Below are many common questions and answers that will help you:
QUESTION #1: Can my window treatments be cleaned?
ANSWER #1: YES, they can be cleaned successfully by a knowledgeable professional who specializes in cleaning window treatments.
QUESTION #2: Will the cleaning void my warranty?
ANSWER #2: Whether or not the warranty will be voided by cleaning depends upon the manufacturer's recomendations and the age of the product. Is your window treatment older than 5 years? If so, is your warranty still valid? If you still have a valid warranty, then YES, it may void some fabricator's warranties. You can check with the Customer Service department for the manufacturer to see what type of cleaning they recommend. Many of them will recommend vacuuming the shades, but not recommend any suitable "deep cleaning" methods. Regardless of whether or not a fabricator gives any formal endorsement to a particular cleaning method, one ends up relying upon the expertise of the blind cleaner, as ultimatey any damage caused by cleaning won't be covered by the manufacturer (unless there was an underlying fabrication flaw or deficiency).
QUESTION #3: What is ultrasonic cleaning?
ANSWER #3: Ultrasonic cleaning utilizes a machine that has a long narrow water bath with special ultrasonic detergents. Special plates on the bottom of the tank generate sound waves through the water creating billions of tiny, exploding bubbles. The scrubing action provided by these bubbles reaches into every crevice of the object in the tank. You are probably familiar with ultrasonic jewelry cleaning. The jewelry is placed in a small machine that buzzes and bubbles and cleans every minute surface of the jewelry. Ultrasonic blind cleaning is similar with the exception that the tank is 6-8 feet long and has adjustable power settings. Ultrasonic cleaning takes place with window treatments within a few minutes—the time varies with the different treatments. Once the blind/shade is removed from the cleaning tank, it is rinsed in another tank before being drained and dried (appropriate to the type of shade or blind being cleaned). A knowledgeable cleaning technician is aware of the differences in handling required for different types of blinds and shades.
QUESTION # 4: Is ultrasonic blind cleaning safe for my window treatments?
ANSWER #4: YES, when ultrasonic cleaning is appropriate (some types of blinds/shades shouldn't be ultrasonically cleaned as they are not immersible in water, etc.) and properly executed by a knowledgeable professional, amazing results may be achieved. The experienced cleaner will vary several steps in the process depending upon what is best for that particular shade. Don't hesitate to ask the technicain questions you may have about the process. If they aren't comfortable explaining the process to be used or able to address your concerns, then ask a few more questions to be sure they really are the cleaner you wish to hire. Unfortunately, there are more people with ultrasonic blind cleaning machines than there are knowledgeable professional blind cleaners - cleaning plastic or metal mini blinds is not the same as cleaning expensive custom blinds or shades.
QUESTION #5: If the technician wants to take down my window treatments for cleaning at the shop, when will they be returned?
ANSWER #5: Professional blind cleaners who work out of a shop location will typically either schedule same day or next day service for your blinds. If their ultrasonic machine is in a truck, called a mobile unit, then the window treatments will normally be cleaned and returned to the window immediately. If you are doing a painting or remodelling project and would like the cleaner to hold the blinds, be sure to discuss this when you get an estimate for the job.
QUESTION #6: I had a fire in my home and my window shades now look smoked and gray and have a smoky smell. Can these shades be cleaned?
ANSWER #6: YES, these shades can be cleaned, but there are certain questions that need to be answered by the technician. The technician will make a pre-inspection and point out potential problems and ask you to sign off on it after all questions both of you have are answered. If the shade is out of warranty and was already showing its age with darker glue lines, brittle parts or dull finishes then it probably makes sense to replace it. Blinds and shades that were in good condition are definitely worth trying to clean. Ozone treatments and other special cleaners can remove the soot and smokey smell in situations where the shades are salvageable - saving a significant amount of money.
QUESTION #7: How can I tell if the technician is a competent professional blind cleaner?
ANSWER #7: How professional and knowledgeable about your particular window treatment are they? Were they recommended by your decorator, the manufacturer or another trusted source? Did they conduct a written pre-inspection that denoted the fitness of the shade to be cleaned and did they point out any areas of concern or any existing problems while working up their estimate? Some companies use a formal pre-inspection form while others may do it verbally, just making notes of any special concerns on the work order to note items discussed with you. Either is sufficient. This will be more than a quick glance. It is in the best interest of both you and the cleaner for this process to occur as after the work has begun is not the time to point out damage to a blind or clarify expectations.
QUESTION #8: Does having a "certification" matter?
As with any industry, there are companies who unfortunately misrepresent their services or qualifications to the public. In our industry many of the vendors give those who purchase new equipment a 1-2 day training course. The "certification" essentially means the new blind cleaner has been exposed to the basics. Some companies claim affiliations and certifications they haven't earned or that are just outright bogus. You can verify with the Blindcleaners.biz network the qualifications of their Members or check the SquibCoSolutions.com website for injection/extraction cleaners with a current Certified Fabricare Specialists standing. Those who received training in the past as On-Site Certified Technicians (applies to injection/extraction method only) or from an equipment vendor like DirtyBlinds.com or Morantz Incorporated have demonstrated an interest in professional training and development. The current knowledge or actual training of the cleaning technician working your job is, however, worth investigating. Reputable companies can give you straight answers and verify their certifications.
QUESTION #9: What do I need to tell the certified professional blind cleaner?
ANSWER #9: Short answer: Everything you know about the shade.
The correct name, style and manufacturer of the shade;.
Whether or not the shade was previously cleaned, by what method or by whom;
If you have had any problems with the shade working properly;
How old is the shade by date if known, or approximate age;
Whether or not you purchased the shades new or were they inherited from a previous owner;
Are there any children or pets in the household that may have played with the shades or cords;
Any particular problems that you have noticed in regard to your shade, i.e., spots (what made them, if known), bugs, paint, or operations;
State any expectations that you may have in regard to the cleaning.
This is critical information that will help the technician make an accurate assessment of the fitness of your shades for cleaning and to determine any special care, treatments or repairs that may be necessary.
QUESTION #10: Are there any window treatments that clean up better than others?
ANSWER #10: Yes, all shades can be cleaned, however, some shades are made of fabrics that tend to turn gray over time as a result of sunlight (UV exposure), environmental soils and such. Cleaning will brighten most of these shades, however, it won't reverse the aging process or remove all of the gray in many situations. If you are not sure if cleaning is worth the investment, have one blind cleaned (that is not in a set) to compare with the others before agreeing to have all of your shades cleaned. Specialty shades made of sheer polyester fabric shades such as Silhouettes and Luminettes respond very well to cleaning while those with a soft fuzzy texture tend to be more challenging.
QUESTION #10: Where can I locate a certified professional ultrasonic cleaner?
QUESTION #11: In addition to my shades, I have draperies and sheers that need to be cleaned. How can I have these cleaned without fear of shrinkage or damage?
ANSWER #11: SquibCo Solutions has a network of trained professionals that will clean fabric window treatments of all types (including draperies, valances and more) right in your home as they hang. Many ultrasonic blind cleaners also offer injection/extraction cleaning services for draperies and such, giving them the ability to clean nearly any type of window treatment - hard or soft. You can locate these through the referral program offered by the Blindcleaners.biz Network as well.
Most important of all is for you to fully understand the methods and potential outcome of the cleaning process being presented. Ask lots of questions and give the cleaner as much information as you can in regard to your window treatments. Both you and the vendor want a successful outcome from the cleaning process.