Cleaning Your Ceiling Fans

In most of the country, It seems winter made its appearance early this year. Whether you switched your thermostat to 'heat' weeks ago or you are holding onto a glimmer of hope that fall will come back just one more time, it is still time to make sure your ceiling fan is nice and clean. Ceiling fans are often things that we take for granted and forget about when doing general housekeeping, but they are so important as the seasons switch. Regularly cleaning your ceiling fans keep the air clean and dust from building up throughout the room, as well as allows you to catch faults ahead of time, if there are any.

A good rule of thumb is to clean your fans at the end of fall and then again at the end of spring. Did you know that most fans come with summer and winter settings? When your fan is in summer mode, it is moving forward, pushing the air down to create a wind effect. When your fan is on winter mode, it is reversed, pushing the air upwards toward the ceiling. Because hot air rises, the fan will push the air out and down to produce a more warming effect throughout the room. Most switches can be found either on top of the motor housing or under the light shades. If you are unsure or cannot find it, refer to the installation manual.

How to clean indoor ceiling fans:

Safety is always first. Make sure that you switch the fan to "off" before starting your cleaning process. If your ceiling fan is over a table, bed, or seating area, you may need to move some furniture out of the way to fit a platform to stand on in its place. Lay down a tarp or a large sheet underneath the fan to collect fallen dust and debris. Have a sturdy platform to stand on, whether a step stool or a ladder and if the ceiling fan is very high, consider having a person spot you from the ground.

Along with the usual debris build-up on the blades, there will be a thick wall of dust that will build up on the rims at the direction that the fan turns. There are a few different ways that you can successfully get all of the dust and dirt off of a ceiling fan while being intentional about not bending the blades.

    1. The most widely used way to clean a ceiling fan is to simply get a duster or a dust trapping cloth and sweep over all four sides of a blade. This will probably create a lot of debris, so don't look past the importance of laying a tarp or sheet down beneath the fan. Make sure that you keep swapping out the cloths once they get dirty to ensure that you are getting a good clean.
    2. You can use a vacuum cleaner with specific attachments to get a clean sweep with little mess. Most of the time, a long extension wand with a brush on the end of it will collect the majority without letting too much pass.
    3. Using a damp rag with an all-purpose cleaner is another easy way to wipe down each blade. It is essential that the cleaner is gentle and alcohol-free in order not to damage the blades. Also, be sure that the cleaner doesn't touch the motor to avoid any electrical problems.
    4. You can also slip a pillowcase over each blade and use both hands to slide it across the flat sides of the blade. This will collect all of the dust into the pillowcase for easy cleanup. You may need to follow up with a damp cloth to remove the excess that remains upon the blades.

How to clean outdoor ceiling fans:

For outdoor fans, you can usually follow the same guidelines as above; however, most outdoor fans are damp or wet rated. Check the manufacturer's guide to determine which rating your fan has before proceeding. Damp-rated fans are for areas that do not receive direct water but can handle dew and moisture. Follow the above guidelines pretty closely; however, you can use a more water-based cleaning solution such as baby wipes. Wet-rated fans are the easiest to clean because they are pre-tested with a garden hose, which means that you can just grab one yourself and hose it down.

While you are cleaning your fans, it is an excellent opportunity to do a general check for damaged and loose blades, as well as replacing any light bulbs. Tall ceilings can make cleaning fans, lights, and walls tricky, so while you are already up there on a ladder with the room tarped off, it is advised that you service and clean any recessed lights and wall sconces in the room if necessary.

Use these tips to get your ceiling fans ready to bring you the most comfort during this next season! Check out the collection below to see our favorite ceiling fans.