My name is Margaret Applegate, before retiring, I owned and operated a blind and drapery cleaning business for 12 years. My story may explain to you some of the problems with do-it-yourself blind cleaning. It is my hope that should you decide to clean your own blinds, this information will help you avoid some of the problems I encountered. This is a true story. There was no need for embellishment.
Before starting my blind cleaning business, I had been working in for a contractor in support of the Space Program in Houston, TX. As a result of a hostile takeover and restructuring I was one of a large number of employees who found themselves suddenly unemployed. It was a shock to me. There were no jobs to be found with the glut of people looking for a job and I found myself at home for a year contemplating my circumstances.
One day I noticed my mini-blinds needed cleaning. (It is strange how you don't notice window treatments until they are so dusty you can't help but notice.) A decision was made to clean my blinds. At that time, all I knew about cleaning mini-blinds was to take them down and put them in the bathtub and scrub them. Another method, I have since learned was to toss them across the back fence or over a clothes line and hose them down. One company attached them to the fork of a fork lift raised to an appropriate height and power washed them. It is often hard to find a suitable space to fully extend the blind to clean it.
So I took a chair to stand on and a screwdriver to lift the "gates" and removed all of my mini-blinds. I did not make any marks as to which window each blind was initially installed. These had been in the windows so long that some of the "gates" were stiff with age, rust, bugs, and dirt. I bent some of the gates open as a result. This didn't seem to be a major problem as my curtains were covering that part of the blinds. The problem with this occurred later in the process. The scratches from the screwdriver were minimal.
Now that the blinds are all down and in the bathroom, I put dish washing soap in the bathtub and turned on the hot water. The soap sudzed very high in the bathtub, sort of like bubble bath. I was going to soak them to loosen the dirt then shake them around in the water. I thought this would clean them. I was wrong, but it did help. Since I placed all of the blinds in to soak at the same time, it left no room for the future effort of cleaning each slat. So in my infinite wisdom, I took all of the blinds out of the water, except one. Each one removed was squeezed to remove the water then stacked on the floor. It was about 15 minutes later that I suddenly realized the floor was full of soapy water. Squeezing was not enough. I should have placed them standing on end in a bucket. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing. Remember this is soapy water on the floor so now the floor is not only wet, but slick from the soap. The cords were hopelessly tangled, which required more effort.
Kneeling down in the soapy water on the floor, I began to scrub my mini-blinds, slat by slat. The problem with this was that my cloth snagged on the end of the blind slats and some of the slats were bent. No problem I thought, once again-wrong. There was a visible crease on all of the bent slats. After about 3 hours my blinds were clean, and rinsed. This time, after rinsing the blinds, twice because of the suds, I did put them in a bucket and let them drain in the closed position while I took a much needed break. This was also wrong!
When I tried to reinstall the blinds, they didn't fit. They looked the same, but were not. It took a great deal of time to find the correct blind for the window. Remember those stuck now bent "gates", some of the "gates" broke off of the blind as I tried to re-close the "gate". When I let the blinds down, some of the slats had dried in the closed position and were stuck together. I pried the slats apart which took off some of the paint. Now I have spotty slats and unsafe blinds and a horrible mess in my bathroom.
I began cleaning up the bathroom and that took about an hour for a very small room. I had to make sure to get all of the soap off of the floor. It took me all day to clean 10 blinds. The only good thing about the job was that the blinds were spotless.
When my project was complete, my knees hurt and were scratched and smarted from the soap, my back hurt, my hands were nicked from the sharp metal edges, and my blinds were ruined. I said to myself there must be an easier way.
As I started searching on the computer for a better way to clean blinds, I discoverd ultrasonic equipment could cleans mini-blinds in less than a minute with no damage. I decided to go into this business because figuring others had the same problems which I'd experienced cleaning their blinds. I was right and my business was good.
Ultimately, I acquired the injection/extraction equipment and was a formally trained blind and drapery cleaner. My company's name was, Express Blind & Drapery Cleaning. I enjoyed learning my business and having the correct equipment and training helped me to avoid the common blind cleaning problems. As a mentor to other professional technicians over the years in the blind and drapery cleaning business and now as an author online I trust the things I've learned will be a help to you.