The Best Ways to Clean Your Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans are a great way to keep your summer nights nice and cool. The gentle breeze they provide is a cost effective solution to lowering the temperature of any party. Whether it’s inside in your living room or outside in a covered patio, ceiling fans are a reliable and affordable cooling option for all your indoor or outdoor spaces. Adding a ceiling fan to your outdoor living spaces can be the final touch of aesthetic you need to pull together your perfect outdoor summer oasis, but what you don’t need are the allergens and dust that an outdoor ceiling fan can attract.

Failing to routinely clean your fan can loosen parts that can sometimes rattle or cause your fan to spin off center. Nothing ruins your outdoor BBQ faster than a big dust bunny falling from your ceiling fan onto your dinner guest’s plate! Not only is a dirty ceiling fan unappealing to look at, but lack of cleaning and maintenance can lower its productivity and overall lifetime. This may seem like a daunting task, however, don’t be discouraged! There are a few simple and easy steps you can take to ensure that your fan stays clean and running smoothly year after year.

Useful Tips for Cleaning a Ceiling Fan

  • While it may seem like a silly step, always ensure that the ceiling fan is turned off before you begin cleaning. If the ceiling fan is on and spinning, even if it just spinning slowly, you may hurt yourself or damage your fan. So double-check that you have turned the switch to the OFF position before cleaning.
  • Most outdoor ceiling fans consist of the same basic parts: base plate, downrod, housing cover, motor, blades, glass globes and pull switch. Make sure you read your owner’s manual before you begin cleaning so you are familiar with what pieces may be detached from the fan for cleaning and how to safely attach them again.
  • Double check which light bulbs are recommended for your fan and replace quickly when you notice they have burned out.
  • Dusting your fan weekly stops the dirt from building up and clogging motor vents. Although deep cleaning your fan is important, it only needs to be completed when you notice dirt, grime or pollen building up.
  • When cleaning your ceiling fan, a little goes a long way. Consider spraying your cleaning sprays onto your cloth then wiping down your fan, as opposed to spraying directly on the fan. This eliminates the chance of sprays dripping into the housing case and ruining the motor.
  • When you clean your fan use gentle pressure so you do not bend or alter the blades which may throw off the balance of the ceiling fan and cause it to rattle or to shake while in use.

Gathering Your Tools

As with most projects, a little prep work goes a long way. Investing in the proper cleaning tools is a crucial first step in any cleaning project. Here are some recommended tools for cleaning an outdoor ceiling fan. It is important to remember that not every tool is needed for every cleaning project. Take a minute to look at your ceiling fan and the space that it is in to determine which of the following tools will be most helpful for you.

Helpful Tools to Use

Stepladder

You can use a simple step stool or a tall utility ladder depending on the size of the ceiling. Using a stable ladder is a much better option than trying to climb on patio furniture. While it may seem unnecessary to pull your ladder out of the shed for a 5 minute task, it is definitely worth it, rather than risking a precarious situation in which you could fall!

Dusting Cloths or Feather Duster

A clean microfiber dusting cloth or feather duster is an easy way to eliminate the dust and pollen that can gather on the blades of the fan. You can even buy specialized pole dusters that clean the top and the bottom of the blades at the same time. A weekly wipe down of your fan will ensure that dust and cobwebs do not build up, which will allow your fan to run at maximum efficiency.

Gentle All-Purpose Cleaner

While the dusting of your fan should be completed on a regular basis, a thorough cleaning of the fan needs only be completed as you see fit. A gentle all-purpose cleaner will clean your ceiling fan without scratching or staining the fan like some abrasive cleaners with harsh chemicals are prone to do.

Glass Cleaner

Many ceiling fans will have glass globes surrounding the light bulbs. If those globes are easy to remove, than you may want to take them off before cleaning. This helps to ensure that all dirt and grime get washed away and lets you empty the globes of any bugs that may have climbed in died. Make sure the lights are turned off and cooled down before cleaning. Use your glass cleaner along with a microfiber cloth for a streak free clean.

Dishwashing Liquid Soap and Bucket of Warm Water

If your ceiling fan has easy to remove blades and globes you may choose to dissemble the ceiling fan and clean each part individually. Gently wash the pieces in warm soapy water, then rinse in clean water and lay them out to air dry. This is a clean and environmentally friendly option. You may also choose to wet a cloth and ring it out so you can wipe down the housing cover, downrod and pull switch. When using a wet cloth to clean your fan, make sure the cloth is just damp and not soaking, as to avoid water dripping into the motor and ruining your ceiling fan.

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Extra Tools to Consider

A Can of Compressed Air

If you are feeling extra ambitious you may want to buy a can of compressed air to clean the motor or small areas that are harder to dust.

Metal Polish

Although polishing the metal is not an essential step, it can go along way to helping your fan look new and shiny.

Tarp

A tarp, or even just an old bed sheet, can be a useful tool for covering your outdoor patio furniture while you clean. If you choose to dissemble your fan for a deeper clean, you can also lay your pieces of the fan out to air dry on your clean tarp.

Summation

Cleaning your fan doesn't need to be a daunting task. Following these simple steps, and taking a few minutes to gather these correct tools will turn the task of cleaning your ceiling fan from a despised chore into a simple routine. Once the job is complete, sit down and enjoy the cool breeze created by your beautifully clean outdoor ceiling fan.

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Amy O'Brien

I am a mother, homeowner, and a DIY kind of gal. Whether it’s backpacking in the mountains or throwing a BBQ in my backyard, I love bringing my family to the great outdoors!

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