Louvered shutters are ideal for adding beauty and character to buildings of all styles. However, the louvers do tend to pick up dust pretty quickly, leaving you with a window treatment that looks more shabby than chic. The good news is, with a little-and-often approach, cleaning louvered shutters doesn’t have to be too much of a chore. Here you’ll find out how to clean louvered shutters of all types – interior and exterior, wood and vinyl – ensuring that they retain their beauty for as long as possible.
Step-by-step guide to cleaning louvered shutters
Step 1: Remove excess dust
Rather than getting straight in there with the damp cloth and detergent, begin by using a vacuum cleaner, feather duster or dry polishing cloth to remove loose dust from the shutter blades and frame. Skip this step and your workload is effectively doubled, leaving a mucky, linty residue that is a nightmare to remove.
The more often you dust your shutters, the better. Regular dusting prevents a build-up of dirt and grime that would be difficult and more time consuming to remove later on. Once every week or two is usually adequate.
Step 2: Clean your shutters
Complete this step around once a month. Which cleaning agent you should use depends on the material and finish of your shutters.
Wooden shutters with natural finishes such as stain, lacquer and oil should be cleaned using a soft cloth and a good quality wood polish. Buff the wood to a high shine, using a toothbrush to reach awkward crevices, and your shutters should look as good as new.
Generally speaking, painted wooden shutters and those made from or laminated with synthetic materials can be cleaned using mild washing up liquid diluted in warm water. Don’t use water on natural wooden shutters, as this can cause the wood to stain and warp.
Immerse a cloth in the soapy water, wring it to remove excess moisture and wipe the shutters clean, tackling any hard-to-reach areas with an old toothbrush.
Once you’re on top of your shutter cleaning routine you should only need to spot clean a few areas. However, if you have been neglecting your shutters for a while they are likely to be grimy, sticky and oily and will need to be cleaned more thoroughly.
Step 3: Rinse and dry
If your shutters are painted or made from synthetic material, use a clean, damp cloth to remove the soapy residue then dry them thoroughly using an old towel.
When cleaning exterior shutters, especially those that are too high to reach, use a dry broom followed by a hose or pressure washer to remove loose dirt and debris. Then, working from top to bottom, scrub the shutters using a clean broom or mop dipped in soapy water. Finally, remove all trace of the suds before the shutters dry using your hose or pressure washer.
If you are using a ladder, make sure it is stable and sturdy before use and don’t stand on the uppermost rungs as this can cause it to topple over. It may be worth investing in a ladder stabiliser or anti-slip device, particularly if you are working on uneven ground.
Do not use an all-purpose cleaner on plantation shutters as these often contain harsh chemicals that can cause discolouration.
The steps outlined above are only intended as a general guide and you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions in case any specialist cleaning is required.
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