A guide to cleaner vents

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

I have to admit that I don’t consider myself to be the best (or even good) at deep cleaning. To me, there is a big difference between keeping a space clutter-free, and keeping a space clean. I’m good at the former and luckily, my husband, Scott, excels at the latter.

When I clean our floors, for example, I pick up anything lying around and then vacuum. When Scott cleans the floors, he picks up, sweeps, vacuums and then mops. In our bathrooms, the same logic applies. I wipe down all of the surfaces and scrub the inside of the toilet. He does the same, but he also takes it a step further. He adds mopping and even uses old toothbrushes to get into the crevices of the shower and around the sink. Every now and then, he also cleans the ventilation fan.


That thought, I’m ashamed to say, never even crossed my mind. However, it is something that deserves attention. The bathroom ventilation fan’s main purpose is to suck up airborne particles and help to reduce odors, mold and mildew. In the process, much of that debris can remain on the blades and the vent. Cleaning it is relatively easy, if you follow these steps:

First, clear the bathroom of any rugs or items that might collect dust while cleaning. Then, turn off the power in the room by flipping the circuit breaker. If your bathroom doesn’t have natural light, you’ll also need to set up some lanterns or flashlights so you can see what you’re doing.

Next, remove the ventilation fan cover. To do this, slightly pull it down and press the wire clips on the two sides, removing them from the slots in the housing. Mix warm water and mild dish soap in a basin or bucket large enough to hold the cover. Soak the cover inside.

While the cover soaks, use the brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the fan blades. Wipe the blades with a damp cloth and wipe them again with a dry cloth. After this, attack the motor and other areas of the fan housing. Use a toothbrush or a long, stiff brush to get into crevices that aren’t easily accessible. Use your brush attachment to go over the area once more.

Then, remove the cover from soaking. Wipe it down a few times with a cloth, but remember to thoroughly clean both sides. Allow it to fully dry before placing it back over the fan. Flip the circuit breaker back on, and you’re done.