How to Clean Your Floor Fans in 10 Easy Steps

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated April 21, 2022
A little girl lying on the floor in front of a fan
Photo: PR Image Factory / Adobe Stock

Cleaning your floor fans is a breeze with these easy steps

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Whether you use a fan to cool your home, circulate air, or even use it as a white noise machine while you’re sleeping, it’s very much a part of day-to-day life—especially in the summertime. Unfortunately, its high usage means it also collects a lot of dust, and if you don’t clean it properly, you risk recirculating that dust again and again throughout your home. Here are 10 easy steps to properly clean your floor fan.

Difficulty: 1/5 No experience? No problem.

Time to complete: 15 minutes

What you’ll need:

Tools and supplies

  • Compressed air canister OR hair dryer

  • Vacuum with brush attachment

  • Microfiber or soft cloths

  • Screwdriver

  • Dishwashing liquid or mild soap

  • Spray bottle

Weekly/Biweekly Cleaning

Depending on how often you use your fan, whether you have pets in the home, and generally just how dirty it’s looking, clean your floor fan at least biweekly. However, clean it weekly if you see a lot of dust collecting or have allergy sufferers in the house.

1. Unplug and Power Off

Whenever you’re cleaning any electrical device, the most crucial step is to ensure it’s powered off and unplugged. You’ll keep yourself safe this way as you won’t accidentally turn the fan on while you’re cleaning it or get a shock from the wiring. If you’re using a battery-powered model, take the batteries out.

2. Dust the Blades

Those canisters of compressed air aren’t just for cleaning your keyboards. You can use them for other dusting tasks around the home, and cleaning your floor fan is one of them. Use canned air to blow the dust off the fan blades. There’s no need to remove the cover. Just use the attachment that comes with the can to poke through. Don’t forget to turn the fan and get the blades from the back. If you don’t have any canned air handy, a hair dryer will also work.

3. Vacuum

Using a vacuum with a brush attachment, go over the entire surface area of the fan, beginning at the top. Give the motor some extra love as dust and dirt tend to build up around that area. Be thorough with your cleaning, using the brush to get in all the nooks and crannies.

4. Wipe It Down

Plastic floor fans, in particular, tend to need a good wiping down with a damp microfiber or other soft cloth. Use it to clean well around the controls and the base. Check once again to make sure the fan is unplugged before going near it with a damp cloth.

Deep-Cleaning (Every Three to Four Months)

 A floor fan in a living room
Photo: Alliance / Adobe Stock

Fans need a deep-cleaning with soap and water every three to four months, depending on factors in the home like pets, time of year, and how often you use them. You’ll need a screwdriver, a spray bottle, dishwashing liquid, water, a microfiber cloth, and a sink to do a deep-clean.

1. Unplug and Power Off Again

Make sure to power off and unplug or take the batteries out of your fan, especially because you’ll be opening the fan up and taking parts out. A good rule of thumb for cleaning anything electrical is to ensure the power source isn’t connected.

2. Take the Fan Apart

You’ll need a screwdriver for this step, and the type of screwdriver will depend on the fan. Check before you get started so you have the correct type on hand. Most fans have clips in addition to screws holding the grill, so once you’ve taken the screws out, unclip it as well. There may be some sort of blade nut you can remove by hand to get the blades off. Put the screw(s) in a safe place so you can find them once you’re finished.

3. Clean the Grill and Blades

You have two options for cleaning the blades and grill. First option: Mix up water and a couple of drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Place the grill and blades in a sink and spray down with the solution. Leave them alone for a few minutes to let the soap work through any stuck-on dirt, then wipe everything thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.

The second option is to fill a sink with warm soapy water and submerge the grill and blades. Leave them in the solution for a few minutes, then wipe with a sponge or cloth.

4. Dry Everything Thoroughly

While you can dry everything with a lint-free cloth, you want to let all the components sit out for at least a couple of hours to ensure everything is fully dry. Putting the fan back together while the pieces are damp is a huge safety hazard, so ensure the blades and grill are bone-dry before you reassemble. 

5. Clean the Base

During the time it takes for the blades and grill to dry, clean off the base and motor. Follow the same instructions you would during your weekly/biweekly cleanings, using canned air, a vacuum with a brush attachment, and a cloth to really get in deep while all the components are off.

6. Reassemble and Enjoy

When you’re confident the blades and grill are thoroughly dry, you can reassemble your floor fan. Enjoy your appliance until next week when it’s time to clean it again.

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