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How to Clean Ceiling Fans (15-Minute Method)

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We’re a fan of this four-step cleaning method.

If your ceiling fans are dusty and dirty, they will waft this debris around whenever you turn them on. Not only can this make the rest of the room dusty, but it can trigger allergies and asthma attacks since you’re now breathing in more dust.

We’ll show you how to clean ceiling fans quickly and easily. We won’t go as far as to use the word fun, but our hack makes the chore bearable.

Keep reading for a step-by-step method and unforgettable hacks that you’ll pass on to friends, family, and neighbors.


How to Clean Ceiling Fans

Here’s how to clean ceiling fan blades regularly to avoid dust and debris build-up.

  • Time: 15 minutes.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

1. Dust the Blades

Using your ceiling fan duster, wipe each blade by dragging the duster over it. This will remove dust, debris, spiderwebs, insects, and more. Just be sure to wash the duster head after cleaning the fan or toss it in the trash if it’s disposable.

You might be wondering if you can dust blades with a vacuum cleaner. We think this is more challenging and, therefore, don’t recommend it.

2. Spray the Blades

Use your stepping stool to reach the blades. Spray your all-purpose cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and wipe down each blade on both sides. This will remove greasy residue, grime, and other stubborn dirt.

Repeat until the blades are clean.

If the blades are particularly dirty, try using a degreaser spray like Spray Nine.

3. Air Dry

Before you turn the fan on, make sure to let the blades fully air dry. Wet blades will attract more dust.

4. Apply Dust-Repelling Spray (Optional)

You can apply a dust-repelling spray to prevent dust from settling on the fan. The Pledge Dust Cleaner Spray is an excellent option which cleans and protects hard surfaces from dust.

Spray it onto a cloth first, then wipe across each blade to apply a protective layer.

How to Clean Ceiling Fan Fixtures

We’re here to help you clean the entire ceiling fan, including blades and fixtures. Let’s look at the best way to clean bulbs, globes, glass shades, and more. Turn off your light and fan first, and let the bulb cool down.

  • Time: 15 minutes.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver.
  • Cup or bowl.
  • Sink or basin.
  • Warm water.
  • Dish soap.
  • Microfiber cloths.
  • Sponge.

1. Remove Fixtures

We’ll be taking the fixtures down to clean them. So remove the globes, glass shades, and light bulbs. These are usually screwed in place, so you’ll need to disassemble them with a screwdriver.

Put the loose screws in a cup or bowl, so you don’t lose them.

2. Wash the Globe and Shade

Dump out dirt and debris into a trash can. Fill a sink with warm soapy water and place the globe and/or shade into it. The easiest way to scrub these clean is by using a sponge or cloth to remove dust, dirt, and debris from the inside.

3. Air Dry the Globe and Shade

Place the globe and shade on a drying rack to air dry. Be careful nobody is around to knock it off in case it shatters.

4. Clean the Light Bulb

Place a microfiber cloth into the warm soapy water and wring it out. Wipe the light bulb down to remove dust.

Caution

When cleaning the lightbulb, make sure to only slightly dampen the glass part. Don’t get the bulb too wet, and don’t get moisture anywhere near the electrical element.

5. Replace

Once all the parts are 100 percent air dried, reattach them to the ceiling fan.

How to Clean a Ceiling Fan With a Pillowcase

Using a duster to clean your ceiling fan is super handy because the fibers will catch more dust and debris. However, the dust can fall out of the duster and settle on your furniture and floors. You can use this pillowcase hack to clean your fan blades without making a mess.

Simply place a pillowcase over one blade at a time. Pull it tight, so there is no gap between the opening and the blade. Gently and slowly pull the pillowcase towards you, gathering dust and debris as you go.

When you get to the end of the blade, position the pillowcase so it’s upright and no dust will fall out. Repeat on the next fan blade. Afterward, shake the pillowcase outdoors, then wash it well in your machine.

Note that this is for light cleaning, as it won’t remove as much dust as a proper ceiling duster.

Caution

You might want to avoid doing this with white pillowcases as it might be hard to get the stains out.

Cleaning Ceiling Fan Blades Hacks

Here are some extra tips and tricks for making your ceiling fan blades sparkling clean:

  • Paint roller and dryer sheets: Roll dryer sheets around a paint roller pad and secure them with rubber bands. Wipe this over the ceiling fan blades, and it will remove dust and add a fine layer of protection.
  • Spray the pillowcase: Take the pillowcase hack one step further by spraying the inside with a 1:1 solution of water with vinegar. This will remove stubborn stains, marks, and debris without getting dust everywhere.
  • Tongs and towel: Place a small towel or cloth over each arm of a pair of tongs. Secure with a rubber band. Wipe the ceiling blades with the tongs, and it will remove dust from both sides of the fan in one sweep.

FAQs

How Often Should You Clean Ceiling Fans?

Maintenance is key to staying on top of dust. We recommend dusting your ceiling fans at least every two weeks. You can issue a deep clean using an all-purpose spray every month or two.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Ceiling Fan?

It’s important to clean your ceiling fans regularly for many reasons.

First, too much dust and debris can actually slow down your fan, making it less effective.

It can also put the blades out of balance, causing them to wobble. This can strain the fan’s motor, causing it to wear down quicker.

Too much dust can also build up in the fan’s motor, which is detrimental to its lifespan.

The main issue with neglecting to clean your ceiling fan is that it lessens the air quality in your home. Turning on the ceiling fan will blow dust, dust mites, and bacteria through the air. This can affect breathing, and is especially problematic for people with allergies or asthma.

Do Ceiling Fans Spread Dust?

Yes — whenever you turn on your ceiling fan, it spreads dust throughout the home. If you don’t clean it often, more dust will settle on the blades and fly around the room when the fan is in use. That’s why we recommend weekly or fortnightly cleaning.

How Do You Clean Ceiling Fan Blades Without a Ladder?

A step stool might be fine if you’re already tall. If not, we recommend getting tools with extendable handles so you can stay on the floor and reach up high.

If you have a sturdy chair or table to stand on, you could also try that. But please have somebody around to spot you and keep you steady.

How Do You Take Apart a Ceiling Fan?

You can use a screwdriver to remove globes, shades, and bulbs. The same goes for the blades. They are usually attached using screws, so you can simply unscrew them.

Warning

Always ensure the power to the fan and light are switched off before tinkering. You run the risk of electrocuting yourself when you access the fan and light while the power is on.

How Do I Know If My Ceiling Fan Needs Oil?

Many ceiling fans have an oil reservoir to keep things running smoothly. You may need to add oil if your ceiling fan:

  • Is very noisy.
  • Is making squeaking or grinding noises.
  • Is not running or rotating smoothly, especially on a low setting.

The best way to check if your ceiling fan needs oil is by checking the oil level. Insert a pipe cleaner into the oil hole. If it comes out clean, your oil reservoir is low or empty, and you need to top it up.


Bye, Bye Dust

It’s crucial that you clean your ceiling fans at least every two weeks. The blades become a comfy home to dust, dirt, and bacteria. Every time you turn on your fan, this spreads around the room.

It’s easy to clean your ceiling fan blades with a ceiling fan duster or a pillowcase. These methods will remove dust. You can also add a dust-repellent spray to protect the fans from more dust.

The best way to clean ceiling fans only takes 15 minutes and four easy steps. Remember to turn the power off to your fan and light before getting started.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism, and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!