How to Clean A Ceiling Fan – The Ultimate Guide

How often do you clean your ceiling fan?

Probably not as often as you should, but not without reason. Since most of the dust and filth they accumulate are out of sight, it’s not something we often think about. However, the dust and other allergens they discretely spread can undermine your other cleaning efforts and exacerbate allergy symptoms.

This guide provides you methods of how to clean ceiling fans, but there are some simple safety measures to mind.

Safety Precautions:

How to clean ceiling fans
  • Wear a face mask, bandana, safety goggles, and any other protective gear you might need.
  • Make sure fan is completely off and not moving.
  • If there are other people in the house, tape the switch down. The last thing you want is a surprise swing to the head.
  • If using a ladder or step-stool, be very aware of its position. Make sure it is fully extended and secure on a flat, level surface. The attempt to clean your fan blades is null after you fall over and pull the fan down with you.1

Be safe and don’t rush. Like many of us, you’ve probably put off cleaning the ceiling fan for a while. It won’t hurt to put it off a few more seconds to ensure your safety. The most annoying thing about completing this task is the dust that flies away onto you and other surfaces. However, there are ways to prevent this.

How to Clean Ceiling Fans Without Getting Dust Everywhere

1. Pillowcase Method

What you will need:

  • Pillowcase
  • Ladder or stepstool

If you have an extra pillowcase, it can act simultaneously as a cleaning rag and dust collector. This is the easiest method of how to clean ceiling fans with light to moderate dust accumulation.
Read more about why dust accumulates on ceiling fans.

Once your ladder is secure, climb until you can see the tops of the blades. Envelope the blade with the pillowcase and slowly pull back. The pillowcase traps the dust while it cleans. Repeat this with each blade until the blades are free of debris.

2. Vacuum Method

What you will need:

  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • (Optional) Ladder or stepstool

Using a vacuum with the proper attachments will also help to clean the blades with minimal dust pollution. Conveniently, it is a quick method of how to clean ceiling fans without the danger of stepstools. If you don’t have a suitable vacuum attachment or stepstool, don’t worry. There are other options.

How to Clean Ceiling Fan Without Ladder

What you will need:

  • Ceiling Fan Duster
  • Newspapers or sheet
  • Broom or vacuum

This method is most ideal if you clean the blades regularly, meaning each time will require minimal effort. Otherwise, this is the most convenient option if you have a picky landlord and need to get that security deposit back.

Begin by spreading sheets or newspaper on the floor below the ceiling fan. These will not collect all of the fleeing debris, so have a vacuum or broom ready as well. Now use the ceiling fan duster how you normally would until the blades are as clean as you want.

Afterwards, carefully collect the dust and filth in the newspapers and dump them in the garbage. Use the vacuum or broom to collect what the newspaper did not.

Although this is a convenient method, you cannot guarantee the cleanliness of the blades since you can’t see the tops.

Typically, ceiling fans in living rooms, dens, and bedrooms only accumulate dry filth like dirt, dust, fuzz, and hair. What about the fans in your kitchen that seem to be a magnet for all the sticky stuff? The sweet smell of bacon in the morning comes with haunting results that hide on your ceiling fan.

How to Clean Greasy Ceiling Fans

What you will need:

  • Clean, dry rag or paper towels
  • Household cleaner (preferably a de-greaser)
  • Cloth or Sponge

Grease attracts loose particles, so there will be a dry layer to clean before the grease. Wipe the blades clean with dry rags first to remove this excess filth. The goal is to get to the point where there is only grease left.

At this point, you will need a bottle of degreaser or some other sort of grease cleaning product. Wet a sponge or cloth with the product and carefully wipe down all the blades. It helps to follow with a dry cloth or paper towel to wipe up particles of leftover grease and help the blades to dry quicker. Repeat this until you are happy with the results.

If your choice of cleaner doesn’t seem to be doing the job, you can try using vinegar. Vinegar seems to be a cure-all for household cleaning, and ceiling fan blades are not an exception.

How to Clean A Ceiling Fan With Vinegar

What you will need:

  • Empty spray bottle
  • Undiluted Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Clean, dry rags
  • Sponge

After so many Facebook videos and Pinterest posts starring this household hero, don’t you want to try it for yourself?

Begin by funnelling the vinegar into an empty bottle, then spray a heavy coat onto the blades. Let the vinegar sit and dissolve the grease for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the grease. Use a rag to carefully wipe the blades clean.

Now dampen the sponge and sprinkle it with baking soda. The baking soda acts as an additional abrasive material to annihilate leftover dirt particles. Use this sponge to remove the stubborn grime. Finalize this process with a final swipe of a clean, dry rag. Repeat this until you are happy with the results.

Maintenance: How to Keep Ceiling Fan Blades Clean

After all this work, you’re probably wishing you took more time to clean the ceiling fan more often. Isn’t there anything you can do to relieve the stress of this arduous task? Why yes, a couple of things actually.

One thing we think about less often than the fan blades is what keeps the ceiling fan running – its motor. The motor accumulates dust as well, which can cause the fan to overheat after so long. Prevent this annoying blunder with a can of compressed air. Use it to spray out the fan motor and clean the sandwich crumbs from your keyboard while you’re at it.

Read more in our guide about whether ceiling fans can overheat and how to prevent it.

After the fan is completely clean, the best preventative measure against more dust is furniture polish. Shining the blades with furniture polish will create a smooth, slick surface that will deflect most debris and allergens. Practice this regularly after each cleaning to extend time between cleanings.

If you were able to follow these tips safely and successfully, you can now breathe easy! Unless, of course, you’re starting to think about all the other inconspicuous places grime can hide…