How to Clean Ceiling Fans | ValueLights

If you’ve ever lay melting in your home during the height of a heatwave, then you know how many homes are simply not built to withstand heat. You might have even had to play the game of cat and mouse that comes with such weather. The loathed, ‘I need a fan,’ followed swiftly by ‘sorry, we’re totally sold out’.

Over and over and over. So, once you’ve got a ceiling fan, you want to make absolute sure that it sticks around for as long as possible. Which, if you read our blog on how long ceiling fans last then you already know that knowing how to clean a ceiling fan and keep it dust free is key to giving your ceiling fan a long and happy life.

 So here are our top tips for how to clean that ceiling light, a how-to keep that fan spinning.  

The Pillowcase Method 

If you’re a sucker for instant gratification or are looking to save your pennies, this one’s for you. Unless you don’t already own a pillowcase or two, but if that’s the case I’m not sure we can help you. You’re an adult, you should have a pillowcase. 

It’s not that widely known, but cotton pillowcases are actually a great option for cleaning. So, beyond just this little hack next time you treat yourself to new bedding and get rid of the old ones, tuck away those pillowcases with your other cleaning supplies. Use them for cleaning mirrors, windows, any smear prone surfaces and ceiling fans.

There’s a knack to using a pillowcase to dedust your ceiling fans. 

  • First, get a sturdy step ladder.
  • Avoid over leaning! Maintaining balance and stability is the only way to stay safe so if you are struggling to reach – get down and move the stepladder.
  • Make sure the fan and light (if it’s got one) are switched off.
  • Climb the ladder with a clean pillowcase in hand.
  • Make sure you’re protected from the dangers of debris. Noone wants eyes and lungs full of fan dust now, do they?
  • Lightly clean each blade of the fan, using the body of the pillowcase to catch falling dust.
  • If using cleaning products try opting for some human friendly mild dish soap or non-abrasive household cleaner to save your skin and respiratory system from upset.
  • Clean gently to avoid causing the blades any damage.
  • Make sure anything you’ve had to remove is properly and securely put back together; it is going to be spinning in the air after all.
  • An optional extra step to keep the blades cleaner for longer is to spray them down with a repelling spray.
  • Switch it back on and enjoy dust free air.

Microfiber Ceiling Fan Dusters  

As with pretty much anything, someone’s gone ahead and made a product specifically for this task. Microfiber ceiling fan dusters are widely available online and in stores.  


These are particularly handy for those who can’t get up on a stepladder because they mostly come attached to a pole. They’re also way cheaper than going out and buying a stepladder for this one task, so if you’re confident that you can stay on the ground for all your other household chores then this might be the best route to take. 


If you choose a looped duster then you can simply hook the loop over each blade, move the pole back and forth until the dust is all gone and then hoover it up from the ground. Beware you’re not in the firing line of all that pesky dust coming down off your fan.  

Cleaning the Fan’s Motor

When we’re talking about a fans longevity the motor is super important, if you let dust get all up in the motor then the lifespan is going to get cut short. Like the lifespan of a fan in the wild vs in captivity.  

Make sure you’ve got a clear workspace and good task lighting before you jump in on your fan surgery. These are delicate inner workings and poking around willy nilly is a surefire way to do some damage.  

As with any electrical item, make sure it’s switched off and disconnected from the mains before you go digging.

Please. We beg you.  

The best way to keep it all clear and spinning smoothly is, firstly, to find it. It’s usually housed just above the fan blades, but this information should be available within the instructions that came with it. Once you’ve found the motor, give it the once over with a duster or soft brush (i.e., a paint brush or clean makeup brush) to fling off the bulk of the dust and then go in with a cannister of compressed air to blow away any remaining dirt or dust. 

Some final safety tips, Sparky made us promise.  

  • Above all else make sure the fan is disconnected from the mains.
  • Careful with that compressed air cannister! Avoid contact with skin and eyes. It’s not worth it!
  • When you kick up all that dust from the nooks and crannies of your ceiling fan it’s got to go somewhere, and we’d prefer that not be into your lungs. So, make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area.
  • As with all electrics; your fan won’t be a fan of liquid. So be mindful of dousing it in liquid cleaning solutions.
  • Always look for professional help if you’re unsure. Or you’ll be winging it right into A&E.

Glass Light Shades and Globes 

If you’ve gone for a ceiling fan and light combo, then you’ve got an extra step of cleaning for the extra convenience of a two in one. 

Small price to pay if you ask us. 

Make sure everything is still turned off and not electrified. Hop back up on your stepladder (read: carefully ascend to the top of the stepladder) once you’re there it’s time to remove the fitting. We recommend doing this during daylight hours and with the light turned off so as to avoid any potential ouchies. Give the globe/shade a good wash with some slightly soaped water and towel dry. Make sure it’s totally dry before you go putting it all back together. 

Whilst you’re here you might as well have a look and make sure the bulbs are all working nicely and give them a once over with a duster.  

Now you can refit the globe or shade, carefully and being careful not to smash or damage it. Once it’s all back together, test again to make sure it’s all tip top.  


We’re not saying you need to make a ceiling fan deep clean part of your weekly cleaning routine, but giving everything a good scrub and dust once a month is going to play a huge part in keeping things flowing for up to ten years. Investing in good products isn’t just about the one-off payment, it’s about care and maintenance. So, assuming you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of summer trying to source an emergency fan in a fan drought… food for thought.