Every spring, as the weather warms, there’s a moment when I look up at my ceiling fans and recoil. After going dormant all winter, they’re usually covered in dust, with intimidating dust-bunny-like formations clinging to the blades.
It’s time to clean them, obviously, but that’s the big challenge: How do you clean your ceiling fans without coating the rest of the room in dust? Believe it or not, it is possible, and you don’t necessarily need a gigantic drop cloth to do it. Read on for some easy-to-follow advice on how to clean ceiling fans — and keep the rest of the room tidy, too.
Use a Stable Stepladder
As always, when you’re doing a task that requires moving skyward, it’s important to be as careful as possible. Grab a stepladder or another small ladder to get up to fan height. Make sure it’s stable and there’s enough surface to stand on it comfortably; no wobbles allowed.
Also, make sure you’ve got good light you’re not having to lean about much to get a better look at things. Your phone’s built-in flashlight should work in those naturally darker rooms.
Prep the Space
If you want to use a drop cloth or some old sheets to protect any surfaces, now’s the time to put those down. Just remember to spread the fabric out far and wide because dust coming off the fan blades won’t go straight down. You don’t need cover everything, though. Just make sure you’ve got a vacuum handy.
Now, turn the fan off, set up your ladder and get ready to rumble.
Use the Pillowcase Trick
This one is a game-changer for anyone wondering how to clean a ceiling fan.
As seen on TikTok, simply take a pillowcase and slip it over the end of each fan blade. Slowly pull the pillowcase back towards you, dragging it gently over the top of the blade. It collects most of the dust inside itself, instead of sending it around the room!
For extra dust-cleaning power, you can also spray the inside of the pillowcase with a mild all-purpose cleaner or a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Either way you do it, just shake out the pillowcase outside and toss it into the laundry when you’re done!
Do Some Final Touch-Ups
Run a microfiber cloth along the fan blades to grab any bits that the pillowcase missed. Remember to be gentle — bent or broken fan blades can cause all sorts of problems.
If you really want to go all-out, there are a few extra steps you can take. For one, gently wipe down the fan’s light bulbs and clean any glass accessories with warm, soapy water. (Let them dry completely before replacing them). Also, use a compressed-air canister, like the ones used for cleaning computer keyboards, to zap dust out of the fan’s motor housing to keep it running smoothly.
Take a Preventative Measure
This one is totally optional but if you want to make future cleanings of your ceiling fans easier, Consumer Reports recommends waxing the blades. The publication says to put a bit of car wax onto a cloth and apply it to the tops of the blades to keep dust from sticking in the future. It may keep you from having to follow all the previous steps again the following year!
So now the fan is sparkling, but what about the rest of the room? Do a quick vacuum of any surfaces that may have gotten hit with secondhand dust. Check furniture like bookshelves or entertainment centers to see if they got sprinkled and dust them off, too.
There you have it! If you didn’t know how to clean a ceiling fan before, now you do — and you know it’s a lot simpler than it seems!
[h/t: Real Simple]
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.