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Re-purposing Old Window Treatments

If you recently purchased new blinds or shades from Blindster, you probably have a few sets of old window treatments on your hands. Instead of throwing them out, consider re-purposing them. There are several great uses for old blinds and shades that can liven up your home and help you bring out your artistic and creative sides. In some cases, old window treatments can be completely transformed into home décor or accent pieces that look nothing like their original shape or form, breathing new life into them and giving you the opportunity to place them throughout your home in a variety of uses or applications.

Decorating with Old Shutters

At Blindster, we’re proud to offer high-quality indoor faux wood plantation shutters. These window treatments are ideal for a wide variety of home décor styles and color schemes. But we also know that many homeowners are left wondering what they should do with their old shutters after they’ve replaced them. A few excellent ideas for re-purposing old shutters include:

  • Wall art – Distressed shutters add a beautiful and rustic look to any room in your home. Simply mount them to the walls of any room in your home to achieve the look. For greater visual variety, arrange shutters of different size and color together in interesting patterns or shapes. You can top the arrangement off with a wreath in the center or ivy along the length of the shutters.
  • Organizers – The slats on old shutters are perfect storage spaces for things like mail, invitations, greeting cards, bills, loose pieces of paper, and other documents that should be kept in a convenient, easy to reach place. This re-purposing idea requires no additional work—simply mount the shutter near your front door or another location where you open your mail and use it to store important items.
  • Vertical planters – Did you know that plants can thrive inside shutters? Potted plants can be attached to the slats on your old shutters to create a vertical garden anywhere inside or outside of your home. You can also place a backing on your shutters and fill them with fertile soil and allow plants to grow through the slats for an even more striking look.
  • Plate rack – An old shutter flipped horizontal with its slats facing up is an ideal dish rack. The notches between the slats make perfect spaces for dishes to be held in place. You can even attach hooks to the bottom of the shutter to hang bowls, cups, and other assorted dishware.

Decorating with Old Window Frames

Old shutters, blinds, and shades aren’t the only parts of windows that can be repurposed. Entire window frames themselves can also be put to good use. The only limit to repurposing old window frames is your imagination. At Blindster, we recommend the following projects and applications:

  • Picture frames – Converting window frames to picture frames is simple, as they’re already extremely similar. Simply adding backings and glass to the fronts of your window frames is a quick and easy way to transform them into beautiful, head-turning, and truly unique picture frames.
  • Mirrors – Window frames also have the perfect shape and size to be used as mirrors. Place individual mirrors cut to size in each section of your window frames for a striking look that will fit in any room in your home.
  • Mantel decoration – Decorating a fireplace mantel can be difficult, especially if you want to avoid cliché décor and accent pieces. Repurposed window frames provide a great opportunity to create a visual centerpiece on your mantel.
  • Front porch – The rustic look of an old window frame is ideal for front porches. Whether you hang yours without any accessories or complete the look with a vintage and distressed star, wreath, ivy, or plant, you’ll have a beautiful addition to your outside décor.

Need Ideas? Check Out These Links.

The internet is full of amazingly creative people who have a professional’s touch when it comes to re-purposing old furniture, décor, and home components. If you’re looking for ideas for your old window treatments, shutters, or window frames, look no further than some ideas presented in related Blindster blog resources:

Vertical vs. Horizontal Blinds

What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of blinds used in homes and offices: vertical blinds and horizontal blinds. Horizontal blinds are much more commonly used out of the two types, as they represent the traditional 1”-2” slat blinds that are most often seen on small to medium-sized windows. Vertical blinds use much larger slats that hang from a head rail that’s often mounted to a track, allowing them to be opened and closed with a wand or pulley system. Many homeowners and business owners use vertical blinds to cover large windows or sliding glass doors.Horizontal Blinds

It’s important to remember that there are distinct differences between vertical and horizontal blinds, and both have advantages and drawbacks. Knowing those differences before you make a purchase can help you ensure that you get the right window treatments for your windows and your home.

 

How Are Vertical Blinds and Horizontal Blinds Similar?

There are two primary ways that vertical blinds and horizontal blinds are similar:

  • Light protection – Blinds are designed to block out light, and whether they’re oriented vertically or horizontally, they’re highly effective at accomplishing that task. In fact, both vertical and horizontal blinds can provide near-blackout levels of light protection, making them ideal for rooms like bedrooms, home offices, nurseries, home theaters, and more.
  • Similar materials – Both vertical and horizontal blinds are made with similar materials. Blindster’s vertical blinds include PVC and faux wood, giving them a lightweight construction that makes installation easy—even for the largest orders.

What Are the Benefits of Vertical Blinds and Horizontal Blinds?

No matter what type of blinds you choose, you’ll get all the benefits of high-quality window coverings. However, both types of blinds are better at different things, so choosing the right type for your needs is an essential step:

Vertical blinds
Vertical Blinds

 

  • They’re ideal for sliding doors and wide windows. While traditional horizontal blinds can be custom made to fit sliding doors and wide windows, they simply aren’t practical in many instances. Vertical blinds are much better fits, as they’re easily opened and closed and can cover even the widest windows and doors.
  • They’re easy to clean. In addition to not collecting as much dust as horizontal blinds, vertical blinds are easier to clean because they’re made from two materials that are highly resistant to moisture: PVC and faux wood. That means more cleaning products can be used without worrying about colors fading or staining.
  • They block more light. Vertical blinds have much larger slats and are much wider than horizontal blinds, which means that a single vertical blind can block more sunlight than even the largest custom horizontal blinds.

 

Horizontal blinds

  • They provide more privacy. One drawback to vertical blinds is their tendency to sway from side to side or become off-kilter, resulting in gaps in coverage. Horizontal blinds are much less likely to expose the interior of your home or business.
  • They’re ideal for tall and narrow windows. Just as vertical blinds are perfect for wide windows and sliding glass doors, horizontal blinds are more practical for tall and narrow windows due to their design and construction.
  • They don’t touch the floor. If you’re worried about dirt or dust collecting at the bottom of your window coverings, horizontal blinds may be the best option, as they typically rest on window sills instead of the floor.
  • They make less noise. The operation of vertical blinds can be noisy, especially if their tracks aren’t regularly greased or maintained. Horizontal blinds typically make much less noise.
  • They can last many years without replacement. Because vertical blinds rely on a track with many moving parts, they can be more likely to wear out and need maintenance or replacing.

Ready to Find the Perfect Vertical or Horizontal Blinds for Your Home?

If you’re in the market for new blinds, make sure you know the right type for the windows in your home. After you’ve made your decision, be sure to check out Blindster’s selection of blinds. We offer many varieties of high-quality vertical blinds and horizontal blinds, and products in both categories can be customized and outfitted with additional options to create the perfect fit for every room in your home.

Everything You Could Want to Know About Roller Shades

Roller shades have been around since before the United States was even formed, but how much do you really know about them? These shades have been favored for generations for their classically sleek style and variety of fabric options. Their simplicity and ease of installation make them a popular choice for bedrooms, family rooms and offices; and blackout options make them perfect for home theaters or media rooms.

Whether you have had roller shades for years or are just now thinking about investing in some for your windows, this list of facts will get you fully informed about your favorite window treatment.

They first appeared in 17th Century Holland

Many believe that roller shades made their first appearance in 17th century Holland because by the eighteenth century, they were being widely used throughout Holland, France and England. They did not make their way to U.S. until around 1780, four years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

They used to be hand painted

Artist used to hand painted and stencil borders or scenic imagery onto the shade; that at the time were made of thin cloth or paper so that the décor could be seen by the inhabitants and people passing outside. They were mounted to the window frames and hand rolled when the home owners wanted to see out.

The spring roller was patented in 1855

The roller shade as we know it today truly started with the addition of the spring roller. People no longer had to awkwardly roll their shades up and mount them with hooks. A factory began mass producing spring rollers in 1858 and their popularity took off.

They come in four main types

Today roller shades are available in black-out, semi-opaque, sheer and semi-sheer. Blackout shades block 99 percent of outside light and can look flush to your window. Semi-opaque, sheer and semi-sheer shades let in varying levels of light depending on your choice of fabric, vinyl or woven wood.

They can save you money

The thick material that blackout roller shades are made of not only block 99 percent of outside light, they also help absorb the loss of heat and cooling air inside your home. This keeps the temperature in your home more consistent and lessens the amount of work your air conditioner will have to do.

They should be mounted so the fabric rolls back

Roller shades are most commonly mounted so that the standard roll is close to the window glass, with the fabric rolling back. This mounting option creates the most privacy and blocks the most light from seeping through your windows.

They have two types of lift systems

Blindster’s roller shades come standard with a cordless spring roller shade lift system. With this type of system, you just pull the bottom of the shade to release the spring and lower or lift your shade (think 50’s shades) They can also be upgraded with the clutch continuous loop lift cord system, which features a beaded nylon chain loop that you pull to lift and lower the shade.

Cassette valances can cover the lift system

For those that do not like the look of the roller on their windows, a valance can be added to cover the clutch continuous loop lift cord system. Blindster’s cassette valances are not available with the cordless spring roller shade lift system.

There is always a deduction made

When ordering your roller shades, keep in mind the factory will make a deduction to the measurement of the fabric to leave room for mechanisms to move properly.

They can be combined with curtains

Roller shades are so sleek that they pair perfectly with other window treatments like curtains or drapes. You can get the light filtering and privacy you want from your shades, while adding style and making your window appear larger using curtains.

They work perfectly on a door

Covering windows on a door requires a blind that stays as flush as possible. Roller shades are a great option for regular doors because they are easy to mount and they don’t add a lot of bulk.

They are inexpensive

Roller shades allow all the benefits of a more expensive window treatment without have to shell out the cash. You can still have tasteful décor, privacy and light reduction with money left over for your next home project.

Shop our full selection of roller shades here.

How to Clean Pleated Shades

With their unique accordion-style fabric design, pleated shades are both stylish and highly effective at blocking out sunlight. But like all décor in your home, pleated shades attract dirt, dust, and other allergens or debris in the air that can accumulate on the shade and inside the folds of the fabric.

Cleaning your pleated shades and keeping them looking their best is a relatively simple process, but it does require a bit of know-how, a few basic cleaning supplies, and a cautious approach to avoid accidentally damaging the fabric.

To learn how to safely and efficiently clean your pleated shades, read the instructions below:

Step 1: Check your shades to determine how much cleaning they need.

 

The manner in which will you clean your shades depends on how dirty they are. Although pleated shades tend to have more difficult to clean areas than other shades due to their crimped design, most cleaning jobs don’t involve more than removing built-up dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris. Shades that are installed on doors or windows that are frequently opened may require more intense cleaning to remove heavy stains or airborne particles that become embedded in the fabric.

Step 2: Check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

 

All shades have specific cleaning instructions and warnings that should be followed before they’re cleaned to avoid accidentally damaging or staining the fabric. Before you use water or cleaning solutions on your shades, check the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions to find any specific cleaning directions that you should follow. These instructions ship with most shades and can be found in the original packaging. If you can’t find the instructions, check the manufacturer’s website or contact Blindster to get a replacement copy.

Step 3: Gather a few simple cleaning items.

 

Cleaning pleated shades doesn’t require any fancy cleaning equipment beyond a few items that you likely already have in your home. To make the job as quick and easy as possible, take the time to gather these items before you begin so that you’ll have them handy as you need them.

The following items are sufficient to clean almost all types of shades, including pleated shades:

  • Feather duster

A feather duster is the first offensive line for cleaning shades. It’s highly effective at removing accumulated dirt and dust and should be used on a regular basis to keep your shades clean at all times.

  • Vacuum with soft brush attachment

Any dust or dirt that’s left behind from your feather duster can be removed using your vacuum cleaner and its soft brush attachment. You can also use additional nozzles and attachments to clean small crevices near the headrail. If your vacuum has the option to adjust the suction power, lower it until the vacuum no longer pulls or tugs on the fabric to avoid possible damage.

  • Bucket with warm water and mild soap or detergent

If the cleaning instructions for your shade permit the use of water and a mild soap or detergent, combine the two in a bucket and use the mixture to gently scrub away stains and caked on dirt, dust, and other debris from the fabric. Be careful to not soak the fabric or allow any liquid to enter the headrail, as it could damage the moving parts inside.

  • Towels and sheets to catch falling dirt and dust

Cleaning shades that haven’t been cleaned in a long time can be messy. Putting towels or sheets down underneath the window and shades can catch any falling dirt or dust and spare your floors from getting covered.

  • Hairdryer to quickly dry the fabric

If you have to use soap and water to clean light stains or heavy accumulations of dirt and dust from your shades, it’s important that you quickly dry the fabric to avoid warping, fading, or staining. Use a hair dryer on the high heat setting to dry the fabric before any potential damage can occur.

Step 4: Start cleaning your pleated shades.

 

With all of your cleaning items in hand, it’s time to begin cleaning your pleated shades. Start with the headrail and wipe away any dirt or dust using a clean sponge or cloth dipped in your mixture of warm water and mild soap. Be sure to wring it out thoroughly before using it on your shades to keep moisture from getting inside the headrail.

 

Next, work your way down the fabric with the feather duster, vacuum, and soft brush attachment, and clean sponge (if necessary) to remove dirt, dust, and light stains. Apply light pressure on areas that are stained, but avoid scrubbing on deeply stained areas, as the extra pressure may damage the fabric.

Step 5: Remove your shades from the window or wall if necessary.

 

If your shades were mounted in an area where they received frequent exposure to airborne particles, like in front an opened window or door, they may need to be removed from the window or wall itself in order to facilitate more thorough cleaning.

 

After removing the shades from the mounting brackets, fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild soap or cleaning solution to the water. Then, place your shades inside the water while making sure to keep the headrail dry.

 

After letting the shades soak briefly, wipe away any dirt, dust, and other debris. Once the shades are clean, remove them from the water and immediately dry the fabric with towels. Hang them up to dry outside of your bathroom to prevent possible mold growth. You can also use a hairdryer during this step to hasten the drying process.

Step 6: Stick to a regular cleaning schedule in the future.

 

Shades that are regularly cleaned don’t require much more than a dusting on a regular basis to look their best year-round. To cut down on the amount of time you spend cleaning your shades in the future, make it a habit to dust them at least twice a month for shades that are installed in rooms with light foot traffic and once a week for shades installed in rooms with heavy foot traffic.

How to Clean Bamboo Shades

Bamboo shades are the ideal choice for anyone who wants natural and eco-friendly window coverings in their home. Because bamboo shades are manufactured using real wood, they not only add a unique and beautiful touch to your windows, but they also require a slightly different approach to cleaning.

Despite their differences from traditional shades, bamboo shades can be easily cleaned using many of the same techniques required to clean other types of window treatments. If you recently purchased bamboo shades or are simply looking for the best way to clean the bamboo shades that are already in your home, check out Blindster’s tips below for the best way to get the job done.

Step 1: Inspect your bamboo shades.

Your approach to cleaning your shades depends on how dirty they are. In most cases, shades don’t attract much other than a light coating of dust, dirt, pet hair, and a small amount of pollen. However, shades that are mounted in areas with open air movement, such as on or near windows and doors that are left open for long periods of time, may require more intensive cleaning due to exposure to heavier accumulations of dirt, dust, and other debris.

Step 2: Read the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions.

While bamboo shades generally hold up well to most cleaning attempts, it’s important that you first consult the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions before you use water, cleaning liquids, or other chemicals that could potentially crack, stain, or damage the wood. You can find the instructions in your shade’s original packaging. If you can’t locate the instructions, consult the manufacturer’s website or contact Blindster to receive a replacement copy.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need.

Cleaning bamboo shades is an easy process that requires only simple cleaning items. To get started, gather the primary items you’ll need to get the job done and keep them handy while you work. These items include:
• A feather duster to loosen and remove light dust accumulations
• A vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment to remove heavier dust accumulations
• A clean sponge to wipe down the shade, gently lift away stains, and clean the headrail
• A clean bucket filled with warm water and a mild oil soap safe to use on wood
• A towel and a hair dryer to dry the shades

With these items nearby, you’re ready to begin cleaning your bamboo shades.

Step 4: Clean your shades from top to bottom.

To begin the cleaning process, use a feather duster to remove dust from every inch of exposed surface from the headrail and the shade itself. After you’ve removed the top layer of accumulated dirt and dust, use your vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment to remove any left behind debris.

Next, wet the sponge and thoroughly wring it out to release any excess water and cleaning solution. Then use the sponge to wipe down the headrail, but be careful and avoid getting liquid inside the shade, as it could damage the internal components of the shade. Working your way down the bamboo, use the sponge to gently wipe away any stains, discolorations, or caked on grime.

After you’ve thoroughly cleaned the shade, use a clean towel and wipe away any moisture from the wood. For even faster drying, use a hair dryer on areas of the shade where towel drying isn’t sufficient. Drying your shade is important to prevent the wood from warping, staining, or becoming discolored after exposure to water.

Step 5: Dismount your shades from your windows or wall if necessary.

If your shades are heavily stained or soiled due to prolonged exposure to dirt, dust, and other debris, you may need to remove them from the window and use a more intensive cleaning process. To thoroughly clean your bamboo shades when traditional cleaning methods don’t work, fill up your bathtub with warm water and a mild soap or detergent that’s safe to use on wood.

Once the bathtub is filled up, place the shades inside the water while keeping the headrail dry. After soaking the shades in the mixture of water and cleaning liquid for several minutes, use a washcloth or sponge to scrub and lift away any stains, dirt, and grime from the wood. Make sure to clean every exposed surface as thoroughly as you can, and change the water if necessary as you go.

After you’ve cleaned your shades, drain the tub and then rinse away the water and soap mixture before placing your shades on a towel to dry. After using the towels to soak up the majority of the water from the shades, hang them to dry in a well-ventilated area. Use a hair dryer to hasten the drying process and prevent warping. Hanging the shades in sunlight or outdoors can also make the drying process go faster.

Step 6: Create a regular cleaning schedule.

The easiest way to cut down on the amount of time and effort it takes to clean your bamboo shades is to simply clean them more often. Like all items in your home, your bamboo shades will accumulate dirt and dust over time, but a quick and regular cleaning with a feather duster and vacuum with light brush attachment—combined with monthly wipe downs of the wood and headrail—is generally all that’s needed to keep your shades clean and reduce the need for intensive and deep cleaning sessions in the future.

How to Measure Bamboo Shades

When it comes to eco-friendly designs that are both beautiful and natural, you can’t beat bamboo shades. These window treatments are not only highly effective at increasing privacy and blocking out the sun’s rays, they also add an elegant look to any room in your home.

Bamboo shades are easy to install, but before you place your order with Blindster, you should first measure your window or the area you wish to cover with the shades. Taking accurate measurements is vital for the shades to fit properly.

To precisely measure your windows and receive shades that fit perfectly, follow the instructions below.

Choosing Between Inside Mounts and Outside Mounts

There are two main ways that you can mount your shades: inside your window frame or outside your window frame. Both have pros and cons and choosing one over the other depends on your own personal preferences as well as the dimensions of your window frame.

Consult the table below to learn the major differences between these two mounting options:

Inside Mount

Outside Mount

·        Inside mount installations place the shades directly inside the window frame and require precise measurements for a proper fit·        When mounted inside the window frame, bamboo shades have a sleek, built-in look·        This is the best option if you want to leave intricate or detailed woodwork exposed·        Requires at least ½” of depth in window frame for a secure mount

·        Inside flush mount requires at least 2” for standard and top down/bottom up shades, 3” for continuous loop

·        If your window frame doesn’t provide enough depth, use the outside mount option instead

·        Outside mount installations place the shade outside the window frame and make it possible to cover the entire window·        This installation can be mounted to the wall, ceiling, or molding, making it highly versatile for a variety of window types and sizes·        Outside mounts are perfect for hiding unattractive windows or making windows appear larger·        There are no minimum depth requirements, but a minimum flat surface of at least 1” is required. Always include the mounting surface area when measuring the area you want to cover with the shade

 

No matter which installation option you choose, your shade will function equally well when it comes to protecting your privacy and blocking out sunlight.

How to Measure Your Windows before Ordering Bamboo Shades

After you’ve decided which mounting option you prefer, it’s time to measure your window. Use the instructions below to get precise measurements for both inside and outside mount installation options

Measuring for Inside Mount Installations

Step 1: Measure the interior width of the window and window frame in three separate locations—the top, middle, and bottom. Take note of the smallest of these three measurements, as it’s the number you’ll provide to Blindster when you place your order. Note that the factory will make necessary deductions of around ½”.

 

Step 2: Measure the interior height of the window and window frame in three separate locations—the left side, middle, and right side. Take note of the largest of these three measurements, as it’s the number you’ll provide to Blindster when you place your order.

Measuring for Outside Mount Installations

Step 1: Measure the full width of the area you wish to cover with the bamboo shade. If there’s enough room to do so, add an extra 2” to 3” to your total width to help eliminate light leakage from the sides of the shade. Use the original measurement plus the extra width when placing your order, as your shade will be made exactly as specified when ordered.

 

Step 2: Measure the full height of the area you wish to cover with the bamboo shade. As mentioned above, take into account at least 1” of flat mounting surface when doing your measurements. In addition, note that adding at least 3” to 4” of height added to your shade will allow you to mount it above the window frame.

How to Clean Solar Shades

Because solar shades are designed to let in light and provide a clear view of the outside, many homeowners install them on windows that are frequently opened. That means they can quickly accumulate large amounts of dust, dirt, pollen, and other debris from both inside and outside your home.

Keeping your solar shades looking their best is a simple process, but it does require a careful approach and a consistent cleaning schedule. So whether you’re cleaning your new solar shades for the first time or just need an easy and effective method to get the job done, Blindster’s got you covered.

Check out the instructions below to clean your shades safely and efficiently.

Step 1: Look over your shades to determine how much cleaning they need.

The number of steps required to clean your shades depends on how dirty they are. Shades mounted in rooms that receive very little foot traffic may only need a light dusting and a wipe down of the headrail, while shades in high traffic areas or in rooms with opened windows and doors may need a much more thorough cleaning to remove airborne particles.

If you notice any heavy or deep stains on your shades, you may want to consider calling a professional cleaning service, as those stains may be impossible to remove on your own without potentially damaging the fabric.

Step 2: Check the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions.

Your shades shipped with instructions that provide important information about how to care for them—including safe cleaning tips and warnings about certain types of cleaning agents that can damage the fabric. If you can’t find the instructions, check the original packing, the manufacturer’s website, or consult Blindster. Note that warnings about using water or soaps and detergents should be taken seriously, as some shades use fabric that can easily stain, fade, or discolor after exposure to certain liquids.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need to get the job done.

Cleaning solar shades doesn’t require any fancy cleaning tools—just a few basic items that you likely have in your home already. To get started, grab the following items and keep them handy while you work:

  • Feather duster

Most shades require nothing more than a quick dusting to remove built-up dust and dirt. Feather dusters are perfect for light cleaning jobs and are highly effective at removing accumulated debris from the headrail and fabric.

  • Vacuum with light brush attachment

If your shade has an excess amount of dirt, dust, and especially pet hair accumulation, using your vacuum cleaner with a soft or light brush attachment is an easy way to remove it quickly and efficiently. If the suction is too strong, reduce the vacuum’s power if possible to avoid damaging the fabric or shade.

  • Bucket with warm water and a mild soap

If permitted by the manufacturer’s instructions, fill a small bucket with warm water and a mild soap or detergent. This mixture will help remove any light stains or caked on dirt, dust, pet hair, pollen, and other debris from the fabric and headrail.

  • A clean sponge

Dip the sponge in the warm water and soap mixture and make sure to wring it out thoroughly to avoid soaking any parts of the shade. Then, use it to gently scrub away any caked on dirt, dust, or pollen from any affected areas of the shade. When cleaning the headrail, do your best to avoid getting any liquid inside it, as water can damage the moving parts.

  • Towels or sheets to catch any falling dust

Cleaning your shades—especially if they have a heavy amount of dirt and dust—can produce a big mess. Placing towels and sheets underneath the shades will catch any falling particles and prevent it from getting on your floor.

  • A hair dryer

If you use a wet sponge to clean your shade, it’s important that you dry the fabric quickly to avoid spotting or warping. The quickest and easiest way to spot dry the fabric is to use a hair dryer. Turn it on at the highest heat and power setting to dry any wet areas of the fabric within minutes.

Step 4: Use a professional cleaning service if necessary.

Shades that are deeply stained, have been exposed to open air for long periods of time, or that are simply beyond your cleaning capabilities may need to be addressed by a professional. Avoid attempting to do any heavy cleaning yourself, as using harsh chemicals and scrubbing the fabric using abrasive materials or excessive force can damage the fabric.

Step 5: Set a cleaning schedule to make the job easier in the future.

Like everything else in your home, your shades will continue to accumulate dirt and dust over time, no matter where they’re mounted. To avoid any major cleaning jobs in the future, set a schedule for cleaning your shades and stick to it as best you can.

Shades that are mounted in low-traffic rooms, such as spare bedrooms and bathrooms generally need only a light dusting once or twice a month. But shades mounted in rooms with high traffic, such as your living room, kitchen, or dining room should be dusted weekly and wiped down at least once a month to remove dirt and dust from the fabric and headrail.

How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

In addition to the splash of color and life it brings to your property, maintaining a garden can also turn your backyard into a self-contained ecosystem where plants and small animals thrive side-by-side. One of the most enjoyable parts of cultivating your own patch of nature is watching the life that grows from a single seed—including the flight of various birds that make their nests in and around your garden.

But simply growing a garden doesn’t always attract birds. In fact, there may be certain aspects of your garden that either aren’t conducive to birds or even repel them. To make sure your garden is bird-friendly, check out Blindster’s tips for making your outdoor space welcoming and accommodating to as many species of birds as possible.

• Hang bird feeders

Like all wild animals, birds are primarily concerned with how they’re going to get their next meal. The easiest way to attract them to your garden is to install bird feeders throughout your yard or outdoor space. However, it’s often not enough to simply hang a few bird feeders and sit back and watch the show. Make sure that they are fully stocked with seeds and that the bird food you provide is high-quality and suitable for feeding year-round.

bird feeder

• Make a safe space for them

Birds are risk-averse and will quickly move on from an area where they perceive dangers. That’s why it’s important to only hang bird feeders in areas where the birds will be left alone and away from threats. When hanging bird feeders, make sure you place them throughout your yard or garden and away from the reach of animals and predators—including your own cats and dogs. In addition, place them a good distance away from your home. When feeders are placed too close to windows, birds may accidentally fly into them and injure themselves.

safe space

• Keep them hydrated

In addition to working up a thirst, birds also appreciate a good bath every now and then. That’s why having a source of clean, fresh water in your yard or garden is essential to making it a happy home for your feathered friends. The easiest way to give birds the clean water they need is to simply add a birdbath to your outdoor space. Place it an area of your garden or yard where it’s easily accessible for both birds to get in and out and for you to clean and maintain it. While stone bird baths are the most traditional choice, bird baths made of any material work as long as they are well-maintained, clean, and kept safe from potential predators.

bird bath

• Fill your garden with plant life

Birds thrive in areas with large amounts of plant life. Not only are there more insects to feed on and activity to observe, but an abundance of trees, shrubs, and bushes also gives birds places to rest and survey the surrounding landscape. A sparse garden and outdoor area that caters more to humans than birds, will surely make your flying friends move on quickly. To truly create an ideal birdwatcher’s garden, mix and match plants to cultivate a variety of greenery that can attract a variety of birds.

A border garden running from sunny areas to shady areas.

• Provide nest-building materials

To truly make themselves at home in your outdoor space or garden, birds need to build nests. While most birds are crafty creatures and can fashion nests out of nearly any materials found in nature, they tend to hang around areas that have more privacy and have an abundance of raw materials to build with. An easy way to help birds get a head start on the nest building process is to hang birdhouses and nest boxes around your property. These provide safe enclosed spaces for birds to build nests where they can lay their eggs and raise their young. You can also set out nest-building materials, such as cloth strips, string, and ribbon to assist birds as they build their homes.

nest

What Birds Are the Easiest to Attract to Your Garden?

Now that you’ve turned your garden into a veritable bird sanctuary, you may be wondering what type of birds you’ll begin seeing around your home. While the varieties of birds you’ll find around your home depends on where you live, there are a few common types that are widespread throughout the country and that are common sights in bird-friendly gardens.

• Bluebirds

Even if you don’t maintain a fresh supply of bird food in your garden, there’s a good chance you’ll still attract a steady stream of bluebirds. Their primary diet consists of insects and other pests, which can help improve the health of the plants in your garden. Bluebirds tend to nest in sunny, open areas with easy access.

Bluebird

• Sparrows

Sparrows can include song sparrows, chipping sparrows, and field sparrows, all of which primarily eat a diet of seeds, with a few insects mixed in. Like bluebirds, the presence of sparrows in your garden can be beneficial, as they prefer to munch on weed seeds, helping to reduce the density of undesirable plants like crabgrass and ragweed from your outdoor area.

Sparrow in the Woods

• Woodpeckers

There are 21 species of woodpeckers in North America, and almost all of them are common visitors to outdoor gardens throughout the continent. Like bluebirds, woodpeckers mostly eat insects, but they’re also known to enjoy sunflower seeds, making birdfeeders stocked full of it and enticing treat for them. In addition, woodpeckers easily make their nests in bird houses and in the trunks of dead trees.

Downy Woodpecker (Male)

• Phoebes

Phoebes are small birds that are attracted to water due to their penchant for swooping in and gobbling up any unlucky insects that happen to be floating on the surface of the water. Birdbaths, small ponds, waterfalls, and water gardens are ideal for attracting this species of bird to your outdoor space and making sure they return again and again.

phoebe

How to Clean Roller Shades

Roller shades are highly versatile, look great in a variety of homes, and go well with almost any type of décor. Because of their universal appeal, roller shades are commonly chosen for both the home and office. And while roller shades can provide a sleek, elegant, and understated look to your windows, they do require regular maintenance to keep looking their best for years to come.

All objects in your home or office eventually attract dirt and dust—and roller shades are no different. Keeping your shades in tip-top condition requires a consistent cleaning schedule, so whether you’re looking to establish one for your new shades or you need to give your old window treatments a thorough cleaning for the first time, the instructions below can help you get the job done quickly and without damaging the fabric.

Step 1: Inspect your shades

Before you begin cleaning, you should first take a moment to inspect your blinds. Are they heavily stained or soiled? If so, they may need to be cleaned professionally. However, if your blinds are only lightly stained or have no stains, but an accumulation of dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris, cleaning them at home should be a simple process.

Step 2: Read the manufacturer’s instructions

While you may be tempted to begin cleaning your shades immediately, it’s important that you first read the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions before you begin. These instructions will contain useful information about whether your shades, depending on the material they’re made of, can be damaged by water and common cleaners—including mild soaps and detergents. Always read these instructions before using any cleaning supplies on your shades, as improper care may do more harm than good.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need

Cleaning shades is a simple process that doesn’t require many tools. To make the job as easy and hassle-free as possible, gather the following items and keep them handy while you work:

• A clean feather duster
A feather duster is the easiest way to clean shades that have only a light accumulation of dirt, dust, pollen, pet hair, and other debris.

• A vacuum with soft brush attachment
Vacuums are excellent for quickly removing debris from fabric. Before using a vacuum on your shade, make sure you use a soft brush attachment to avoid damaging the fabric. In addition, adjust the suction if possible and use only as much power as needed to clean the fabric.

• A sponge or clean cloth
Using a sponge or cloth is the quickest and easiest way to gently scrub away light stains and to remove dirt and dust from the headrail.

• A clean bucket of warm water and mild soap or detergent
A bucket of warm water and mild soap or detergent can quickly and easily remove light stains from the shade’s fabric or headrail. Before using any liquids on your shades, always test them on a small inconspicuous patch to make sure the color doesn’t run or stain after exposure to water and other mild cleaning liquids.

• A sheet or towels to catch dripping water and falling dust
Cleaning a shade can get messy—especially if it has collected a large amount of dirt and dust. To ease the cleanup process afterward, place a large sheet or towels underneath the length of the window to catch liquid or dust that falls from the shade while you clean.

• Hair dryer
Wet shades can warp, stain, fade, and become discolored. To quickly dry your shade, use a hair dryer on any damp areas after cleaning.

Step 4: Begin cleaning your shades

The process for cleaning can be divided into four quick and easy steps:

• Use the feather duster to remove light accumulations of dirt and dust.
• Use your vacuum with soft brush attachment to remove any additional dirt or dust that the feather duster didn’t pick up.
• Use a damp sponge or cloth and wipe away any dirt or dust from the headrail and gently scrub away any light stains from the fabric.
• Use a hair dryer on high heat to quickly dry any wet areas to prevent damage to the fabric.

Step 5: Determine if you need additional cleaning help

Although most roller shades can be cleaned at home, your shades may be heavily stained and cleaning them properly could be beyond your capabilities. If your shades won’t come clean with traditional methods, contact a professional cleaning company. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard in an effort to remove stains, as that can severely damage the fabric and make deep stains worse.

Step 6: Set a regular cleaning schedule

Once your shades are cleaned, keeping them clean is easy if you set a regular cleaning schedule. Most shades in rooms with little foot traffic, such as spare bedrooms and bathrooms, only require brief cleanings with feather dusters a few times per month. Shades in rooms with more frequent foot traffic, like those in living rooms, master bedrooms, and dining rooms, may require more hands-on cleaning once or twice per week.

How to Clean Sheer Shades

Sheer shades are the ideal solution for homeowners who want to let in as much warmth and sunlight as possible, but also increase privacy and security in their homes.

While their design can add an elegant and beautiful touch to any room in your home, sheer shades attract dust and dirt just like other shades—and that means they require regular cleaning to look their best at all times.

To safely clean your sheer shades, check out Blindster’s tips below.

 

Step 1: Inspect your shades to determine how much cleaning they need.

The cleaning approach you take with your sheer shades depends on how thoroughly they need to be cleaned. Shades with a light coating of dust, pollen, dirt, or other debris may only need a superficial cleaning, while shades that are stained or covered in a heavy accumulation of debris will need more intensive cleaning.

Step 2: Read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and warnings.

Because the fabric on sheer shades is so delicate, it’s important to follow all cleaning and care instructions to avoid possibly damaging it. Certain types of fabric may easily rip or become frayed due to normal cleaning motions and even light rubbing, so always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before manually spot-cleaning.

In addition, pay close attention to any warnings about using soaps and detergents—even mild ones—before putting them on the fabric. Certain fabrics may become permanently stained with exposure to even small amounts of water and soap.

To find the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, check the original packing for the shades, consult the manufacturer’s website, check for a tag on the fabric, or contact Blindster.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need.

To save time, gather all of the cleaning items you’ll need during the cleaning process ahead of time. Cleaning sheer shades requires only a few tools and cleaning products, such as:

  • Feather duster

A feather duster is the quickest and easiest way to remove light accumulations of dirt, dust, and pet hair from your shades. It’s also extremely gentle on the fabric and should be your first choice when you begin cleaning.

  • Vacuum with soft brush attachment

For heavier filth or to remove dirt and dust without worrying about it falling on the floor, use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum’s extension handle. If the suction from your vacuum is too strong, adjust it to a lower setting if possible or place panty hose over the vacuum’s opening to attract dust without pulling on the fabric.

  • Bucket of warm water and mild soap or detergent

If the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions indicate that it’s okay to use water and soap when cleaning your shade, mix the two together in a bucket or large bowl. Dilute the mixture with more water as necessary. For heavily soiled shades, you may want to add a second bucket or bowl to rinse your sponge or cloth to avoid contaminating the soapy water in the first bucket.

Step 4:Begin cleaning your shades.

The first step when cleaning your shades is to remove any light accumulations of dirt and dust. Begin by gently running the feather duster along every exposed surface of the shade, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom. You may want to place a sheet or towels underneath your window or door to catch any falling dust at this point of the cleaning process.

Next, use your vacuum with its soft brush attachment to remove any additional dirt, dust, or pollen from your shades. As mentioned above, change the suction settings if the vacuum is ineffective at removing dust or the suction is too strong and could possibly damage the fabric.

Finally, immerse your sponge or soft cloth in the warm water and soap mixture and wring it thoroughly to avoid causing water damage to your shades. Starting at the headrail, gently wipe along every exposed surface of the shades to remove light stains or dirt and dust accumulations.

Be careful to not get any water inside the openings of the headrail and don’t soak the fabric, as excess moisture could damage it.

Step 5: Dry your shades.

To quickly dry your shades and prevent possible water spots from forming on the fabric, use a hair dryer on any areas with excess moisture.

Step 6: Set a regular cleaning schedule.

To keep your shades looking their best all year long, make cleaning them a part of your weekly cleaning routine. In most cases, sheer shades require just a quick spot cleaning with a feather duster on a weekly basis to avoid heavy dirt and dust accumulation that can lead to stains and discoloration after several weeks, months, or years between cleanings.

Step 7: Consult a professional cleaning service for heavily stained shades.

If your shades have stains that are deep inside the fabric, you may be unable to clean them at home. If that’s the case, you may have to consult with a professional cleaning service that has the equipment to remove the stains with damaging the fabric of the shades.

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