Under 2 hours
All types of fans operate rotating blades to circulate or cool air through a room. The blowing of air one way draws air, dust and other floating particles into the fan from the opposite direction. Dirty fan blades and motors need to be dusted and cleaned on a regular basis to run smoothly.
Read this guide to learn how to clean a ceiling fan and how to clean fans of various types to keep them working their best.
Turn Off the Fan
Before you shut off your fan for cleaning, note the direction that the ceiling fan blades are spinning. Clockwise circulates and warms air in a room, counterclockwise cools it. If you haven’t switched the fan direction for the season, this is a good time to do so.
Tip: Place an old sheet or drop cloth under the fan before cleaning to collect the dust. If neither is available, vacuum the floor under the fan afterward.
Position Yourself to Clean
Use a sturdy step stool or step ladder for cleaning a ceiling fan instead of a chair or table, which is less stable. Place the stool or step ladder on a level surface and make sure that it does not slide or skid. The stool or step ladder should allow you to climb high enough for cleaning a ceiling fan without extending your reach too high.
How to Clean Ceiling Fan Blades with a Pillowcase
This handy trick will keep dust and dirt from flying all over the place. All the dust stays in the pillowcase, which makes cleanup a breeze. It is also convenient for cleaning oversized fan blades like fan-shaped blades.
- Slowly insert a pillowcase over the ceiling fan blades, one at a time.
- Use the pillowcase to wipe the dust off the sides, top and bottom of the fan blade. Pull the pillowcase away so that any dust will be wiped directly into the pillowcase.
- Once you’ve wiped each fan blade, take the pillowcase outdoors, turn it inside out and shake it. Then wash it in the laundry.
- Fan blades with heavy buildup need more attention. Wipe the fan blades and base with a mild cleaner and a cloth. You can also use a 50/50 white vinegar and water mix.
Tip: Wear a dust mask a when dusting underneath a ceiling fan to avoid inhaling dust particles. Safety glasses will help keep dust particles out of your eyes. Wear a hair cover or cap to keep the dust particles out of your hair.
How to Clean Blades with an Extendable Duster
Extendable dusters with flexible heads are convenient for cleaning a ceiling fan without using a step stool or step ladder. Wipe the dust from both sides of the blades as well as the base. This will get most of the dust and debris off.
Clean the Sides of the Blades
Don’t forget the sides of the blades when cleaning a ceiling fan. They get just as dirty as the rest of the blades and are often overlooked in cleaning. Wipe down the sides of the blades with the cleaner mix or use disinfecting wipes.
Remove Globe and Clean
If the ceiling fan has a glass globe, remove it and wash the glass globe in warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly, then put it back on the ceiling fan. If the bulbs are still good, wipe them with a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust.
Tip: Swap out the light bulbs with higher-efficiency bulbs that last longer and can save you money.
Clean Pull Chain and Motor
Dust and dirt can accumulate on the ceiling fan pull chain and motor, so don’t overlook these parts when cleaning a ceiling fan.
- Wipe the pull chain and motor with a cloth.
- Spray small amounts of compressed air to remove interior dust in the motor housing.
How to Clean a Box Fan
Blades and interiors of box fans accumulate dust and dirt even with regular dusting and should be cleaned at least twice a year.
- Turn off and unplug the fan, then remove the grill. With most fans, the grill can be removed by unfastening tabs by hand or unscrewing it with a screwdriver.
- If the blades are removable, detach the blade cap and slide the blades free.
- Use a mild all-purpose cleaner or a mixture of water and dish soap to gently wash the blades and grill with a cleaning cloth. Disinfecting wipes can also be used to clean the blades. Do not spray cleaner directly onto the blades.
- Rinse the blades and grill under warm running water.
- Set the blades and grill on a towel to dry.
- Vacuum the nooks and crannies of the fan motor.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe the base and the rest of the fan’s surfaces.
- When all the parts are dry, reattach the blades, blade cap and grill.
How to Clean an Oscillating Fan
An oscillating fan might have more complicated mechanisms than a box or window fan. They can be dusted and cleaned in essentially the same ways. Oscillating fans can accumulate dust quickly and should be dusted once a week without removing any parts.
- Turn off and unplug the fan and wait until the blades have stopped spinning.
- Vacuum the grill with a vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment.
- Spray the blades of the fan through the grill with a can of compressed air or a blow dryer until they’re free of remaining dust residue.
- Use a dry cleaning cloth to wipe the grill, the base and the rest of the surfaces.
How to Clean a Window Fan
Window fans are installed in between sashes and help to circulate air in and out of your home. After time, they will need to be dusted and cleaned.
- Unplug and remove the fan from the window.
- Locate the screws around the perimeter of the fan and open up the fan. Separate the grill cover from the back of the fan.
- Clean the large debris first. Remove loose matter from the fan parts with a paper towel or microfiber towel.
- Use a solution of hot water and mild soap or an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the blades and all fan parts inside and out
- Reassemble the fan and reinsert it back into the window.
How to Clean an Attic Fan
If you have an attic fan or whole house fan, dust at least once a season.
- Use an extendable fan duster to dust the louvers and blades.
- Once a year, clean the blades by spraying or soaking a clean cloth in a mild cleaner and gently wiping.
- Vacuum the motor housing and around the fan wherever accessible.
Now that your fan is clean, keep it clean with regular dusting to maintain the room’s air quality. Dust the ceiling fan blades often to keep dust and dirt from building up. In warmer months, when the fan is running more often, give them a wipe down weekly.
Learn how to clean a fan to maintain its performance and make sure your home stays cool. Download The Home Depot Mobile App and shop for cleaning supplies to keep your fans dust and dirt free. Need ceiling fan cleaning supplies right away? No problem. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.