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Dusty Ceiling Fan? Spring Clean It in 30 Seconds Using Only a Pillowcase

Ceiling fans collect and disperse dust, which isn't good for allergies.


Cleaning a ceiling fan is no easy feat. You’re on a step stool or chair wiping down the fan’s blades, simultaneously trying not to push dust everywhere and keep your balance. It’s even possible to strain your back if you’re up there for long enough. But cleaning your ceiling fan is important for preventing a build-up of dust mites, which will otherwise be dispersed into the air when the fan is running; inhaling that dust can trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, or even severe asthma attacks (for people with the condition). Thankfully, we’ve got an easy hack that’ll get your ceiling fan dust-free in just 30 seconds. Keep reading to learn how to clean that fan with an unexpected bedroom staple: a pillowcase.

How Ceiling Fans Accumulate Dust

You might be wondering how dust gets all the way up on a ceiling fan. According to the experts at Polar Electric, there are two reasons: static electricity and fluid dynamics. When the fan blades travel through the air quickly, it causes static electricity. Over time, an electric charge builds up on the leading edge of the fan — which dust clings to. With fluid dynamics, the air above the fan doesn’t move as the blades do; this causes dust to stick and stay on the fan. The good news is, a dirty ceiling fan is easier to clean than you think.

How To Clean a Ceiling Fan Using a Pillowcase

Cleaning products and dusters conveniently wipe away dust, but they can be pricey. Instead, grab a clean pillowcase (made with any fabric) and use it as a DIY duster. The pillowcase’s large opening can collect dust as you’re wiping, so it doesn’t fly everywhere. In a tutorial on the eHow Home YouTube channel, cleaning expert Leslie Reichert show how to clean a ceiling fan using these two steps:

  1. Make sure the ceiling fan is off. Open the pillowcase and place it over one of the fan’s blades. Bunch up the remaining pillowcase that hangs on the bottom, so you have a decent grip.
  2. Firmly press on the blade as you pull the dust from it. Repeat with remaining blades until the entire fan is clean. Discard the dust. Wash the pillowcase.

And voilà! Your ceiling fan looks as good as new, and dust mites won’t have a place to stay. Cleaning your ceiling fan weekly will prevent dust from collecting on the surface; this will in turn improve your fan’s life, as clogged dust can cause the blades to wobble and the motor to overheat. So, save yourself the trouble of buying and installing a new ceiling fan with this simple cleaning hack. For a visual, check out the video below.

Done and Dusted

As the weather gets warmer, your ceiling fan will help keep you cool — and you can return the favor by keeping it nice and clean. This will also stop excess dust from circulating in the air and worsening your springtime allergies. Now that your ceiling fan is dust-free, you can complete the rest of your spring cleaning checklist; and if you’ve got a bad back, make the process easier with these tips for cleaning your home without bending down.

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