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How to Clean Bathroom Fan – Complete Guide 2023

how to clean bathroom fan


To keep your home in tip-top shape, it is important to ensure everything is running smoothly within your home. This includes your bathroom fan since it does an important job of removing extra moisture from within your bathroom. Properly cleaning and maintaining your bathroom fan can prolong its life and ensure it does its job daily. 

The Importance of Cleaning Your Bathroom Fan

Since your bathroom fan is removing moisture from your bathroom, if it isn’t working properly or gets clogged, this can lead to mold or mildew. If the motor severely clogs the bathroom fan, this could cause a fire. By properly cleaning and maintaining your bathroom fan, you can prevent moisture buildup in your bathroom, prevent rusting out metal items, prevent peeling paint, and more. 

How Often to Clean Your Bathroom Fan

You should regularly wipe your bathroom fan cover whenever you see any buildup, and this will ensure it is working as well as possible. If you aren’t sure if you need to take it apart and clean it, you can run a simple test. 


To test your system:

  1. Turn on your bathroom fan.
  2. Take one piece of toilet paper and hold it against the fan.
  3. If the fan is holding the toilet paper in place once you let go, then you can wait a bit longer before removing the fan to clean. However, you must clean your bathroom fan if the toilet paper falls to the floor. 


Additionally, it would be best to consider cleaning your bathroom fan anytime you or someone else is sick. You will want to ensure everyone is healthy, but once they are, you will want to do a thorough cleaning to ensure the particles aren’t recirculated in the air making you sick again. It would be best to clean your bathroom fan at least twice a year to keep it working properly. 

How to Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Luckily, you don’t need many tools or products to clean your bathroom fan, just a few household items you likely already have. 


What you need:

  • Can of compressed air
  • Dish Soap
  • Dusting Cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Sponge
  • Step ladder or step stool
  • Dry and clean towel
  • Vacuum with the wand attachment


Once you have your items, you will also need to ensure you know where to turn off the power to the fan at the circuit breaker. This is important to ensure you don’t hurt yourself or start a fire from cleaning the bathroom fan. 


Steps to clean your bathroom fan:

  1. Make sure the circuit breaker has been flipped off.
  2. Use a step stool or ladder to help you reach the fan cover. 
  3. Vacuum off your bathroom fan cover before removing it to prevent dust from falling to the floor.
  4. Carefully remove your bathroom fan cover – most are clipped in place with tension clips, but some may be screwed in and require a screwdriver. 
  5. Using your vacuum wand attachment, remove as much dust as possible from the fan. 
  6. Use your can of compressed air to remove more dust and dirt from the fan. 
  7. Wipe the fan carefully with your dusting cloth to ensure no dust or dirt remains.
  8. In your sink, with warm water, a small amount of dish soap, and a sponge, clean your fan cover. 
  9. Wipe your fan cover with a towel to dry it off completely. 
  10. Place your bathroom fan cover back on.
  11. Turn the circuit breaker back on and test your fan to ensure nothing is damaged. 

How to Use Your Bathroom Fan

You can run your bathroom fan to help clear out any odors in the space, but more importantly, you need to run your bathroom fan when taking a bath, showering, or running a hot faucet at any time. The best practice is to turn on your fan before using hot water in your bathroom and then run it 20-30 minutes later to ensure all steam is completely removed. 

When to Replace Your Bathroom Vent Fan

You will want to replace your bathroom exhaust fan if it is no longer working or if cleaning it still doesn’t get it to produce the required level. The average lifespan of a bathroom exhaust fan is about ten years, but your bathroom fan may last longer with proper care. 

Remember, you can always use the toilet paper test to ensure it is properly functioning. Also, if you notice your bathroom mirror steaming up after showers, you may want to clean or replace your bathroom fan because it doesn’t provide the best exhaust. 

Additional Cleaning

If you want to ensure your bathroom exhaust is extra clean, you can call an HVAC company that can clean the fan ducts. They will be able to clear any blockages from your fan, laundry, and other similar ducts that can get clogged up. However, as long as you have a screen on the outside to keep pests out and if you frequently clean the inside bathroom fan duct with your vacuum cleaner, you may not need this extra cleaning

Final Thoughts on Cleaning a Bathroom Fan

Cleaning your bathroom exhaust fan may not be hard, but it is often forgotten. Make sure you regularly check it to remove any visible dust and dirt but also perform regular maintenance to ensure it will continue working properly. By regular maintenance, you can also ensure that your bathroom fan will be as quiet as possible.

You may also want to open or crack a window to help release steam and prevent buildup. It would be best if you also did this when cleaning to prevent any overwhelming smells. However, only some bathrooms have windows which is why bathroom fans are so important. 


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