Ultrasonic vs. "On-Site Cleaning"

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Any one of three methods is commonly used to clean blinds. The tools for hand cleaning methods (or low-pressure power washing) can be purchased at the local big box or hardware store. For those considering either ultrasonic or injection-extraction cleaning methods, there is usually a more significant investment required. Before committing to any method one should take into consideration variables such as performance vs. price and have at least a basic understanding of the efficiencies, limitations, or potential liabilities of each cleaning method.

Ultrasonic blind cleaning works with both hard and soft blinds (metals to fabrics), essentially things that can be immersed safely in water. Injection-extraction cleaning can be used for fabric blinds, draperies, and valances. If the injection-extraction cleaner has a machine that works with both water and solvent-based cleaners, their repertoire expands to include all fabrics—draperies, custom upholstery, etc. If one is really serious about cleaning all types of custom window treatments in your business plan, it is not a question of which one, but when does the budget justify both. Bear in mind that merely having the right equipment is only the first step of a more complicated equation.

Soot Silhouette IE removal after sonic  

Which method does a better job of cleaning shades? There is no simple answer. While an ultrasonic cleaning may provide a deeper removal of dirt in one situation, it could be a recipe for disaster in another. Recognizing the strengths and limitations of each method is crucial. When one pushes beyond the reasonable limits of their capabilities it is an invitation for trouble with any cleaning method.


Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the residual soot (seen in the cup) was removed from a Silhouette that had already been ultrasonically cleaned. While the blinds looked much better after pretreatment and ultrasonic cleaning the additional heat and flushing action of the injection-extraction method obviously removed a bit more of the gray in this case. Heat, however, can be a damaging factor in either cleaning method. The type of fabric, condition of the glue lines, knowledge of the technician, and their understanding of the cleaning chemistry (and what chemicals they use) will all play important roles in determining the success of each job.

As you can see, there are too many variables to make a simplistic judgment in favor of one method or the other. One has to decide which method is the best fit for the intended business model, or if both are desired. Also, the ability to use either or both methods effectively depends upon one's training and knowledge of the products to be cleaned. All the factors in the equation affect the outcome. With a basic model machine, good chemistry, and technique, a knowledgeable blind cleaner will outperform a novice with fancy equipment all the way to the bank.

So as you consider the opportunities that exist in this niche market of blind and shade cleaning, consider the main points raised here. While it’s simple to realize mini blinds are best done ultrasonically and draperies are better dry cleaned using an injection-extraction method, there is plenty of potential for learning, sharing, and improving professional skills in the space between these two extremes. If one method, machine, or chemistry were clearly superior, there would be no debate. For the blind cleaner looking to enhance their operations, we suggest exercising their critical thinking skills rather than sitting on a prejudice that may obscure an opportunity. Deployed properly in your business, either method will earn a healthy profit.


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