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How to Clean Ceiling Fans & Why You Should

Ceiling fans can attract a lot of dust over time. Even though they’re in constant motion, they do need occasional cleaning. Read on to learn how to clean ceiling fans.

White ceiling fan

Ceiling fans are great for keeping the room cool and comfortable while saving energy costs. However, they attract a lot of dust and dirt which can accumulate over time leading to poor air quality, allergies, and respiratory problems.

Cleaning is important not only for air quality, but to maintain their efficiency and performance. When dust accumulates on the fan blades, it’s not just ugly, but can lead to your fan becoming unbalanced, wobbling and possibly even burning out its motor.

Fortunately, you don’t need to clean them very often. They need to be dusted more often than cleaned, but there’s an affordable tool that can make this job incredibly easy.

When to Clean Ceiling Fans

The best time to clean your ceiling fan is before the start of the summer season or after extended use. This ensures that any accumulated dust or grime does not circulate through the air when you turn on your fan.

Before starting, ensure that the fan is turned off and has stopped completely. You should also place a drop cloth or old sheet below the fan to catch any falling dust or debris.

What You’ll Need

You’re only going to need a few tools for this job.

  • Dust mask and eye covering (glasses are fine)
  • Ladder or step stool so you can reach it easily (unless you use a U-shaped duster on extension pole)
  • U-shaped microfiber duster on an extension pole or dry microfiber cloths
  • Bucket of warm water with mild dish soap (not necessarily every time)
  • Soft cloth (microfiber is good)
  • Vacuum with hard surface attachment (optional)

The reason you need a mask is to protect your lungs from dust, debris, and allergens that will fall into your face. Also, I have dust allergies, and I’ve found wearing a mask while doing any dusty chores reduces my symptoms to almost nothing.

The reason I recommend the U-shaped duster on a long pole is that these tools can extend several feet and allow you to safely clean your ceiling fan blades from the floor. Which means you don’t have to climb up a ladder or step stool.

Safety Tips

Safety comes first in any job involving a step stool or ladder.

  • Make sure the fan has fully stopped turning before you start cleaning. Also make sure anyone else present in the household knows not to turn it on.
  • Wear a mask and goggles or simple eyeglasses so any falling dust or debris doesn’t get in your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Make sure your ladder or step stool is on a stable surface. Test your weight on it before climbing all the way up.
  • Be sure you can reach the fan easily. If not, you need a taller step stool or ladder.

How to Clean Ceiling Fans in Less Than 30 Minutes

Your ceiling fans may just be dusty, or they may have years of accumulated grime. The basic steps will be the same, but if it’s really dirty, we’ll go over how to clean it thoroughly.

Step 1: Turn off the fan. If you’ve got kids you’re concerned might come in and turn it on without paying attention, put some shipping tape over the switch. Put your mask and eye protection on and get to work.

Step 2: Dust the fan. If this is all you need to do, you have two options. Skip the ladder and use a fan duster on an extension pole. This is super easy.

If you don’t have one, or if the fan needs more cleaning, go ahead and climb up on your ladder or step stool. Use a dry microfiber cloth to dust. Or you can use a vacuum with an attachment for hard surfaces if you prefer.

Step 3 (optional): Clean the fan blades. If your fan needs more than dusting, use a microfiber cloth dipped in soapy water to clean it. If there’s any dirt that’s caked on, you may need to borrow a scrub brush from your kitchen to get it off..

Step 4: Cleaning the fan housing. After cleaning the blades, you can clean the housing with the same soapy water. Or if you’ve been keeping it clean, you may only need to dust it with microfiber.

And that’s it! Once you’ve got your fan clean, it will probably only need to be dusted once a year, which is very easy and doesn’t take much time at all.

The Pillowcase Method

Some people prefer to put an old pillowcase onto each fan blade and use it to dust the fans. This works, but I find it takes more effort than using the U-shaped tool.

Regular Maintenance Tips for Ceiling Fans

Here are some tips on how to keep your ceiling fans clean and dust-free for longer periods:

If you live in a very dusty area, you may need to dust the fans every week or so while they’re in use. Again, a U-shaped tool on a pole makes this so easy to do.

Waxing the blades with car wax can keep dust from accumulating on the fan blades, which will save you a lot of cleaning time.

If you use them for several hours a day, you should dust them every time you’re doing housework. If you use them less than daily or rarely, you may be able to dust them once a month or even less. You can use your judgment.

Now You Can Easily Keep Your Ceiling Fans Clean

Cleaning ceiling fans is essential for indoor air quality. Dusting is easy, and thorough cleaning is only necessary probably once or twice a year, depending how dirty your fans get.

Doing this will keep your air cleaner and keep your ceiling fans operating at their most efficient level. Which in turn saves you money on energy bills while keeping you comfortable in every season. Your clean ceiling fans will not only look great but also function effectively for years to come.