Just like your home, your RV will suffer from everyday messes. It’s necessary to go through every once in a while to wipe surfaces down, dust, vacuum, and sweep to maintain general cleanliness. Yes, even vacations require chores! Most things will be easy to clean without much effort, but cleaning RV shades may take a little more thought and work to get clean. Here are some tips to make this chore easier!
It is always a good idea to go through about once a week or so and use a feather duster or something similar to remove any dust or dirt buildup, which could ultimately cause stains. Sometimes this is not an option, if your RV is in storage or closed up and winterized. But there are times when you close up for the season with no stains, but open it up months later to find mystery stains on your blinds. It happens! So what can you do about stains?
You must first take into consideration what kind of blinds your RV has. Different materials will need to be treated differently, and different styles will require a different technique! As a general rule, no matter what they are made of, you should not scrub your shades, as most materials are not sturdy enough to withstand vigorous scrubbing. You should always check your RV’s manual to see what it has to say about cleaning your shades.
Pre-Treating Your Shades
No matter what material your RV shades are, you should start your cleaning process by vacuuming them off as well as you possibly can, in order to remove all dust and dirt so that you don’t rub more into the fabric. Be sure to use the crevice hand tool of your vacuum to get into small spaces or between pleats, and an upholstery brush to get all the debris off the shades. If you happen to have shades made from paper, this is really the only thing you can do to clean them, as water or any type of cleaning solution will disintegrate the shades.
Another rule of thumb for any material is to spot test in an inconspicuous area with whatever cleaning material or solution you are using, and let it fully dry to see if there is any resulting discoloration. This way you don’t ruin your RV’s shades by treating a huge spot and having the resulting effect work out differently than you thought it would.
Cleaning Your Shades
There are a few different suggestions to consider when cleaning RV shades. You can use just plain water, solutions like OxyClean or any stain removing solutions, or possibly even a steam cleaner. Be sure to never use a steam cleaner on pleated blinds because they will ruin the pleats!
With regular fabric blinds, it is possible to spot treat them, or remove them and let them soak in the bathtub to remove stains. Some suggest to let your blinds soak in the tub with plain warm water for a few minutes, then make a solution with OxyClean and let them soak longer. Once they are dry, you can hang them again! This process is not recommended for pleated blinds, as it could destroy the pleats if you’re not careful.
If you’d like to spot treat your blinds, a process of elimination could help from having to jump to potent chemical solutions that could discolor your shades:
-Start by spraying some warm water onto the stain and gently rub the stain.
-Blot the stain with a towel or vacuum the liquid out of the material, and repeat this process several times.
-If that doesn’t work, repeat the same process with a few drops of clear dish soap added into the water. Be sure to use clear dish soap because colored soaps could stain the shades.
-If this process still doesn’t work, mix a small amount of OxyClean with warm water and gently rub into the stain and blot.
This process works especially well for pleated blinds, but can be used for regular shades as well!
Some strongly suggest using a dry foam or cleaning agent to clean blinds, especially pleated blinds, as there is less of a chance that they could ruin or discolor your shades. You could also use a dry sponge to clean pleated and delicate shades.
There is a real debate about cleaning RV shades, so if you’re especially nervous about experimenting with different techniques, just refer to your RV’s manual and stick to that! If you have any other tips or tricks to make cleaning your RV shades an easier chore, leave us a comment!