How to clean a ceiling fan.

Are you NUTS?!  Yes, I am totally bonkers.

I’m working in my living room this week.  AND I am going against the Flylady way of doing things in small ways.  I have a reason for it though.  I want to get the nagging housework out of the way so I can spend the rest of the week and weekend in my craft room.

We have lived in this house for 11 years.  I’ve given the ceiling fan a swipe with the dust rag from time to time but have not really cleaned it.  I sometimes have a tendency to let my smoke alarm let me know when cooking time is over 😦

The edges of the fan blades are showing the build up of dust and grease.  Dusting is not going to fix this unsightly mess.

Dirty ceiling fan

Dirty ceiling fan

If you are going to attempt to do this task I would recommend the following.

  1. Make sure you are willing to commit the time to do this.
  2. Get all your supplies and tools, which I will show you in this post, together so you don’t have a reason to quit before the job is finished.
  3. Know your physical limitations and honor them.  If you can’t reach above our head for long periods of time, don’t take this job on.  If you can’t go up and down a step ladder multiple times, don’t take this job on.

Okay, have I given you enough reasons to NOT do this job?  I am grossed out by the encrusted dust on the edges of my fan blades.  That is why I am going to take this on.

GROSS!

GROSS!

TOOLS AND SUPPLIES NEEDED:

1.  A Phillips head screwdriver.  Check the screws that hold the fan blade in place.  You might need to have a flat blade screwdriver.  Mine requires a Phillips.

 

Phillips head screwdriver

Phillips head screwdriver

2.  An All Purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth.  I’m using my DIY All Purpose cleaner which is 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap and a full bottle of water.  This microfiber cloth was once used in my craft room to clean my rubber stamps.  The ink has stained my cleaning cloth.

 

All Purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth

All Purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth

3.  A step ladder.  You will need this to get the blades off and put them back on again.

 

A step ladder

A step ladder

Yes folks, you are seeing this in actual real time.  Our Christmas tree is still up 😦  In fact, it has been up since 2011 and has not be put away.  If you need to know why it is still up….I might tell you.

Now that you have your supplies and tools gathered.  Let’s get on with the business of taking the blades off the fan.

Get up on the step ladder with the screwdriver and insert the tip in a screw head.  Doesn’t matter where you start.

Remove the screws holding the blade in place

Remove the screws holding the blade in place

Lay the blades out on the floor.  Preferably a distance away from the step ladder so you don’t step on the blades and break them.  Wait, that might be a good excuse to just replace the fan with a new clean one!  Or not.

 

Lay the blades out on the floor

Lay the blades out on the floor

If you are unable to physically get down on the floor and back up, you might consider laying the fan blades out on a table top instead.

After you have removed all the blades, get up just a bit higher and take a look at the top of the fan motor.  It will be dusty up there.  Spray the microfiber cloth with your All Purpose cleaner and give this a good wipe down.  Make sure you don’t saturate the cloth with the liquid cleaner.  Just use a damp cloth.

Clean the top of the fan motor

Clean the top of the fan motor

4.  You will need a bath towel for the next bit.  This is to absorb the liquid run off from the cleaning spray you will be using on the blades themselves.

 

Place a towel under a blade

Place a towel under a blade

Liberally spray the side of the blade facing you with your liquid cleaner.  If it is especially dirty and greasy you might want to let the cleaner sit and do its work first.

Liberally spray the blade

Liberally spray the blade

Using the microfiber cloth scrub the blade surface.  The gunk will come off.  This requires a bit of elbow grease and possibly another shot or two of the cleaner.

Scrub the blade clean

Scrub the blade clean

Once one side is cleaned, then turn it over and do the other side.  Spray and scrub.  Once both sides are clean then work on the blade edges.

Clean the edge of the blade

Clean the edge of the blade

The gunk does come off

The gunk does come off

If you need inspiration to continue…compare the dirty blade to the clean blade.  That does it for me every time.

Compare the before and after

Compare the before and after

After your blades are all clean it is time to get them put back up on the fan.  I took a reference photo as I was taking the blades off.  There are a confusing amount of holes up there for the screws to go back in.  If you don’t take a look at this before and make note of what goes where…..this will take longer.  I made a mental note of the dust and dirt that left a crescent shape behind.

Note where the screws go back to attach the fan blade

Note where the screws go back to attach the fan blade

The crescent shape on my fan is from the metal support.

Location of the metal support

Location of the metal support

I can tell you this.  You won’t need to go to the gym and use the stair master today.  You will be doing a lot of up and down on that step ladder.  Chasing the screw as it falls from the end of the screwdriver or out of the hole.  There are two screws per blade which means multiple opportunities to wonder if you have just totally gone stark raving bonkers.

 

Install the fan blades

Install the fan blades

Now I have a clean fan.  One that looks brand new and I am happy with the results.  This took almost three hours to do – start to finish.

Fan looks like new

Fan looks like new

The only draw back to having done this project.  The clean fan highlights the need to get this room painted.  The calk on the walls left by the builders stands out like beacons.  I’ll tackle that some other day.

The next thing for me to do.  Become best friends of the Swiffer Duster.  Especially  now that this living room is fully cleaned from top to bottom.

 

Make this my new BFF

Make this my new BFF

So…have I given you sufficient cause to nix the idea of cleaning your ceiling fan?  Folks, I’m off to my craft room and you won’t hear from me for several days.  That is unless you check out my other blog – Message In A Fold.

As for Joe and Jim.   They are running around the state of California moving singles (bobtail trucks) distances of 50 to 80 miles with the aid of a rental car.  The two of them have worked out a plan so each of them get to move a truck.  That way both of them get paid for the work they do instead of one getting all the moolah while the other does all the shuttling.  I think I’m having more fun than they are.

Leslie

 

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About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

2 responses to “How to clean a ceiling fan.

  • Maureen Mathis

    You are DEFINITELY having more fun! Glad you were able to get this job done, and the painting can wait until you have Joe home!

    • Message In A Fold

      You bet’cha! The painting will wait for a while longer. I mean, it’s only been 11 years….what would another while hurt?

      Anyway, it feels good to be getting this place whipped into shape.

      Love you – Leslie

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