Household Cleaning Tips: How To Clean Ceiling Fans

Cleaning a ceiling fan is not as hard as it looks. It's fast and easy and you only need a ladder and a few supplies.

A ceiling fan can get very dirty, especially if it's located near an air conditioner ceiling vent. It's easy to overlook a dirty fan since it's above eye level, and it would be hard to find a person tall enough to see if the tops of the blades are grimy. If you notice dust or grime on the ceiling above your ceiling fan, the top sides of the fan blades probably have a thick coating of dust and need to be cleaned.

You will need only a few supplies to clean your ceiling fans. The first thing you will need is a small stepladder; a sturdy kitchen chair can be used if you don't have a ladder. You do not have to actually see the tops of the blades to clean them, but you should be high enough to reach the tops of the blades comfortably. To clean the blades, you will need either paper towels or a piece of fabric, such as an old washcloth or tee shirt, and cleaning spray. An alternative is to use a microfiber cloth, which requires no liquid spray.

If you are using paper towels (or a rag) and the spray, climb up on the ladder to a height where you are comfortable reaching the top of the fan, making sure the ladder is steady and level. Spray the paper towel or cloth with the cleaning spray, or spray the fluid directly on the top of the nearest fan blade if you are up high enough. Start at the end of the blade nearest the motor, pull the towel toward the end of the blade, and wipe off the dirt as you do so. If you haven't cleaned your fan in quite a while, large amounts of dust and lint may fall on the floor as you clean. You may want to put down a drop cloth before you begin, or just vacuum after you finish, depending on what type of flooring is beneath the fan. If you are cleaning a fan over a bed, you may want to protect the bed before you begin to clean the fan.

After you have cleaned the first blade, use your hand to push that blade out of the way and bring the next blade into your reach. Needless to say, make sure your fan is completely stopped before you begin the cleaning process. Rotate the blades as each is cleaned until you are finished cleaning all the blades. Then clean the brackets that attach the fan to the motor.

If you are using a microfiber cloth, the process will be much the same, except for the cleaning spray. You can dampen the cloth or use it dry; it works very well either way. I recommend using the microfiber cloth rather than paper towels or a regular cloth to clean fan blades, since all of the dust will stay on the microfiber cloth and you won't have a mess on the floor when you are finished. These cloths can be purchased inexpensively in the housewares section of many stores, and are excellent cleaning tools for many different jobs around the home.

After you have finished cleaning the blades, check the motor of your fan for dust and grime. You can use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment to clean the outside of the motor. Be careful not to touch the inside of the motor with the vacuum attachment or your fingers, and never spray cleaning fluid inside the motor. Dust the top of the motor with a cloth or feather duster, but don't spray it with cleaning fluid either.

If the light fixture is dirty, carefully remove the globe by loosening the screws. Wash the globe with soapy water, dry it carefully and replace it by tightening the screws. Make sure the screws are at the right place on the rim of the globe before tightening, and check to see that the globe is secure and does not wobble after you have adjusted the screws. Some globes that have frosting should not be washed with soap as the tint will lighten; use only water for this type of globe. You may want to also change the light bulb when you remove the globe.

After your fan has been cleaned, you can keep it clean by dusting it with a feather duster every few weeks. If you don't allow dust and lint to build up on the tops of the blades, you will not have a problem with a heavy buildup of grime again. As with most household chores, simple prevention will help you to avoid another really messy job.

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