How to clean a ceiling fan

How to clean a ceiling fan

  • Anna Ham

Your ceiling fan is a fashionable, functional fixture, adding year-round comfort as well as exceptional style to your space. But, like anything in your room it’s going to collect dust, and you’ll need to clean your ceiling fan. Dust collects on the blade edges as you run your fan, and unless you want dust flying around your room you need to clean your ceiling fan blades.


Keeping your ceiling fan clean and dust free is important for the longevity of your fan and to help keep the air in your room clean. (If you have one of our Hunter Original fans, you’ll also need to do some minor ceiling fan maintenance and give it an oil bath after dusting it.) If you have your fan running all day, you’ll need to clean your ceiling fan once a week. We have the best tips and easiest tricks for how to clean a ceiling fan like a pro.


How to clean fan blades

An old pillowcase is the best way to clean ceiling fan blades. Using a pillowcase traps the dust and keeps it from falling all over the furniture below. If you want, use a spray bottle to mist the inside of the pillowcase to really make sure the dust sticks in the pillowcase.


Stand on a ladder or step stool so your head is above the blades, then slip the pillowcase over each blade and pull it back to trap the dust. Use light pressure while doing this on the ceiling fan blades: Too much pressure could cause the blades to break or go out of balance. Go outside and shake the dust from the pillowcase before you wash it.


How to clean the ceiling fan light

While you’re on the ladder, be sure to clean off the other nooks and crannies of the ceiling fan like the glass shades or bowl.


If you’re just touching up the outside of the fan light glass, use a homemade glass cleaner (one part vinegar to three parts water in a spray bottler) and a microfiber cloth. Spray the cleaner onto the cloth instead of the glass.


If your fan light glass needs a deep clean, remove the glass from the fan and soak it in warm, soapy water. Make sure it’s dry before you install the light glass back on the fan.


How to clean a ceiling fan without a ladder

Clean your ceiling fan without a ladder by buying an extendable duster with a flexible head. They can extend a few feet high, making it easy to clean out-of-reach ceiling fans without a ladder. There will likely still be a bit of dust that drops down, so be sure to cover any furniture underneath the fan.


Many of these extendable dusters also come with a special attachment that will clean both sides of the ceiling fan blade at the same time. These can cost between $15 and $25.


How to clean and sanitize the fan remote

If you have a ceiling fan with a remote, it’s important to disinfect your fan remote. Start by removing the batteries from the back of the remote. Dip a cotton cloth into rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol) and wipe down the entire surface of the controller. Let the controller dry and then put the batteries back in.


There are a multitude of other disinfecting products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can also find extensive disinfecting tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Use these times when you clean the ceiling fans as a reminder to change the ceiling fan direction. In the warm months, ceiling fans should spin counterclockwise to create the downdraft needed for those cool breezes. In the winter, ceiling fans need to spin clockwise to create updraft to help move warm air trapped near the ceiling downward.