How To Clean Ceiling Fans

Updated: Nov. 02, 2023

This method is simple, ingenious and cheap. What's better than that?

Next Project

15 minutes




Free to $5


Ceiling fans keep us cool in summer and circulate heat in winter. Unfortunately, they collect dust year-round. When's the last time you looked up? Try it. If your ceiling fan looks like it's wearing a sweater, it's time to clean it.

If cleaning a ceiling fan seems like hard work for little return, Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO of AspenClean, loves this dusting hack. All you need is a pillowcase. Well, that and a few common things you probably have around your house anyway.

Warning: Before you start, turn off the fan switch on the wall and tape it off. You don't want someone coming in and turning on the fan while you're on a stepladder. Then, gather your tools and materials and get started.

Tools Required

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Old sheet (optional)
  • Pillow case
  • Stepladder
  • Telescoping duster (optional)
  • vacuum cleaner

Materials Required

  • Natural all-purpose cleaner

Ceiling Fan cleaning MaterialsAlly Childress for Family Handyman

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Dust with pillowcase

  • Place a pillowcase over one fan blade so it completely covers the top and bottom.

Place Pillowcase Over FanAlly Childress for Family Handyman

  • Hold the blade with two hands over the pillowcase, near the center of the fan.
  • Pull the pillowcase toward you, wiping the blade on the top, bottom and edges.

 Dust With PillowcaseAlly Childress for Family Handyman

  • Contain the dust inside the pillowcase as you reach the end of the blade.
  • Repeat with all fan blades.
  • Take the pillowcase outside, turn it inside out and shake to remove most of the dust.
  • Toss the pillowcase in the wash.

P.S. While you’re up there, take a moment to clean your ceilings and walls with this Chomp Wall Mop, too.

Step 2

Wipe with microfiber cloth

 Wipe With Microfiber ClothAlly Childress for Family Handyman

Step 3

Clean the lights

  • Dust the glass globes and light bulbs with a dry duster or microfiber cloth.
  • Remove and wash the globes if they’re more than just dusty, or have dead bugs inside.
    • Make sure the globes are cool to the touch, not hot, when you remove them. Completely dry them before reinstallation.

Clean The LightAlly Childress for Family Handyman

Step 4

For fans on really high ceilings: Dust with telescoping duster

  • Drape a sheet over anything beneath the fan to protect it from falling dust.
  • Extend your telescoping duster so it’s long enough to reach your ceiling fan.

Dust High Fan With DusterAlly Childress for Family Handyman

  • Run the duster head over the blades and globes.
    • If your duster has a movable head, bend it so it will run along the top and bottom of your fan blades, not just the edges.
  • Vacuum any dust that the sheet didn’t catch. Shake the sheet outside and throw it in the washer.