This has GOT to be one of the most procrastinated cleaning jobs in my entire house! And that’s saying a lot because there are plenty of cleaning jobs I like to procrastinate. :-) I think it’s the fact that it involves unplugging and unscrewing stuff, before you even START the cleaning, that makes me drag my feet. But like all the cleaning jobs in your home, this is one that simply must be done, and actually is probably more important than most.
Having a clean and functional exhaust fan in your bathroom not only helps with bathroom odor, it also moves moisture out of the bathroom and helps prevent mold and mildew, which can become a health issue if left unaddressed. Since bathroom fans work in a damp environment, they can get bogged down with dirt and dust over time and become less effective. If you haven’t taken a close look at what’s lurking under your bathroom fan cover before, I encourage you to do so! Once you know the steps to clean it, you can knock it out in under 15 minutes!
Start by pulling the fan cover down gently. It’s probably held in place by metal pins on each side, which you can sqeeze together to get the fan cover to come off completely.
As you can see, mine was really gross, so I just tossed it in the bathtub with a few drops of dish soap and let it soak in warm water while I worked on the rest of the fan.
After the cover is removed, the first thing you’ll want to do is unplug the fan. No one needs a nasty shock while they’re cleaning!
Next, remove any other nuts and/or screws that are securing the fan and motor assembly, and remove them from the ceiling. Mine involved removing a nut, loosening two screws, and twisting the motor assembly to get it to come free. Yours could be different (especially if it is newer than mine,) but it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out.
Finally we get to the cleaning part. Cleaning the fan blades and the motor assembly was the most time-consuming part of this project because it was so CAKED with dust, dirt, and hair! If I hadn’t put it off for so long it would have been much quicker. Ain’t that always the case? :-) However, it all came off fairly easily using a damp microfiber cloth.
Once the fan blades and motor are clean, take a look at the exhaust vent and the fan housing. If there is dust and grime inside (like there was in mine, yuck!) you can use a vacuum attachment to get most of it out. Wipe down the housing with your damp microfiber cloth as well.
The cleaning is done! Now all there is left to do is replace the fan, which means you’re going to be doing all the previous steps in reverse.
Hint: When you first remove the fan cover, take a picture of it with your camera phone! This will make putting it back together MUCH easier, because you’ll have a visual reference rather than just trying to put it back together from memory! (For more creative ways to use your smartphone camera, check out this previous post: 49 Brilliant Uses For Your Smartphone Camera.)
Plug the fan back in, replace your clean fan cover onto the fan housing, and admire your handiwork! Your fan will now be able to do its’ job much better! One major difference I noticed was the NOISE! After cleaning my fan, it is so much quieter!!
Now, to clean all that dust off the floor. My work is never done…. ;-)
What household cleaning job do YOU procrastinate the most?