Mini blinds are such a pain to clean, I’ve only done it once in the three years my wife and I have lived in our apartment. They are notorious dirt-catchers because they spend most of their life lying horizontally in front of a window. In Los Angeles, where there is a perpetual rain of microscopic dust floating down, a close-up inspection of white mini blinds can be pretty horrifying.
See, doesn’t that look awful? I’ve been meaning to clean my mini blinds for a while, but it’s actually a fairly involved project. If you want to do a thorough job, you have to carefully dust each individual slat. The slats are held up and separated by thin fabric cords, so dusting each slat actually means dusting four or five different sections.
I had seen specialized mini blind dusters in the past, and I wondered how well they worked. I decided to put a specialized duster up against the duster I usually use – A Swiffer Duster. To round out the test, I made my own mini blind duster. I cut a Swiffer Sweeper pad in half and tied each half to my trusty tongs.
My test was simple: I cleaned three sets of blinds, all the same size and approximate dust level. I timed how long each cleaning took to determine ease-of-use, and I evaluated the performance of each duster. How much dust could it trap? How much was it leaving behind?
Time to clean mini blinds on a 3×6-foot window: 22:16
Performance review: The specialized mini blind cleaner did the worst in our test, both in terms of time and performance. While the three-pronged duster could theoretically two or three times as faster as the other dusters, it was more difficult to slide in between the individual slats. While the microfiber duster did pick up and trap some dust, it got full quickly and started showering clumps of dust down on the window sill. Cleaning the duster would have required running it through the wash, making this project take much longer.
Time to clean blinds: 20:43
Performance review: I imagined it would be difficult to squeeze the tongs with just the right amount of pressure so the tongs wouldn’t get stuck in between the slats. It wasn’t that hard once I got going. I also imagined that I would be cleaning two slats at once. Instead, I used the tongs to grip each slat individually. It didn’t take longer because I was able to move between the slats efficiently. The Swiffer Sweeper pad did better than the microfiber cloth pad, but it still started shedding dust before I had finished with the blinds. Overall this improvised cleaning tool was an improvement over the blind cleaner, but it still wasn’t perfect.
Time to clean blinds: 19:21
Performance review: Although the swiffer duster was the bulkiest tool, I could still get it in between each slat if I lifted the slat above up a little, and clearly that didn’t slow me down, since the Duster had the fastest cleaning time. It also cleaned the most thoroughly, by far. The Swiffer Duster is really a dust-trapping machine. I happened to clean the dirtiest set of mini blinds with the duster, and it didn’t shed at all. The duster could also be shoved into corners and pick up dust the other tools couldn’t grab.
After cleaning each set of blinds, I had to give them a quick wipe down with the blinds closed to grab spare dust. There was only one tool I could use for the job – a Swiffer Duster. Overall it thoroughly trounced the other two competitors. I won’t be cleaning my blinds again (maybe in a year from now), but when I do, I’ll know the Swiffer Duster is the best tool for the job.