Advanced wood blind cleaning

If more than regular cleaning is needed, here are the steps to take a wood blind apart. This is an advanced technique and should be done with care. I will normally only do this if: The ladders are really dirty, sun damage has ruined the color of the top of each slat, the blades are really dirty, or if you have a broken slat in the middle of the blind and want to move it towards the bottom.

The first step is easy, take a picture of the blind. Specifically the ladders and draw cord. It’s easy to mix up the position of the ladder when reassembling. At the bottom of wood blinds you will find a plug that holds the knot of the draw string. In the picture the plugs are the three black dots on the lower rail. Pull the plug out gently to expose the knot. The knot in the draw string is the only thing that holds the blind together so once you untie the knot the blind will come down. I like to hang the blind and lower it all the way when I am untying the knots. Once the knots on the draw string are untied let the blind hang. Gently pull the draw string from the bottom of the blind up through all of the slats. At this point you will not be able to raise the blind with the draw string. It is very important not to try either. If you pull the draw string you could possibly pull them through the head rail causing a nightmare. Restringing the head rail is not recommended so don’t pull the string through it. Just let the draw strings hang free.

From here you can easily remove each slat for cleaning.
http://windowcleaner.com/vBulletin/showthread.php5?t=2541

In this picture all the slats have been removed for easy cleaning. If the slats are sun damaged or has a faded color it is possible to flip them all over before reassembly. The bottom of the slats normally will not get as much sun. Flipping the slats is all up to your client. It will make them look a bit better but will also cause that side to fade just as the top faded. Over time doing this will allow the top and bottom to fade evenly.

Once the Slats have been removed you can clean the ladders and draw cords. The easy way to this is with a bucket of water and small amount of laundry soap. Hand wash the cords and draw strings in a bucket and then rinse with clean DI water in another bucket. Be careful with blinds that have a dark string color or that have a décor tape around the ladders. Dark colors in years of sunlight can fade upon washing. Once the ladders and strings have dried place the lower rail back into the ladders and let the blind hang. This will keep the ladders strait while you are installing the slats.

Start from the top work your way down installing all the slats back into the ladders. Once you have all the slats back into the ladders it is time to refer back to your picture of the blind. In the picture look to see which side of the ladder the draw string is positioned. Using a needle, thread the draw string down through each slat. It is easier to only thread 5-10 slats at a time and then move to the other side and thread another 5-10. This will keep each slat in alignment while you are working. I like to use long needles about 2-3 inches in length. Make sure you are threading the draw string on the proper side of each ladder. One little booboo here will cause the blind not to function properly. Once you get to the bottom of the blind thread the draw string through the lower rail and tie in a knot just as you found it. Once all knots are tied replace the plugs and you are done.

Disassembly time: 10-15 mins
Cleaning time: 10-25 mins
Assembly time: 15-25 mins
Payout: $75.00- $150.00+ per blind depending on size.

All this information is gold. You’re a real sport for sharing.

My only question tho, are people really paying you that much for this service? I used to work in the blind business and know that some places sell these blinds pretty cheap nowadays. $150-250 gets you a new blind at some stores. (depending on size of course). Still, this is an add-on I’m seriously considering.

Thanks!

So Scott if I have this figured correctly you are basically giving them a nearly new blind for half the price of replacement, yes?

This stuff is gold!

I really want to pick your brain about this business.

I will start a new thread.

A lot of people do pay this much. the ones that don’t I sell them new blinds. Don’t get me wrong though, most want just your average wipe and clean. this a extreme cleaning that varies month to month. Most of these people will design a whole room around color. and when colors fade over time it looks realy bad to bring in something new. it all snow balls. new blinds…new furniture…new carpet…ect. Or option number 2 clean the blinds and it will match ever thing else.

Do you sell window film to help cut down on the fading? Just wondering because even a cheap clear security film will basically cut out 100% of UV rays.

yes and no. just cleaning them really really well. kinda like taking an old car and waxing it.

I used to sell it but I am a window cleaner. I hate cleaning windows with film or tint. at least if I sell blinds I can pull them up, wash and put them back down.

Scott,

I’ve noticed that on some wooden blinds, once they start to fade, the clearcoat also starts to fail. Have you thought about hitting the slats with a light coat of clearcoat after cleaning?

Or do you find that it may just be best to replace those blinds?

I’m thinking that it would be easy and cheap to apply a new clear coat, and it would probably add some new shine to the blinds. It would also be another selling factor, as the clearcoat would offer further UV protection, thus, prolonging the life of the blind…

If you don’t mind my asking… what is it you dislike about cleaning tinted or filmed windows?

I have never thought of doing it. once they get to that point I like to push new blinds. the sale + install generates more money than the cleaning. I like to go for easy cleaning or a new sale. I think one of the things that would worry me about putting a new finish on them is getting it even and consistent.

can’t use a razor for one. Down here most of the tint we see is cheap and the sun tears it up (turning purple, peeling, bubbling ect.). I liked selling the 3M tint but most of my clients wanted something cheaper. 2 years later they are having me remove it for them. Plus I feel that with our intense heat and dry climate it accelerates the advancement of leaky seals on thermal windows. I may be full of it, but I see it more and more with after market tint.

Scott, glad to see you in action, thanks a lot for all this info.

Let me ask you about the sale side of the deal, do you take the measurements and take it to the blind shop for fabrication, or have a deal with a store, or how do you play it if you don’t mind keep sharing

Thanks one more time
Carlos

PS: I’m still waiting for some video action :smiley:

the easiest way I could explain it is, I am the store. I work with the factory directly. I have samples and will take them to the clients house, help them pick, I measure, order and I then install. The more hands you deal with the more the markup is. If you find a factory outlet like graber or hunter douglas you will be set. they only sell to businesses. No walk in customers. you must have a biz license. At first some will let you borrow samples, but some make you buy them before you even start. I like to go with graber. they have treated me well. Last time I checked if you sell Hunter douglas you have to carry their whole line and you can only sell their product and no one else. hope that helps

Thanks a lot for this post, very comprehensive and step-by-step, should prove to be extremely useful.

It is not as dry here as you, but I am seeing the same thing. I am seeing more leak “frosting” in windows that have tint on them. Especially the windows on South and East sides, in direct sunlight