How To Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

The most efficient tips on how to clean a bathroom exhaust fan.

how to clean a bathroom exhaust fanTAB62/SHUTTERSTOCK

As you tackle your bathroom cleaning checklist, there’s one more chore you might want to add—the exhaust fan. In fact, it’s more important than you might think to know how to clean a bathroom exhaust fan. That little fan helps get rid of odors, reduces moisture in the air and can even remove airborne contaminates from household cleaning chemicals.

A dirty fan covered in dust doesn’t work efficiently. And if your exhaust fan is on the fritz, excess moisture has no where to go—which eventually will lead to mold and mildew. So here’s the plan—don’t neglect that fan. Give it a good cleaning about every six months. Read on to find out how to thoroughly clean your bathroom exhaust fan, but first turn off the fan at the circuit breaker for safety. Then you’re ready to get started.

How Do You Remove a Bathroom Vent Cover?

To remove the cover, gently pull down on the cover to expose the fan; then squeeze the metal mounting wires on either side and slide them out of their slots. This will allow the cover to be completely removed from the fan housing. Now you can see the amount of dust and grime you are dealing with, and get to work.

Clean the Vent Cover with Soapy Water

Cleaning the cover is simple. Fill up your bathroom sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Allow the cover to soak in the soapy water for a few minutes. Then scrub the fan cover with a cloth or dish brush removing all dirt, dust and grime. Place the cover on a towel and allow it to air dry while you move on to the next step—cleaning the fan.

Use a Vacuum to Get Rid of Dust on the Exhaust Fan

Before you touch the exhaust fan, unplug the standard two-prong plug that powers the fan. If you want to be extra cautious, you can turn the power off to the bathroom at the circuit breaker. Once you’re certain there is no electricity to the fan, you can safely clean it. Start by removing dust with a vacuum extension wand and attachments. For the fan motor components and fan housing, use a bristle brush dusting attachment. For the more narrow and hard to reach areas, use the crevice attachment. Maintain a light touch so you don’t damage anything.

Remove Grime with a Damp Cloth

Once the dry dust is removed, you’ll probably notice the exhaust fan is still dirty with built-up grime. Take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down the fan components and housing to remove any remaining dirt. Looking to perform an extra deep clean? Don’t be afraid to further disassemble the fan. Depending on your model, remove any visible screws and remove the motor from the fan housing. Clean the fan blades and surrounding motor parts with the damp microfiber cloth.

Reassemble the Exhaust Fan

With a clean fan and a cover that looks like new, it’s time to put the fan back together. If you removed the motor, now is the time to put it back in place and replace the screws. Next, plug in the fan to restore power. Then put the cover back on by inserting the mounting wires back into their slots, and gently push the cover into place.

Now that you know how to clean a bathroom exhaust fan,

Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

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