How to Clean Ceiling Fans

Nothing invites the blessing of warm weather into your home like opening the windows and turning on the ceiling fans. Unless, of course, that invitation launches a cascade of dancing dust bunnies from fan blades that love to accumulate dust. Knowing how to clean ceiling fans and keep them dust-free can extend the life of the fan and make your home a cleaner, healthier environment for your family.

Dust, dirt, and greasy buildup can make the fan motor work much harder than it should. That means your ceiling fans can’t do their jobs cooling rooms, which also means you could spend more on your electric bill. And besides the wear and tear on your ceiling fans, all that dirt and dust can easily contaminate the air your family breathes.

Before you start cleaning, make sure your fan is set to turn in the correct direction for the season. The direction in summer should be counterclockwise to create a downdraft of cooling breezes. For winter, your fan direction should be clockwise to create an updraft to circulate warm air in the room. To change the direction of the fan, you’ll flip a switch on the fan housing, push a button on a remote, or use your voice (if you have “smart” ceiling fans).

The Best Way to Clean Ceiling Fans

Despite the height, cleaning a ceiling fan isn’t too challenging. All you need is a step ladder, an old sheet, something to wipe away the dirt and dust, a little elbow grease, and some ceiling fan cleaning hacks. A weekly dry-dusting of your household fans will keep them dust and allergen-free and help them run more smoothly and quietly. Before you dust or clean, always make sure your ceiling fan and light are turned off.

How to Dust a Ceiling Fan

  • Lay down an old sheet or painter’s tarp under your ceiling fan and set up your ladder.
  • Remove any cobwebs and dust from the main housing of the fan and the ceiling around the fan with a microfiber cloth.
  • Remove the globe or globes and place them in a sink of soapy, warm water. To protect the fixtures from breaking, place a dish cloth or towel in the bottom of the sink.
  • While the globes soak, swipe the fan blades with a microfiber cloth to minimize swirling dust. If the dust is thick, dampen the cloth with an all-purpose cleaner or spray lightly. Be careful not to spray near the ceiling fan motor.
  • After cleaning the blades, rinse out and dry off the globes and replace them.

How to Clean Fan Blades Quickly

  • Use a pillowcase to wipe down the motor housing and the ceiling around the fan, letting the pillowcase capture the dirt and dust.
  • Slide the pillowcase over a fan blade and use firm pressure as you pull the pillowcase back toward the end of the blade.
  • Repeat until all the fan blades are clean.
  • Shake out the pillowcase outdoors and then throw it in the washer.

How to Clean Ceiling Fans With Built-Up Dirt and Grime

  • If your ceiling fan has built-up grime, lay out your sheet to catch the debris and set up your ladder.
  • Starting at the canopy and working your way down, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away grime and greasy residue.
  • If the fan blades are greasy, pour a small amount of degreaser onto a microfiber cloth and wipe them thoroughly.
  • Clean the fan blades from the inside out and make sure you get into the nooks and crannies where the blades attach.

By deep cleaning your ceiling fans during your spring or fall cleanups, you can get away with dry-dusting them weekly and still keep dust and allergens at bay. Having a clean ceiling fan not only helps out allergy sufferers, but also helps diminish any noise, wobbling, or motor issues caused by build-up of dust and other particles.

Need help cleaning your ceiling fans or anything else in your home? Whether you are a DIYer using our library of pro cleaning tips or a customer using one of our popular cleaning services, we want everyone to enjoy a cleaner, healthier home. Get your free online estimate or call 800-843-6243 today and find out what The Maids can do for your home.


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