How to Clean Your Ceiling Fan

March 23rd, 2012

By Stephanie Glover

Ceiling fans are in almost every home.  They are a convenient way to cool down a room, but they are also one of the biggest dust catchers in your home.  Dust, dirt and grime can build up on the fan blades quickly, even if you keep the fan running constantly.  Over time, dirt, dust, smoke and grease from cooking can accumulate and actually damage the finish, especially in the case of wood. So the truth is that dirty ceiling fans are not just annoying but procrastination could prove costly.

Not to worry though, with some easy cleaning and maintenance tips, you can keep your fan running smoothly and keep dust and dirt from recirculating in your home. These basic cleaning methods are efficient and ultimately easy to use.

The first step in cleaning your ceiling fan is choosing what tools you are going to use.  Here are a few options for you:

Feather Dusters:

Feather dusters are very popular and many like to use them because they are quick and easy. They are  recommended for touch ups and if you are dusting weekly. They are not recommended for heavier dusting because they can scatter dust everywhere and they just don’t do a complete job of cleaning.

Pledge or Swiffer Dust Wipes and Microfiber Cloths:

These are all designed to attract the dust and not scatter it back into the air. Paper towels do a good job too, just spray it first with an all purpose or wood furniture cleaner before attempting to dust or clean.

Tools Designed Specifically to Clean Ceiling Fans:

There are fan blade cleaners specifically meant to clean and dust them off. Some are like a sleeve but with only one opening. This is designed to slip on over the blade. You close the opening with your hands and slip it off the fan blade. The dust accumulates in the bag and not all over you or the floor.

Vacuum Cleaner Attachments:

The brush tool on a canister vacuum can be useful to remove loose dust and dirt or cobwebs.

There can be a couple of problems with using attachments. The most common is that most vacuum cleaner hoses are not long enough to clean the ceiling fan blades, especially with upright vacuums.

It might be useful for you personally, but before purchasing a specialty cleaning tool, ask yourself how easy and effective it will really be.

Pillow Case

Another option for cleaning your ceiling fan is to use an old pillowcase. Hook your old pillowcase over a fin of the ceiling fan, hold the end and slide it along the fin. The pillowcase traps all the dust and when you’re done you can take it outside, turn it inside out, shake it clean and wash it as usual.

Dusting the Ceiling Fan:

The easiest way to keep dust at bay is to add this task to your regular weekly or bi-weekly cleaning. This is when a feather duster, static duster or one of those specially designed ceiling fan dusters can come in handy. Just a light “once over” each blade and you are done.

Regular Cleaning:

Performing a regular cleaning is more efficient than dusting and will dispose of dust instead of redistributing it around the room. A regular cleaning is recommended once a month but it depends on how much dust is flying around your home and how often you use your fan.

  1. Step stool or ladder: Get out your step stool and make sure you can get eye level with the fan.
  2. Cleaning tools: Use a damp cloth and/or a duster like Pledge, Swiffer, or some other dust-collecting cloth.
  3. Wipe down the blades: Use the damp cloth to clean off the blades.
  4. Don’t let the dust-bunnies fall: Use the dust cloth to catch as many particles (or clumps, if it’s been a while!) as possible when you reach the end of the blade.
  5. Go back over the blades if needed: If you have not kept up on dusting and cleaning, you will most likely need to go over the blades a second time with another damp cloth to get any additional dust.
  6. Wipe down the housing and mount: Use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the housing and support pole or ceiling mount.
  7. Buff it to remove streaks: You may want to buff it after with a clean, dry cloth to restore the shine.

Once you get on a schedule dusting and regular cleaning will not only save time and energy, but also cut down on the dust circulating in your home. It will also make an easier task of your bi-yearly heavy duty cleaning.

Keeping Your Ceiling Fan Clean:

Now that your fan is clean and dust free, follow these tips to limit build up and dust from collecting:

  • Run the fan often. It is better for the air in your home to circulate and it will keep dust from building up on the blades.
  • Use a dryer sheet. Wipe down the blades, the fan housing, and all exterior parts with a clean dryer sheet. This will control static cling and repel dust, lint and pet hair that can accumulate. Do this especially if you do not use your fan daily.

With these tips and getting on a schedule, you can make a dreaded task much easier and less stressful. No longer will you have to sit and look at dust hanging down from your ceiling fan or be afraid to turn it on to see a dust storm.

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