How To Clean Your Ceiling Fan in SECONDS!

cleaning your ceiling fan


WELCOME to “Save My Sanity Saturday” at One Good Thing By Jillee….where I attempt to avoid having a nervous breakdown by actually giving myself a day off from blogging once a week!

I’m pulling out an extra old “oldie but goodie” today! One of those SIMPLE tips that makes so much sense you’ll be scratching your head wondering “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?”  (I know *I* was!)

So pour yourself a cool beverage and sit back and enjoy a BLAST from the One Good Thing By Jillee PAST!

–Originally posted November 28, 2011–

We decided to put up our Christmas tree and decorations yesterday…but before I could start…I had to clean.  The thought of putting up decorations on top of dirty, dusty surfaces is icky. (Am I alone in this?)

One particularly onerous cleaning chore I had to tackle (that I had put off for FAR too long) was the ceiling fans. :-(

I don’t know why I am such a procrastinator when it comes to those fans…but I am.  Maybe because it involves dragging out the ladder or maybe it’s because no one really looks up there (yeah right! wishful thinking.)  But alas, I HAVE procrastinated and they were in pretty sad shape.

As crazy as it sounds though…I was actually kind of excited to clean them this particular time because of a super secret ceiling fan cleaning method I had discovered that may have just changed my life forever!

Here is the secret…..but you have to promise not to tell ANYONE!  This is just between you and me!


This is what you do:


  • Slide blades, one at a time, into a pillowcase and wipe! All the dusty gunk stays inside!
  • Then shake out the case outside and throw it in the wash!
  • Tada! Incredible, right?  Remember, it’s our little secret.


cleaning your ceiling fan

Of course I jest!  This picture has been posted and reposted so many times on Pinterest I’ve lost count. It is apparently a very POPULAR idea! A very popular BRILLIANT idea! A very popular brilliant idea that WORKS! (And those are the very best kind!)


Here is how it worked at my house: 

cleaning your ceiling fan cleaning your ceiling fan

(Once again I must ask you to not judge me too harshly since I am only showing you my NASTY ceiling fans in the name of household science.)

One good thing about the fans being SO dirty is that it makes the BEFORE and AFTER pictures more dramatic! ;-)

This literally took seconds to do each blade! Total time for 5 blades…LESS than 5 minutes total!  So basically I had been putting off for MONTHS what it took LESS THAN 5 minutes to do!

Lesson learned. Ceiling fans clean!

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    • Susan says

      Swiffer makes a telescoping handle duster. I have 2 fans in a room with 10 ft. ceilings. Standing on a standard 6 ft. step ladder, and I am only 5’4″, I am able to dust my fan blades with this. I know Jillee is about saving money but sometimes you just have to spend it on those little replacement duster heads!

    • JAMES R. says

      there is a tool that is used for cleaning mini blinds…
      it has like 3 or 4 “fingers” that are shaped like a paint roller & are very very fluffy. I forget what they are called, but check with Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, those kinds of stores(I have even seen them in local mom & pop hardware stores).

      The ones I have seen are usually fairly cheap($15 or less), and they are designed to remove accumulated dust & light debris.

      II hope this helps.

  1. Cheri says

    Very interesting! I can’t believe just a plain old pillow case works so well. I’m usually up there with a bottle of windex and paper towels. My 5 ceiling fans are white, so I stress over the streaks too. Aaagh. Can’t wait to try this the next time they need cleaning.

    Now please tell me how to clean fake fica tree leaves. :) I have to clean those 1 million little individual leaves with again…windex and paper towels, usually in February, when I notice they look like they’ve been in a dust storm. I think I’ve heard you can put them in the shower, but mine are too big and bushy for my little shower and I’d worry about getting them wet and damaging them.

    • Barbara says

      I have washed my fake FICA tree by gently hauling it outside, turn on the water hose with a nozzle attachment with misting selection. Go for it and rinse the leaves thoroughly. Make sure you choose a day that is nice outside and a little warm and let the tree sit as long as possible to dry out . You can spray some kind of cleaner on it to help the dust come off easier before hosing with water. Hope this works for you. Now I must go and wash my FICA, it’s screaming, clean me now, ha!

      • CTY says

        I worked retail where ficus trees were the bane my of existence– when we would get a truck full of them they would be covered in dirt (despite being covered with plastic) we used to roll a sticky lint roller over them. Dusting maintenance was a feather duster.

    • Teresa says

      I have put my trees in the shower. I put the base of the tree in a heavy duty trash bag and tie the bag up good. I have also taken the tree outside on the patio and just laid the tree on it’s side and used a garden hose to spray it off, rotating the tree to spray off all the leaves. This has never damaged my trees or and off my faux plants. This works great for dusty plants. I have a couple of faux plants in the kitchen that get a greasy build up on them. I just spray them with a degreaser type cleaner and let them sit for a while then spray them off with the garden hose or in the shower too.

    • Sandy says

      Take the Fica outside before a good rain storm and bring back in after the sun drys it off. I used to do that all the time.

    • says

      If you have a pool, you can turn the tree upside down and swish it around in the water for a few seconds. Turn it upright, stand it in the sun to dry and, voila!

    • denise stine says

      Joanne’s & AC Moore sell an artificial plant cleaner …you spray it on.. then rinse the “branches & leaves in a sink or shower…” not the whole plant. Or vinegar water would work also with the same method.

  2. says

    This is a great idea and I plan to try it given I have 7 ceiling fans in my home…. The only challenge I may have is the dust is really caked on the blades- probably from high humidity in my area. So the “dust” has to be scrubbed or scraped off the blades. I may try a warm wet pillow case or use some other version of a steam cleaner with the pillow case. Any other suggestions for baked on/caked on dust removal is appreciated :)

    • Alli Davis says

      I have the whole “sticky dust” issue too – what I do is use the pillow case to remove the excess dust then use a cloth with some eucalyptus oil to cut through the grime. A vinegar solution will do the trick as well (don’t ask me the correct dilution – I just make it up lol). Also, if the fans are super dirty (as they are in my house which is in the country and always wide open – I’m a fresh air girl!) then I’ll throw down a sheet on areas that can’t be vacuumed (for example if I’m doing my bed) just to be sure!

    • Judy Ann says

      HI Karen….I am in Florida where the humidity is awful during the hot summer. My grandson decided the best way to get the caked on greasy sticky dust is to remove the blades, and get a bucket of hot water and just stick them in it and gently scrub and rinse. It comes right off! We usually use DAWN to do this, or works quickly and the blades are done in a short time. To remove the blades and put them back, he uses his drill.
      It seems like a lot of work, but he is quick and it takes very little time. We wipe them down with a fabric softener sheet after they are back on the fan. It helps repel dust a little longer. I love the fresh clean fan!

      • sharon says

        i take mine down too! but just wash’m in the sink very easily with dawn is only about 1/2 hr of work. but ya dont usually need a drill, i use a screwdriver and comes down in no time. al’though’ with proper upkeep i wouldn’t HAVE TO take them down lol. i would just use the pillowcase :) 1 of mine is BAD right now and i’m about to use the PC idea to grt the majority off, then clean’m up! i can hardly wait! love when this kind of cleaning is done!!!
        thanx for the PC idea! :D

  3. Pat says

    I would dampen the pillowcase with our terrific vinegar and lemon cleaning solution and it would be Perfect.

  4. Ann says

    I saw someone used a paint roller on an extension pole to get to the ones very high up. I guess you could spray it or even roll it into a vinegar solution before rolling it on. Maybe even use a wet swiffer on it? I’ve got a big fluffy duster thing on an ext. pole I use.

  5. Lauren says

    I’m almost embarrassed to ask this, but my kitchen fan gets soo disgusting, I guess it’s grease or something with the dust. Just a plain pillowcase won’t do it. I see Karen’s suggestion of a warm, wet pillowcase, Maybe I’ll try that.

  6. D0lphina says

    WHY ON EARTH are you putting up your Christmas decorations in the middle of the SUMMER????
    REALLY?? WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

  7. Linda L says

    Now why didn’t I think of that!!!! Great idea! I will be doing this when I get home from work today! Thanks again Jillee!

  8. Jennifer says

    OMGosh! Brilliant! My biggest set back in doing the fans is the dust that falls everywhere as you clean. It is like you have to double clean because you have to vacuum it up or, over the bed and tables, lay a big sheet to collect all the dust. This takes care of that problem – it captures all of the “fly aways” and then if needed I can do a deeper cleaning. Thanks for sharing the “blast from the past” for a newbie like me!!