Within the major catagories, there are many different types of blinds/shades. To make it even more confusing, the name of the shade can sometimes depend upon the fabricator/distributor of the shade. To help you learn more about the type of blind that you may have, we are including descriptions and pictures.
Wood Blinds, with the exception of wood mini-blinds (1 inch), have slats that range in width from 2-3 inches. These are made from natural woods, composites, plastic, and metal. They have cords to raise, lower and tilt the slats. Some have rods that tilt the slats. These blinds are heavy, but some of them are made with three on one headrail, a nightmare for the cleaner. The larger the size of these blinds makes them difficult to manage when taking them down for cleaning. The composits, plastic, and metal may be cleaned with water, making the ultrasonic process ideal for cleaning.
Natural Wood Blinds absorb water through the cut ends and where the string goes through the slats. If natural wood blinds are put into water, the warranty may be voided. Hand cleaning is recommended.
Shutters are made of natural wood, composits, and plastic. Shutters are fixtures in the window and not easily removed. Hand cleaning is recommended.
Honeycombed/Cellular Duettes (Hunter Douglas) Crystal Pleats (Graber) Diamond Cells (Bali)
Honeycombed/cellular Shades are made from fabric. They may have single, double, or triple rows of cells which is a solar energy reduction advantage. The fabric may look similar to a coffee filter, and others are made of a wide variety of colorful sheer and solid fabrics. The cells may be ½ inch or ¾ inch in diameter. They raise or lower with either a manual operation, cord loop or electronicly. Cords should be anchored to the window frame as a safety feature. While many of these shades may be ultrasonically cleaned, some room darkening fabrics need special care as noted below. A certified blind cleaner will know which method and chemicals are safe to use. Older shades, due to degrading of the glue lines that hold the cells together or sun rotting of the fabric may not be safe to clean.
They have optional features, such as top down/bottom up and room darkening. The room darkening shades have a laminated layer inside the cell wall. Injection/extraction with special dry cleaning chemicals (not immersion in water) is recommended for the shades that have the foil type room darkening feature. Otherwise the ultrasonic process may be used.
Pleated shades are a single fabric with an accordion appearance that may have a solar coating on one side. They come in a wide variety of fabrics and have cords. Cords are long when the shade is pulled to the top, so if you have small children or pets, it may be best to place a cord cleat on the wall. Once the shade is where you want it, you simply wrap the cord around the cleat. This shade may be cleaned with ultrasonics or with the injection/extraction method. If there is a solar or room darkening laminate on the shade, it needs special treatment. The certified technician will know what to do.
Vertical Blinds (Plastic/Vinyl)
Most of us are familiar with plastic/vinyl blinds. The slats approximately 4 inches wide hang from the top of the window to the floor. These have a variety of options. Some of them have colorful fabric inserts that range from macramé to silk. These may be ultrasonically cleaned or cleaned by hand. The inserts depending on the type of fabric may need to be cleaned by injection/extraction with appropriate chemicals.
Vertical Blinds (Fabric)
These blinds have fabric slats that have been stiffened with a substance to keep them from curling and may have small weights in the bottom. These may be ultrasonically cleaned depending on the type of fabric, or with intrusion/extraction and appropriate chemicals. Some verticals have a chain attached to the bottom of the slats.
Silhouette or Nantucket (Hunter Douglas) Shangri La (Comfortex)
A Silhouette has horizontal fabric slats 2-3 inches wide with sheer fabric attached to the front and back sides of each slat. These have a number of different options, such as room darkening laminated to the slats. There are a wide variety of different colors and fabrics. These may be successfully cleaned with ultrasonics and injection/extraction. It is important for the cleaner to know exactly what style Silhouette you have, because all of these styles cannot be cleaned with the above methods. For example: the Bon Soir Silhouette has to have special treatment and may be cleaned with injection/extraction using appropriate chemicals. Ultrasonic cleaning will void the warranty of the Bon Soir and damage its structure.
Roller Shades/Screen Shades
Roller Shades/Screen Shades (manufacturer made or designer made) are generally flat shades with a spring mechanism like old fashioned shades. These are cordless. You have a choice of multiple fabrics, colors, and styles. With designer made roller shades you have an even wider choice of fabrics. Some have a valance. These may be cleaned with ultrasonics or injection/extraction. The trick here is to know exactly which type of fabric was used—natural or synthetic. Most manufacturers use synthetic, but there could be exceptions. Designer made shades are usually natural fabrics, but once again there could be exceptions.
Roman Shades (manufacturer made or designer made) have a soft appearance of overlapping fabric loops. They have multiple cords that are gathered together into one cord to raise and lower the treatment. For safety reasons a cord cleat is used to keep small children and pets from becoming entangled in the cords. If these shades are designer made it is more likely to need intrustion/extraction and special chemicals for cleaning. This of course depends on the natural or synthetic fibers in the fabric. Otherwise if they are made from synthetic fabric may be cleaned with ultrasonics.
The Luminette looks like a vertical blind with fabric slats and a sheer fabric attached to the front edge of each slat. The top of the shade has been stiffened to allow the shade to have a graceful convex shape at the top between each set of slats. These pull from the center, or either side. Ultrasonic or injection/extraction methods may be used to clean these shades. These expensive shades do need special handling and may need special treatments for cleaning. The certified cleaner will know which method to use and exactly how to handle the treatments.
Sheer draperies made from a synthetic fabric, and all most all of them are synthetic, either ultrasonic or injection/extraction methods may be used to clean them, depending upon the condition of the buckrum (stiffning fabric in the pleats and header). These may be cleaned by gental machine washing or by hand, however special handling must be used. A very large sheer is more difficult to handle when washing by hand or machine.
All draperies can be safely dry cleaned. Wet cleaning a fabric that is not pre-shrunk or that has mixed fiber content can lead to trouble, not to mention potential bleeding of dyes. With fabrics today, it can be difficult to determine the fiber content of the fabric. Injection/extraction is the method of choice if you want to avoid issues with shrinkage or damage to fragile fibers.
Natural Shades (grass or woven wood)
These beautiful shades made of long grass fibers or small pieces of woven woods may be cleaned. Allow the discretion of the certified technician the option of choosing the method. Due to the wide variety of woods and grass materials that are used as well as the types of cords or fibers used to bind them together the best cleaning method depends upon several factors.
These metal, wood, and plastic blinds have slats that range from ½ inch to 1 inch in width. Within each category are many different choices in color and style. Updated mini-blinds may have cords or a manual cordless mechanism, or electronic remotes to raise, lower and tilt the slats. They have valances made of the same slats and held on with valance clips, or the valance may be made as part of the blind and has a wide top treatment with perhaps a fabric insert. These may be cleaned with water and the ultrasonic process is ideal for this style
GENERAL DESCRIPTIONS OF BLINDS AND SHADES
. IN RELATION TO CLEANING
The purpose of this article is to give the prospective consumer a summary of what is available on the market today
and a brief summary of cleaning methods. Please bear in mind that each manufacturer has
their own version of each of the shades mentioned.