How to Clean Ceiling Fans - Bob Vila

Keep Ceiling Fans Clean to Ensure Smooth Operation

How to Clean Ceiling Fans


Ceiling fans are a wonderful addition to any room, offering a cool breeze and providing a pleasant decorative accent. However, like any appliance, ceiling fans collect dust and grime that can lead to noisy operation and, eventually, motor damage. A proactive approach to cleaning can help you keep your ceiling fan running quietly and smoothly. Here’s how:

Cleaning Ceiling Fan Blades

• The first step is to turn off your ceiling fan, making sure the blades have come to a complete stop. If the blades are still moving when you begin, even a soft duster can do damage.

• Fan blades should be dusted weekly. You can purchase a specialized pole duster that slides over fan blades, simultaneously cleaning both the top and bottom.

• For deeper cleaning, position a step ladder beneath the fan and carefully go over the blades with a water-moistened microfiber cloth or terry towel. Repeat with a dry cloth.

• Use a clean, dry cloth to go over the motor housing and wipe down any pull-chains.

• If you are feeling ambitious, spray the motor housing with compressed air to remove interior dust.

• Avoid bending, breaking, or warping the blades by being careful not to press down too hard.

• Never use abrasive cleaners or toxic chemicals, as these products can scratch or discolor the fan blades and motor housing.

• Do not use alcohol, baby wipes, or alkaline cleansers; these contain harsh compounds that can stain or destroy the finish on the blades.

• Once your blades are clean, use a commercial anti-static, dust-repelling spray to help them stay that way. Spray the product onto a clean microfiber cloth and wipe both sides of each blade. Make your own anti-static spray by mixing one part fabric softener to four parts water in a spray bottle.

Cleaning Ceiling Fans - Fan Lights


Cleaning Ceiling Fan Light Fixtures

• Once again, make sure the fan is turned off. After removing the light bulbs, take off the glass shades by carefully turning the mounting screws counter-clockwise.

• Wash the glass shades in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly.

• Inspect the rubberized gasket around the base of each shade. If it is worn or torn, either swap in a new gasket or use two or three heavy-duty rubber bands instead.

• Replace the glass shades, being certain that the mounting screws are finger-tight. That way, the glass will not rattle or shake when the fan is operating.

• Replace the light bulbs.

Sit back, relax, and sip a mint julep while your ceiling fan gently circulates the air!


For more on cleaning, consider:

How To: Clean Painted Walls
Top Tips for Cleaning Windows
How To: Clean Stainless Steel

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