the window molding (if you have) especially the top. Now if you have any hard to reach spots, you can use an old or cheap toothbrush. I bought a bunch of inexpensive toothbrushes and wrapped masking tape around the handle, so everyone knew that wasn’t a teeth cleaning brush. Seriously who the heck would use a toothbrush in the mouth that had masking tape around the handle…Although I did catch my 3 year old brushing the bathtub with her toothbrush…At least she was cleaning, ehh?
After the frame is clean, you can clean the window. I recommend Glass Plus, I’ve tested a lot of glass cleaners and Glass Plus seems to work best for me. So spray the window with glass cleaner and wipe away with a clean microfiber cloth.
If you want to get crazy, like narcotic crazy, you may notice some scuff marks on the inside of the framing where the blinds would run down and hit the side. They are pretty hard to wipe off, I would recommend my favorite cleaning product, which in my eyes in an All-Star, Campanelli’s Cleaning Paste. Some will say this is kind of pricey, but it works wonders for every room of the house, plus a little goes a long way. Works amazing on rust stains in the shower. Just dab a bit of the paste with a paper towel and rub onto the framing. After spray a paper towel with some vinegar cleaner and wipe clean any excess paste. That’s it! You are done and have a clean window and blinds.
Don’t feel you have to clean every blind in your house in one day. Do a window a day, it can be tiring, but your arms will get a work out!
Cleaning Your Blinds
Vinegar Cleaning Spray (1 part vinegar, 1 part water)
Glass Cleaner, such as Glass Plus
Rubber Gloves (if you don’t want to get your hands dirty)
Campanelli’s Cleaning Paste
- Remove any dust on the blinds, frame and molding with a duster or vacuum
- Pull down blinds and close them, spray entire blinds with vinegar cleaner, open blinds so they are parallel.
- Start from one of the side sections and working your way top to bottom, with the microfiber cloth in your hand, wipe each blind individually. Your thumb running along the bottom of the blade and your other fingers running over the top. After completing the side section, repeat with the middle section(s), top to bottom and then last side section, top to bottom. Close blinds and wipe away any dust you might have missed. Pull up blinds.
- Spray window frame with vinegar cleaner. Wipe down frame, use an old toothbrush if needed to dust and wipe away those hard to reach spots. Open window, and spray and wipe the window board.
- Spray window glass with glass cleaner and wipe down with a clean microfiber cloth.
- Optional, if you feel the need to clean the sides of the frame where the blinds run down, there may be some scuff marks. Dab a paper towel in the green cleaning paste and wipe away the scuff marks. After spray a paper towel with the vinegar cleaner and wipe away any excess green paste.
***Note: I recommend testing the green paste on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface. I never had this problem, but always a good idea to test first.***
Coming soon: How to clean kitchen appliances. Woohoo!!!