How to Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

How to Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan. Cleaning the exhaust fan in a bathroom is a task that can be done twice a year and requires very little technical knowledge to accomplish. Cleaning the unit can dramatically increase the flow of air through the bathroom and aid in venting steam and odors from the room.

A good cleaning also prevents dust and dirt build up, which may even quiet the unit.

  1. Turn off all power to the bathroom either at the main circuit breaker or suspend power to the entire house, if desired. The bathroom power circuit should be clearly labeled within the house's main circuit box. Flip the switch to the "off" position.

  2. Use a drill or screwdriver to loosen and remove the screws holding the bathroom exhaust fan's outer vented cover. Often the unit has a lighting fixture attached as well. Remove the screws carefully and hold the unit securely when the cover is removed.

  3. Set aside the vent cover and locate the exhaust fan blade. The unit may have additional screws or attachments holding the actual fan in place. Remove these retainers and slide out the fan blade assembly.

  4. Clean the vent cover with a mild soap and water solution. Wipe away any dirt or built up debris. Dry with a soft cloth or paper towel and set aside for replacement.

  5. Use a small amount of window or mild kitchen cleaner to remove mildew, dirt and debris from the fan blades. Clean both sides of the blades.

  6. Reinstall unit in reverse order of the aforementioned steps.

  7. Tip

    Inspect the blades of the bathroom exhaust fan when the unit is out to be cleaned. Address or repair any damage. With the unit out, spray a small amount of commercial lubricant to the fan motor spindle. This will help to quiet any noises from the unit.


    Shut off power to the unit before attempting any removal or cleaning. Wear eye protection and gloves during this project.

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