It's Time to Clean Your Ceiling Fan, and Here's a Genius Hack

Ceiling fans are great: They're a cost-effective way to keep a room cool during hot summer months, they help circulate air which prevents your space from becoming stale-smelling, and provide white noise that many people find soothing while they sleep. But ceiling fans also get incredibly dirty; dust and dirt accumulates on the flat blades and, since they're out of our regular line of vision, most people don't even notice how filthy their ceiling fan has gotten … until they do.

The Pillowcase Cleaning Hack

There's a major problem with cleaning a ceiling fan that becomes evident the minute you try to perform this task: The dust from the fan … gets on everything below the fan, leaving beds or couches or kitchen tables covered in all that grime. And sure, it's easy enough to wipe a kitchen table clean but no one wants ceiling fan dirt all over their white couch or freshly washed comforter!

But there is a super easy solution to this problem: Use an old (or cheap!) pillowcase for the job. Using a pillowcase allows you to catch and contain all that dust and dirt before it gets all over your stuff.

Here's how: Spray the inside of the pillowcase with a dusting spray, like Endust, then slide the case over the blade, hold the opening closed with a medium grip and pull it back toward you, using your hands as a clamp to make sure the inside of the pillowcase makes enough contact with the blade to pick up all the dirt that's collected on its top and sides.

The No-Ladder-Required Way to Clean a Ceiling Fan

The problem with the pillowcase method, genius though it is — and it really is genius! — is that it requires you get up on a ladder, which isn't always possible given where some ceiling fans are located. Also, some people just don't like being on ladders, which is fair! If that's the case, using an extendable duster is the way to go. A multiuse extendable duster will be the best option for most people; it can also be used to clean molding, the tops of cabinets, and ceiling-mounted light fixtures. But dusters made specifically for ceiling fans are available, as are sets that include a ceiling fan duster, along with other removable dusting heads for a variety of jobs that can be used with the extender pole. The dusting heads are machine-washable, so they can be easily cleaned and used over and over, just avoid the use of chlorine bleach as well as liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets when laundering microfiber of any sort, including dusting heads.

Using an extendable duster won't prevent the dust shower from happening, which means you should consider putting down a dropcloth or old sheet to cover the area, especially if there's upholstered furniture, carpeting, or rugs below.


Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and host of the podcast "Ask a Clean Person"