How to clean a fan: tips for getting rid of dust, grime and more

Your fan works hard to keep you cool, so it's no wonder it can get a little dirty - here are our top tips on how to clean your fan.
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  • If you have been using your fan a little more than usual lately, then you may have also noticed how grubby it’s getting. Because of the way fans continuously circulate the air, dust and grime from the space attach themselves the blades and, when left dormant for several months of the year in the corner or a forgotten cupboard, the problem only gets worse.

    But fans are relatively easy to clean, whether you want to give yours a quick once-over or a deep cleanse. Below we have outlined some key tips for getting your fan looking shiny and new, but ensure you take a look at your instruction guide or the manufacturers website to see whether the steps in this guide are appropriate.

    And if you’re in the market for something new, then take a look at our guide to the best fans you can buy today.

    1. Unplug everything

    Safety is everything here, so don’t do anything without first unplugged the fan from the power outlet. Make sure there are no trailing wires while you’re working, too, and keep the plug away from any cleaning fluid or water while you work.

    2. Carefully take your fan apart

    Grab a screwdriver and get to work. We’ll note first, however, that all fans are different and your first move should be to read the instructions before taking anything apart. If you were the one who assembled it in the first place, then it should be simple to simply reverse this process but, if the fan arrived in its full form, be careful to know what you’re doing.

    Taking apart your fan can also affect your warranty, so consider this before doing anything.

    If you’re feeling confident, the face and rear grills of your fan are likely to be secured with some screws (don’t lose these!), so you should carefully remove these to access the blades. Set these aside and remove the blades from the motor.

    3. Wipe everything down

    The blades will be where most of the dust has settled, so tackle these first. If there’s a lot of build up then it’s a good idea to get a small vacuum to suck off the excess before moving on. Alternatively, you can use a compressed gas canister, but this is messier.

    A damp cloth will do the rest, but you shouldn’t spray anything directly onto the fan. Use a dishcloth or kitchen roll to give it a good polish until you’re satisfied. Then get a microfibre cloth to wipe down the rest of the fan’s body – including the stand for pedestal or tower fans.

    4. Give the grill a good rinse

    If your fan’s grill is suitable for washing, then this will undoubtedly be the most efficient way to get to everything in the nooks and crannies.

    Again – make sure not to get any part of the fan that’s connected to the electricals or motor wet, and leave everything to dry thoroughly before reassembling.

    If you’re happy, then gently wash the grill over the sink with a sponge.

    5. Reassemble

    As soon as everything is clean and dry, you can get to reassembling.

    best fan: Russell Hobbs RHMPF1601WDB Pedestal Fan

    Credit: Russell Hobbs

    How to keep your fan cleaner for longer

    Of course, it’s not always necessary to completely take apart a fan to give it a quick clean, and it’s always better to maintain a clean fan rather than needing to deep clean it every few months.

    The easiest way of ensuring proper upkeep is to get a can of compressed air, which are a godsend for cleaning tricky-to-reach places like between the keys of your keyboard without doing any damage to the tech behind it. Just position the nozzle between the mesh front of your fan and blow away the literal cobwebs. This removes all of the unsightly dust that has built up on the blades, and takes literal seconds.

    As an alternative, anything that blows air (like a hairdryer on its cold setting) will work.

    For the rest of the job, the easiest thing to do is grab a microfibre cloth and rub the outside of the fan down every so often. Or you can just add it to your rotation when you’re going around with a feather duster.

    Dyson Dyson Purifier Hot + Cool Formaldehyde in front of white door on light wood floor

    Credit: Future

    Cleaning a bladeless fan

    You may be thinking – ‘that’s all very well for an ordinary bladed fan, but what about my Dyson fan?’. Well, the answer is a little less complicated, and no less possible.

    To clean your bladeless fan you just need to get a damp cloth and give it a good wipe down, as demonstrated over on the Dyson website.

    Note: devices like the Dyson Hot+Cool range often also clean the air as they work, so you should also make sure you’re cleaning/changing the filter as needed. The dust has to go somewhere!

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