What's the easiest way of cleaning fans?
How to Clean a Fan
Solving a Dust Problem
How to Clean Fans
It's getting warm, which means we've gotten our fans out. Does anyone have any ideas on cleaning all the dust and stuff from a fan? We have two or three window fans that don't open up at all. I can't unscrew them and get inside, and the casing is just absolutely filthy. I tried to clean with cotton swabs and a toothbrush, and it got rid of some of it, but some other of it just moved around and now looks even worse. I don't think I can submerge them in water because they're electrical appliances. I would love some ideas on cleaning fans. Thanks!
Blow Fan Clean
Provided you use this method religiously at the end of every fan season and the beginning of the next, I've found that standing your fan up in your garage, carport, or driveway and using your leaf blower to blow the dust out of it works very well indeed. If you let the dust accumulate to the point where the dirt sort of solidifies on the fan, on the other hand, there will be definite limits to what the leaf blower can accomplish. Even then, though, it will accomplish something.
Avoid Cleaning Fans Again Next Year
I've used my vacuum cleaner nozzle when cleaning fans, and it works pretty well. The best bet, however, is to prevent the problem next year. If you've not saved the fan box (I rarely save boxes), cover the fan with a contractor's plastic bag. It's much heavier than a regular plastic garbage bag, and a box of them will last a lifetime.
Rebecca in Johnson City, TN
Cleaning Fans with a Degreaser
If it was manufactured, it comes apart one way or another. The trick is to be careful. Most of the plastic fans look as though they don't come apart, but the trick is to follow the seam on the edges where it comes together. I usually use a thin knife or screwdriver tip and pry it apart. Metal may be welded and indeed be impossible to open. Look for tabs and such where it may come apart. Those who are mechanically inclined may be useful here. If you do break it, a simple repair may be to use a twist tie or wire in a similar color and tie it together.
The cleaning is fairly easy. Obviously make sure it's unplugged. Use a degreaser (ammonia water is good here) and apply to a rag, wringing it out until it's nearly dry in order to avoid getting moisture into the works. If you do make such a mistake, leave the fan in the sunlight for a day or two to let it dry out. Wipe the fan gently, cleaning the rag off regularly. If you use ammonia, be sure to do the rinse the same way but with clear water. Do not attempt the motor. Put the casing back on. Personally, I like to tape a cotton ball saturated with a bit of scent on the fan screen facing out.
Don't use dish detergent, as it tends to be a bit gummy after it dries. I don't use dish detergent on the floors for the same reason.
Cleaning Off the Loose Dust
I'm thinking you have box-type window fans or one of those round oscillating ones. Try laying the fan flat on a sheet (blades pointing up or down) and pouring some clean, dry sand or salt through the grills so that it brushes off the fan blades and then spills through to the sheet. It should clean off the loose dust.
Air Compressor Cleans Fan
For cleaning fans, my husband takes them out to the garage and blows them off with the air compressor. It gets 90% of the gunk off and then I can wipe them clean.
see The Ultimate Green Store - your one-stop green shopping destination
Clean and Dry Fan Outdoors
You could try laying the fan outside on the ground and putting a dinner plate over the motor area. Then spray the fan with a cleaner like 409 or Clorox. Let it soak a few minutes to loosen up the grime. Then using the jet setting on your hose, blast it clean. Let it sit out in the sun until it is totally dry and it should be fine. It's a good idea to oil the center of the motor (if it's accessible) with a lightweight household oil, like you use for old sewing machines and door hinges. The fan will last longer.
Shawna in Barberton, Ohio
Auto Cleaner for Fans
Take the fans outside on a clear sunny day. Spray well with GUNK® (found in auto section of Wal-Mart}. Let set for a few minutes then hose down well. Allow the fan to sit in the sun until dried. Make sure it's dried. We do this each season.
Take the Next Step:
- To read more on cleaning fans or to add your own ideas, please visit The Dollar Stretcher Community.
- Use SCOE 10X - The Odor Eliminator to remove the toughest of odors.
- Get more great time and money saving ideas in your inbox. Subscribe to Dollar Stretcher Tips newsletter, a twice weekly look at how to stretch your day and your dollar!
- Great things are happening on Pinterest! Visit our "Handy Household Tips" board today!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor
Also in Home
- Creating an outdoor kitchen
- Eliminating bed bugs
- Managing home projects
- Saving on water one drop at a time
- Cheaper summer cooling
- Inexpensive landscaping ideas
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- How spring cleaning can save you money
- 4 secrets to budgeting for a home purchase
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?