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How to clean a bathroom exhaust fan

Cleaning the bathroom fan is often a neglected job, but it's simple when you know the right techniques! Find out how to clean a bathroom exhaust fan here.


By Cleanipedia Team

how to clean a bathroom exhaust fan

Key steps

  1. Use a screwdriver if necessary, to remove the fan cover.
  2. When cleaning, make sure you get right down to the spindle of the fan. This will optimise the fan’s performance, allowing it to spin faster.
  3. Take your time to do a thorough and safe job, using a toothbrush to clean the fiddly parts.
  4. A weekly wipe clean will help keep the vents clear and the blades running smoothly. 

Freshening up the bathroom is a key part of any spring clean – but lots of people forget to clean the bathroom exhaust fan. This is actually a really important step, as these fans are quite delicate and can break if they get clogged with dirt. A fully functioning fan makes a world of difference to the air quality in your bathroom as well so use our four-step guide on how to clean a bathroom fan and make your next cleaning day even more thorough.

Before you start, get all your equipment together. It’s a bit of a fiddly job, so once you get started you won’t want to keep stopping to fetch things. You’ll need your vacuum (plugged in outside the bathroom); a bowl of warm water; a sponge; a stiff toothbrush; gentle cleaners like those from Cif; and rubber gloves. You may also need a screwdriver.

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Three steps to clean the bathroom exhaust fan

1) Remove the fan cover

You may need a screwdriver to do this; or if it has spring clips, simply press these together. Once the cover is off, use the sponge to spread a thin layer of Cif Cream over its front and back surfaces. This will cut through the grime that collects on the cover so that it is easier to rinse off – you might be surprised by just how much dirt there is!

Once this is done, immerse the cover in warm water to rinse and use a sponge to remove the cream and dust from all the little slats.

Even though Cif Cream is mild, you may want to wear rubber gloves when cleaning. Be careful not to splash the product or water in your eyes. If this does happen, rinse immediately with cold water and seek medical advice.

With the cover off, you can get inside to clean the bathroom fan itself. First, use the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner to remove dust gathered on the blades. Then wipe the blade down using Cif Antibacterial spray or Power and Shine wipes. Be very careful when doing this to avoid damaging the blades or hurting yourself. Make sure you are stood on a stable surface such as a stepladder if the fan is placed at height and get someone else to hold the ladder steady for you.

When cleaning, be sure to get right down to the spindle of the fan – keeping this clean will mean the fan can spin faster and do a better job.

2) Clean the fan duct and motor

It’s important to know how to clean the bathroom exhaust fan duct and motor properly, as they’re quite delicate, and are essential to drawing in steam and dirt and letting them out on the other side. This is where the toothbrush comes in. Its small head lets you scrub out dirt from these fiddly parts, and means you can always see what you’re doing so you won’t accidentally break these important components. Always proceed with caution though and do not rush the job – take your time to do a thorough and safe job.

3) Keep it clean

Now you know how to clean a bathroom exhaust fan, you can see it’s not that hard a job. Still, you don’t want to be doing deep cleans regularly – and a weekly wipe clean will help keep the vents clear and the blades running smoothly. Just remove the cover, wipe over the front and back with a wipe or duster, and quickly dust the blades. That way, you may not need to deep clean the fan more than once every six months.

Now you know how to clean the exhaust fan in your bathroom, you’ll see a big improvement in the air quality in your bathroom, and the longevity of your towels and furnishings. Drier air means things won’t go mouldy or start to peel as fast either – and you’ll be able to see your face when you look in the mirror after a bath.

Clean your fan regularly, and enjoy your new cleaner bathroom!

Safety Warning

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Originally published