Fabulous tips for cleaning ceiling and table fans

Dust build-up on ceiling fans looks awful, hinders their efficiency, and only scatters more dirt around. Here are some fabulous tips for giving them – and also your table, floor and window fans – a regular going over.

Fabulous tips for cleaning ceiling and table fans

1. For day-to-day cleaning

Take out a lamb's wool duster and a stepladder or a stool that is high enough to let you reach the ceiling fan, and give the blades a quick dusting.

  • Other types of fans have grills that protect the blades.
  • Vacuum the grill and housing regularly using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush attachment.
  • Cleaning your fans regularly will help reduce dust from being kicked up and swirled about when they're running.

2. During times of heavy use

Do a more thorough cleaning every month or two.

  • First, disengage the circuit breaker for a ceiling fan and unplug others.
  • Remove the grills and then mix up a solution of water with a squirt of dishwashing detergent added to it and use a sponge to clean the blades.
  • Dampen the sponge and wipe the blades.
  • Rinse the sponge in clear water and wipe again, then dry with a clean cloth. Be careful not to bend the blades, because that could upset their balance and make the fan wobble.
  • If the grills have accumulated a lot of grime, it might be simplest to take them outside and wash them under a hose.
  • Use a stiff brush to clean off any stubborn dirt and dust.

3. Portable evaporative coolers

Maintain like any other air conditioner, to promote maximum efficiency.

  • Removal of blockages will ensure greater saturation of the filter pads, which means more efficient cooling.
  • Check your evaporative cooler regularly, and remove any dust that might have collected on the fan or the condenser coils at the back.
  • If water has been sitting idle in the unit for any length of time, it might have collected dust and mould spores — it should be drained and replaced before starting up the cooler again.

4. For old-fan fanciers

If you buy a vintage table fan, gently clean off built-up grease and oil with a citrus-based cleanser.

  • Use a lacquer thinner to remove lacquer on brass blades and cages, and then polish with a metal polish.
  • Fan parts made of early plastics can be cleaned and shined with a specialty plastic-and-vinyl cleaner, sold at marine-supply and automotive stores.
  • You could try using a plastic-and-vinyl cleaner and protectant made for car interiors.
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