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Tips For Cleaning And Maintaining A Ceiling Fan

By: Mike Thomas

Ceiling fans are an attractive and efficient addition to any room in the house. Plus, they help keep rooms cool in the summer months and circulate heat during the winter. One annoying thing about these fans is that the blades can be hard to clean, but cleaning them can be simple and easy.

The Pillowcase Method

The first thing to do is to make sure the ceiling fan is turned off. Also, if the fan has lights, remove the bulbs to avoid breaking them. For safety, place a piece of duct or masking tape over the fan’s switch. To keep dirt from falling on the floor, put down old bed sheets or drop cloths to catch the dust and debris. If there is furniture beneath the ceiling fan, it should be covered with a drop cloth or bed sheet. If preferred, the furniture can be moved instead of being covered.

Stand on a sturdy step ladder and spray the blades with an all-purpose cleanser or wood cleaner and slide a pillowcase over one blade. Make sure to place one hand on top of the pillowcase and on the bottom of the pillowcase and gently pull it forward off the blade. The dust will fall into the pillowcase, which makes clean-up easy. Next, empty the dust from the pillowcase into a garbage or trash can and repeat this process until all the blades are clean.

The Microfiber Cloth Method

If the pillowcase method is not desired, ceiling fan blades can also be cleaned with a mixture of warm water and all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Remove any dust and debris with a clean cloth and then wipe the blades clean with the cloth. Make sure the cloth is damp. It should not be dripping with water because the excess water could damage the motor. Once all the blades are clean, change the water and clean the blades a second time and make certain to clean the tops and bottom of the blades.

Easy Globe Cleaning

If the ceiling fan has lights, clean the light globes with paper towels sprayed with all-purpose cleaner and wipe them until clean. The globes can also be removed and washed with mild soap in the sink. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them before putting them back on the fan. Again, make sure the fan is turned off and never spray the cleaner on light bulbs. Spraying light bulbs with cleaner could cause a fire. In addition, do not forget to wipe down the pull chains on ceiling fans with a damp cloth.

Simple Ways To Maintain Fan

Maintaining a ceiling fan is also easy to do. One thing to do is look for any loose screws on the fan and tightened them with a screwdriver. Also, if the ceiling fan is not self-lubricating, oil the fan from time to time. Check the manual to see how to properly oil a ceiling fan.

If the fan wobbles, vibrates or shakes while it is in operation, most likely it needs balancing. To fix this problem purchase a fan balancing kit. Also, the problem could be caused by a bent, warped or broken blade. If the blade is damaged, it will need replacing. Ceiling fan blades are delicate, so be careful when inspecting them for damage.

These are easy to do and simple to follow steps to keep ceiling fans clean and in good operating condition.


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†Average repair and replacement costs as reported in a nationwide survey: A Study of Homeowners Appliance and Home System Service Experiences Decision Analyst (2011) and reprinted with their written permission.

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