The problem with bamboo / matchstick / grass blinds

Ever since we saw this house and decided to buy it, I always dreamed of hanging bamboo blinds on the living room and dining room windows. I also thought that bamboo blinds would look great in my office/study. Bamboo blinds are elegant, environment-friendly and they come in so many designs and shades. Little did I know that we’d be facing mold and mildew problems within weeks of putting up the blinds. bamboo blinds

It’s not so bad with the bamboo blinds in my study where the mold infestation was minimal (that’s a real butterfly, by the way). But, downstairs in the living room and dining area, it was bad. The photo below shows the panel on the dining area window on the day it was installed. It doesn’t look that clean anymore. After molds started infesting the blinds, there are obvious dark spots. grass blinds

I must note though that the blinds downstairs are of a different material — grass, not bamboo. The rains have really done a job on them.

The question, of course, is whether this is something natural and unavoidable. Are mold and mildew the price to pay for having beautiful natural blinds that are supposed to be almost maintenance free?

I think our first mistake was in buying ready-made blinds from China. They were so inexpensive, there were a lot of designs to choose from and, more importantly, they provided instant gratification. Custom-made blinds could take weeks to order and install. Meanwhile, we had solid wood furniture that was taking a beating from the hot afternoon sun. We needed blinds — fast. The thing is, within a week of putting them up, the rains began. It didn’t take long before we notice the moldy spots.

So, what lesson have I learned from all this?

First, ask the manufacturer/seller if the bamboo/grass blinds have been pre-treated with sealants and fungicide to minimize mold and mildew infestation. Check the labels too.

Second, don’t be such a cheapskate. With local custom-made blinds, should anything go wrong, you can run after the manufacturer. With these made-in-China versions, whom will you run after for product warranty?

Third, don’t panic. There is a solution for every problem. Australian green advocate Alan Hayes says, “Bamboo blinds should be washed with a solution of a quarter of a cup of salt, one tablespoon bicarbonate soda and one litre of water. Rinse clean, dry, and rub lightly with raw linseed oil.” He also says that should be combined with efforts to control dampness in the house which is not easy in an area where humidity is high for most part of the year.

Well, Hayes’ solution is still worth a try. If the mold and mildew problem recurs, I’ll consider custom-made bamboo blinds. Locally manufactured. With a manufacturer that I can sue should something go wrong.


    • pyjamas says

      Pag sinabi nyo pong “Dapitan” san po un? Alam ko lang po eh yung Dapitan na kinulungan kay Rizal, Ahahaha!
      Pasensya na po, mejo eng-eng lang :P

      Bamboo blinds din po kasi ang gusto ko sa dining room windows namin. Natatak sya sa isip ko nung makita ko sya sa Ikea a few years back. Kaso manipis yung sa Ikea. Walang screening sa sobrang nipis.

      Naremedyuhan nyo na po ba ung problema sa blinds nyo Ms. Sassy?

      • says

        Dapitan street in Manila. Pyjamas. Yung blinds… now that the weather is cold, the molds have gotten bad. When we wake up in the morning the dried molds are all over the upholstery. We’re putting up curtains and removing the blinds.

  1. deloons says

    In your opinion, where is the best place to buy inexpensive good quality bamboo blinds? I have been to Divisoria but was’nt sure where to look or if the quality would be good. Any suggestions?

  2. says

    If you like them plain, there are roadside vendors along Commonwealth Avenue, along the National Highway in Tagaytay… but you have to haggle. We bought ours from Wilcon (Libis). They’re made in China. Cheaper than custom-made blinds but what you see is what you get. If you want really good ones, get them custom made. Lots of shops in Home Depots offer them, prices per square foot.

  3. deloons says

    Around how much were the China made ones from Wilcon?

    And how much are the ones selling along Tagaytay?

    I need about 3 pieces of 56″x56″ sized ones eh, and the custom ones I found in Robinsons Galleria (Handyman yata) were P95 per sq foot – so it comes out around P2,000+ per 56″x56″ piece. Too pricey for me.

  4. says

    The prices vary depending on the size. The ones we got were 60″ in width. Not so sure about the length now but it is longer than 60″. Prices range from P1,199 to P1,399. Shorter width, lower price. The shortest width is 36″ so you can even have two blinds side by side.

    The ones in Tagaytay, I don’t remember anymore. I only know the the first price is always unreasonably high but if you haggle, it can go down to as much as 50% less.

  5. deloons says

    Thanks for the tip.

    Finally was able to get bamboo blinds for the house from Dapitan St. It was my first time there… and they have everything you could be looking for that’s Philippine made. Amazing.

    Got 3 60″ blinds for P300 each, and 1 24″ for P150. Its just the simple kind, not much design on it – which is exactly what I was looking for. :) Cheers