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Cleaning Ceiling Fans – Stacy Style

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Recently I  was feeling pretty down on myself about cleaning my ceiling fans. I had seen SEVERAL recent posts about how to clean ceiling fans easily, what to clean them with, how to clean them without making a big mess in the floor. All I could think was “Dude…people clean their ceiling fans?”

I think it’s great if you want to clean your ceiling fan…but these days I feel lucky and carefree after I get to clean my toilet – so my eyes aren’t really on my ceiling. Then I realized something…I don’t clean my ceiling fans, but I do have a ceiling fan philosophy! I should share it with the world! Because I’m sure some of you out there share my same ceiling fan cleaning philosophy. At least one of you…at least I’m praying at least one of you does and leaves a nice comment for me.

So, below I’ll list my ceiling fan cleaning philosophy…and how our ceiling fans do eventually get clean. And I will continue wishing for a friend who likes to clean them and does so for me out of an act of love and servitude. Amen.

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5 Easy Steps to Clean Ceiling Fans

1. Do not look directly at the fan. Really, fans aren’t in your direct line of vision. You have to look UP to see them. I say, keep your eyes level or on the ground. Definitely on the ground or else you’ll step on a matchbox car and your entire foot will turn blue. Also, if you have a toddler it’s a good idea to keep your eye on them instead of the ceiling fan. Otherwise, they might go into your room and use your sewing scissors to cut your measuring tape into a million little pieces.

2. Keep the fan on when it’s not dark. Did you know that you can’t see the dust on the fan if it’s moving? It’s true. If my fan is always on, I can’t tell it’s dirty. This is a GREAT method to use if you’re expecting company. It’s easier than sweeping the dirt under the rug or shoving the legos into the closet.

3. Get a gray ceiling fan. Dust is gray. If you had a gray ceiling fan, you could not distinguish the dust from the actual fan. I’ve always told Barry I want flooring the color of dirt – and now I can add a gray ceiling fan to the list.

4. Who needs them anyway? I say get rid of the ceiling fans and get box fans. You can take those puppies outside and spray them down with the water hose. That’s super easy to clean! Do not bring your water hose inside and attempt to spray down your living room ceiling fan. Your kids will enjoy that too much – your husband, not so much.

5. If someone mentions the dirt on your ceiling fan, say “Huh. I didn’t notice that. I guess I was too busy baking bread, soaking beans, and making homemade laundry detergent.” That will usually shut them up pretty quick.

Image by DarkSideRider J

If That Fails…

Now, that being said our fans DO indeed get cleaned. I think in the 8 years we lived in our townhouse, I cleaned our fans a total of two times. Yes, I realize that deserves some type of award…but I tried to employee the “keep it moving” philosophy so no one could tell they were about to crash to the floor from the weight of dust on them.

I’ve found that if you let them get dirty enough and if you mention enough how much it makes you sneeze to clean them, your husband will usually get up on a ladder and clean them for you…at least that’s how mine get clean. I guess Barry didn’t care for the two-tone color – white fans with gray dust. I thought I was making a fashion statement. Stripes are totally in.  This is a very similar method to how I get my windows clean – Barry does it.  I’m telling ya ladies, use your wifely skills to get these important cleaning tasks done!


*This post is linked at Tip Me Tuesday on Tip Junkie, at Works For Me Wednesday on We Are That Family, at Homestead Barn Hop at Homestead Revival, at Happy Homemaker Monday at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom,  at Finer Things Friday on Amy’s Finer Things, at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFLGINS, at Proverbs 31 Thursday at Raising Mighty Arrows, and at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Mine get cleaned when I change the fan direction each season…all I have to do is let the dust fall, then vacuum it off the floor!

  2. We don’t have ceiling fans, at the moment, but when we did… this pretty much sums up my cleaning philosophy, lol!

  3. You are too funny. I clean mine, but that’s only because I don’t make my own laundry soap. Yet.

  4. I purposely keep my fans moving as much as possible, and when they aren’t I do not, under any circumstances, look up! I have learned that if I make my hubby feel bad enough he’ll break down and clean the ones that are seen most often. However, I have had to do it myself a time or two.

  5. Whatever you do, DO NOT flip the “reverse switch”. It will clean your fan, but you will have dust EVERYWHERE! lol I actually vacuum my clean. Easiest way to me. Once a year I take the blades off and use the shower head on them.

    • Good tip! I never even thought about doing that….but it’s TOTALLY something that would pop into my head as a “great idea!”

  6. I saw the title and thought “Oh! Some good tips on cleaning ceiling fans…” and then I saw your first “tip”. Gave me a good laugh…. Love your sense of humor. My problem is my one ceiling fan is directly above my bed, so seeing the the dust (which at this point looks like I could make yarn with it) is unavoidable.

  7. I agree with the keep them moving philosophy. What I can’t figure out is how they collect that much dust to begin with! My highest fan is only at a nine foot ceiling, so it’s not too hard for me to clean it – when I decide to stop it that is. :)

  8. That is precisely how I used to do it, too. Then I instituted the final solution and moved to a house with no ceiling fans. 😉

  9. Love your tips! My approach is to send everyone to a safe distance where we can watch the battle, but we’re out of firing range, and then turn the fans on as fast as they go. It’s pretty exciting. Every once in a while, we send the tallest or bravest person in to the war zone to randomly pull chains. Nobody can figure out which chains do what, but if we pull enough of them, eventually things go really fast the other direction. It sort of feels like the enemy is then retreating, although they still get off some parting shots. I do like the idea of making yarn out of dust, however. I’m thinking that with my ceiling fan dust, my dryer lint, and the jelly beans under my couch cushion, I could make some pretty groovy Christmas presents.

  10. So funny. Our current house does not have ceiling fans, but the previous had one in every room and they were always turned on, so….. when our electicity would go out, causing the blades to stop turning, our fans would be cleaned when the power came back on causing them to self clean. Oh what a mess. Thanks for the laugh.

  11. Ummm…. yeah what you said. I must not listen very well though, because I looked up to see my fan right after reading this (clean- we
    ve only been here 2 months) I have a similar philosophy with mopping my floor… at least I don’t really do it. I sweep. The people who lived here before me were geniuses they have grey tiles in the kitchen and wooden floors everywhere else. They are GREAT at hiding dirt. The stomach of my scooting daughter… not so much. But she’s easier to wash then all my apparently clean floors.

  12. I love #5!!! I did recently clean the ceiling fan in my bedroom, but that’s because we were painting and just re-doing everything in there. I don’t know if it will ever be cleaned again lol.

  13. Stacy

    I laughed until I cried! Thanks so much for letting me know I’m not the only one that embraces this ‘ceiling fan philosophy’! I’ve got 2 very funny stories in regards to this. 1st: when my son was small, still in a high chair his daddy was feeding him lunch and talking about letters and the sounds they make and when quinn was trying to come up with a word that started with “F” papa pointed up at the ceiling fan, quinn’s response as he looked up: “Oh!! FUZZ”. 2nd: my inlaws were on their way for a visit. my sweet hubby noticed the living room ceiling fan and turned it on because he figured that you wouldn’t see the fuzz while it was running, unfortunately, the fan decided to clean itself while we were all sitting under later…everybody had fuzz in their hair. I am thankful my inlaws ALSO embrace this ceiling fan philosophy and we ALL laughed about this as it was happening.

  14. This post is HILARIOUS! I read it out loud to my hubby. Maybe I need to send it to my mom and MIL. 😉 I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t clean her ceiling fans!

  15. I use the old pillowcase trick. I put the pillowcase over the blade and wipe it down while it is in the pillowcase. Everything stays inside the pillowcase. After that I just pop it in the washing machine and it’s ready for next time. I even have an old ugly brown king size pillowcase (undoubtedly from the late 70s) that I use for just this purpose. I can do it right over the dining room table or over our bed without dropping any dust.

    • I honestly had never heard of this! If I do decide to clean mine, I’m totally trying it. Thanks!!

    • This is the best way I’ve heard of. Haven’t tried it yet. No ceiling fans right now but with summer quickly approaching, here in Las Vegas. We need to get some quick.

      • Barry is going to Vegas this month! :-) He’s going to Front Sight! :-)

      • Awesome! I didn’t know what that was and had to look it up. Thanks for sharing about something in my own town I hadn’t heard of yet. We go back and forth about getting a gun and joke that we’ll just get a bow and arrows instead. Imagine trying to break in and find some woman with a arrow pointed at you. The surprise ought to win point for something. LOL! Not to mention if I could get a grip on my nerves I’m an incredible shot, I love archery. Someone might be sorry.

        • :-) I don’t usually advertise that we’re gun advocates….it upsets some people. Is there any specific place that he should eat while he’s there??

      • I’ve been busy and neglecting my email. Sorry if this response comes too late. The food around here is really good. But I’m sorry I can’t tell you somewhere specific. You’re best bet would be to read reviews for places in or near the hotel or wherever he’s staying. I can’t really think of anywhere people really rave about. It all depends on what your looking for too.

  16. This is the best advice ever. I have to turn mine on right now.

  17. Stacy,

    You are too funny!! I am so forwarding this to my husband!!! I have the same philosophy, but he always wants to clean them in the spring. So he gets on the ladder and takes the blades off and I wash them then he puts them back on. I will start using the shower method though!! Thanks for the laugh and I hope everyone has a great day!!

  18. Mary Beth Floyd says:

    I use the same philosophy about cleaning fish ~ I just can’t seem to learn to do it!! lol Makes catch and release sound better all the time…

    • I have never cleaned a fish….I never plan to either. LOL

    • I have no patience for catch and release. To me fishing is only worth my time if I’m getting something delicious to eat. So I have to clean them. I’d rather clean fish than clean my house, to be honest. Although I might feel different if my house ever got to the point of just needing maintenance.

      • I bow to you in your awesomeness! :-) That really rocks….I’ll clean my house and you can clean my fish. lol

  19. My mom was in town for the baby. One day at lunch she looked up and said, “Oh Sara, you need to clean your fan.” To which I replied, “Um, I’ve been a little busy.”

  20. OhMyGoodness Stacy! You are a hoot and a half!!! I laughed until I cried, then I laughed again! I so enjoy reading all of your posts. You always make me laugh! Have a wonderful day!!!

  21. Well I just can’t believe that none of you have this as a weekly chore. What could possibly be more important than an impeccably tidy home? I personally would be embarrassed to have any dust or dirt or clutter lingering about my abode. (Nobody I know in real life is reading this, right?)

    I also raise/grow and make all my food from scratch, have perfectly obedient and charming children and still find time to volunteer.

    Seriously though, mine get cleaned once a year, before I turn them on in the summer. I’m too cheap to leave them on all the time, and my allergies don’t like it when the dust gets airborne. So I wet a microfiber cloth and wipe them down from my ladder perch. Then they are good to go for the hot weather. Box fans… would not be a good idea with my children. Plus I’d have to buy them. Did I mention I’m cheap and lazy?

  22. Stacy Style-I like that! I climb on a chair and turn the blades around and around till I’m dizzy. As for carpet, I told the salesman I wanted carpet the color of dirt. We live in the country. He looked at me like I had two heads! LOL!


    • I would be tickled pink if my carpet was the color of dirt! And I would also want matching tile in the bathroom. LOL

  23. I like the way you think. If I ever get ceiling fans, I will use your philosophy. Currently, I am adhering to Step #4. I also use a similar philosophy in my yard. In order to main my landscape, I have eliminated everything but the grass. My neighborhood is filled with beautifully landscaped yards, but mine stands out because there is nothing. I would pave my yard but then I would have to sweep it.

    • You sound just like Barry. Every time I mention putting something in the yard he says “Sure, I’d LOVE to mow around that.” Must be a man thing. lol

  24. Stephanie says:

    Oh, I can’t stop laughing. LOVE IT. Thank you so much for making my tummy muscles hurt. HEHEHEHEHE *stares up at dusty fan and shrugs* 😀

  25. oh stacy, i’d roll on the floor laughing but it’d wake the kids. another tip, only have visitors over at night with dim lighting. :)

    • Oh, dim lighting is a must…..then they can’t tell how tired you are or see the bags under your eyes! LOL They also miss the dust bunnies lurking in the corners.

  26. uh oh I guess I’m the only one who DOES clean her fan blades on a regular basis and feel it’s not a big deal. However, I do love #5. Yes, if you move to Casper, Wy, I will clean your ceiling fan if we can barter.

  27. Haha! Love it!
    My hubby will climb up and clean ours too! That guy….he’s the best!

  28. LOL! I knew I would find another funny one! And along your lines of gray fan color, this is a hint that I really did when we remodeled our bathroom: I swept my bathroom floor: dust, hair, etc and put it in a baggie. The flooring that matched the closest is the one I picked. The ONLY time I notice anything on the floor is when it is white or when my really long hair has gathered in the corners. :) I love it!

    I should have picked dust color for every surface in my house.

  29. LOVE this!!! Cleaning the ceiling fans in my house have been on my list of things to do for about 3 years :) I hate cleaning them….I can’t wait to show this post to my husband.

  30. I used to clean my ceiling fans once a month with soapy water. Then my ankle was broken (severed ligaments and all) by the engine block of my van thanks to an uninsured unlicensed driver at the end of Nov. I’m thinking that they won’t be cleaned again until we move out of this house in a few months. I just don’t want to climb up on anything to do it and my husband doesn’t see ceiling fan blade cleaning as something that is necessary.

  31. Hilarious! Thank you for the laugh this morning!
    I also let my husband do it. If I wait long enough, he takes care of it. That, and the bathroom too. Can’t stand cleaning the bathroom. I’d rather–well–I’d rather do ANYTHING than clean the bathroom!

  32. LOL! I have to share your comment #5 with friends! Perfect.
    I have one of those long handled dusters with bristles. It has a slit in the middle that can slip over the fan blade. Then my canister vac has a hose so I turn it on, keeping it beneath the blade but slightly in front. As I pull the bristle brush towards me the canister vac sucks up the dust before it can fall. The same is true about dusting the tops, using the side of the bristle brush I pull the dust to the edge and towards the waiting canister vac. I do this two or three times a year. We have 4 fans that are always on.

    • You are equipped, girl! I can see you now….decked out with your canister vac and long handled duster. You’re my hero!

  33. Love this.. just **love** it!

    This was hysterical! Not only do I hate the very idea of cleaning (shudder) the ceiling fans.. what’s amusing is I cannot reach them, not even when using a step-ladder! So, it goes to my sweetie to take care of.. only when left on long enough blades to “change” color from white to gray -OR- when we’re expecting overnight guests!

    Also, anyone ever notice it’s the fans used more often that seem to get dusty the fastest? I think it would be unused fans.. go figure.

  34. I never think of the ceiling fan, that is until I go to bed and look up. Then I say to self, clean that tomorrow, but sleep fairies take the thought away during the night, so gets put off for another day. When I finally do clean it, it is with the vacum cleaner and a yardstick. I use yard stick to hold the blades still while I vacum the blades. Oh I use a canister vacum or upright with hose. I do not do ladders as I do not like heights, I know, 3 feet or so off ground is not high, but at 73 who needs to fall off a ladder? Loved your humor in this post, felt like you had me pegged. Take care.

  35. I just read this today, and giggled so much that my husband asked me to share it with him. Hilarious!
    I am lucky that I am only 5 feet tall, so I rarely notice that the fans are dirty. It works for me. lol

  36. Lol! Too awesome! My favorite way to clean my fans is to have my 10 year old son use the telescoping duster and do them for me :). That is the best! I like your ideas too and I have used a few in the past , before I was able to employ child labor :)

  37. I was totally expecting a genius way to clean my fans. LOL I am 5’2 so I dont see the dust much. However, I too am a fan of child labor and letting my husband think I am helpless in the Tall orders such as these. Thank you Stacy for the laugh out loud this morning!

  38. Cynthia RIng says:

    Get one of these gadgets… It has a long pole and you just slip the ceiling fan blade between the bristle brush and there you go. When I’m done cleaning I take it outside and spray it with the water hose and it’s clean, ready to clean the fans again in 6 months :) lol

  39. Cynthia RIng says:

    I have ceiling fans in nearly every room of my house…including my kitchen so I have to at least clean that one otherwise we’d be eating dust. My ceiling fans are the ones that slant quite a bit and the dust will fall off, so NEVER cleaning is not an option, otherwise I’d be “What dust” too… I just don’t enjoy the taste of dust… lol

  40. Hilarious!! I always forget about the dust on my fans. We have one in almost every room of the house, and the ones in our bedroom and the living room are always ALWAYS on. I just can’t understand how dust collects up there when the fan is always MOVING??! Never made sense to me. I think I actually clean the fans maybe once a year, though, so that’s not SO bad, right? My method is to just knock all the dust off with a rag, inhale much of it and cough/sneeze for days, then vacuum up the larger pieces that fall to the floor. Yuck.

  41. I just read a tip about cleaning ceiling fans yesterday. I hate to clean mine since the dust falls everywhere, gets all over me, and gets in my eyes. The tip I read said to take an old pillowcase and place over one blade and use hands to swipe dust into the pillowcase as you’re removing it. I just tried it and I used a little spray suface cleaner on the top and bottom of blades before putting pillowcase on and I did not get lungs full of dust (yay!). I also sprayed the top of the motor area lightly and placed the pillowcase around a section and did the same thing which worked great. I just might have clean ceiling fans more often now. Hope this helps!

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