4 Ways to Clean Your Ceiling Fan (No. 3 Is Pretty Clever!)

by Kim Causey
person cleaning ceiling fan

Cleaning a Ceiling Fan at a Glance

  • Step 1: Dust fan blades
  • Step 2: Clean light fixture
  • Step 3: Wipe motor housing
  • Step 4: Sanitize remote

Ceiling fans are an oft-missed area on cleaning day. They’re easy to ignore; the blades spin so fast you can’t even tell they’re gathering dust. As time goes on, however, you may start to notice that the spinning blur is a little ... darker than before. Turn off the fan, and you’ll likely find a thick layer of dust on the fan blades. Ick.

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Keeping your fan clean and dust-free is important. If your fan is dirty, it flings all that stuff around the room, which can disturb the air quality. A clean fan will also last longer and run more efficiently than a dirty one. Dust is one of the main causes of a wobbly ceiling fan.

How to Clean the Fan Blades

No one is a fan of cleaning their fan, but here are a few methods to make it virtually pain-free.

1. No-Ladder Method

If you don’t have access to a ladder, purchase an extendable duster. You can find these made specifically for fan blades or for general use. Either works. Make sure to turn off your fan before you dust.

2. Vacuum Method

Use a long hose and brush attachment to clean the fan blades. If your vacuum has a long enough attachment, you may not need a step stool or ladder. The brush attachment may knock some dust onto the floor below, so vacuum the surrounding area when you’re finished.

3. Pillowcase Method

According to Hunter Fans, you can use a pillowcase to clean your fan. For this method, your fan must be within reach. Depending on the height of your fan, you’ll either want to pull out a step ladder or a chair to stand on.

You might want to use an old pillowcase for this. Put the open end over the blade, encasing the blade in the fabric. Then, put a little pressure — not too much — on the top and bottom of the blade. Pull toward you. This should take off all the dust on the surface, which should fall into the pillowcase. Repeat for each blade. Then, take the pillowcase outside, shake it clean and throw it in the dirty laundry pile.

4. Degreasing Method

Your ceiling fan may have grease and dust to contend with. Use a damp cloth to get the dust off, then go back over it with an all-purpose cleaner to cut through the grease. Del Mar Fans recommends first using baby wipes to remove the dust. Then, follow up with mineral spirits or degreaser to get rid of the grease.

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Cleaning the Rest of Your Fan

The blades aren’t the only part of your ceiling fan that gets dirty. Dust the light fixture, glass globe, shades or bulbs with a microfiber cloth. If the fixture is especially dirty, you can remove it to get at it with glass cleaner or soapy water. Wipe the pull chains as well. Lastly, you’ll want to clean the motor housing with a dry cloth.

Ceiling Fan Remote

Don’t forget the remote! If your ceiling fan has one, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning it when you clean the rest of the fan’s components. According to Del Mar, your fan remote can accumulate quite a bit of grime. Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe the remote.

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