Lay down sheets of old newspaper and set the fan on top of the paper. Remove the screws from the cage and set to one side. Examine the base of the fan for more screws and remove those. Separate the pieces, leaving the base on the newspaper.
Apply a thin coat of paint stripper to the base and let sit for 60 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the recommendations of the manufacturer. Carefully scrape away the old paint with fine-grit steel wool.
Wrap the cord with masking tape, which protects it from paint and primer. Apply a coat of metal primer to the base and let dry. Paint over the primer with a spray paint designed for metal. Apply a thin and even coating to prevent drips.
Coat the metal blades with brake cleaner and let sit for five to ten minutes. Scrub the blades with an old toothbrush, removing any old grease or debris sticking to the surface. Wipe off the residue with a soft cloth.
Rub metal polish on the fan blades in small circles. Keep rubbing the polish on the blades until the original metal appears shiny and new. Rub a second rag across the blades, removing any excess polish from the blades. Repeat steps four and five on the metal cage that surrounds the blades.
Reattach the pieces together. The blades should fit onto a center piece that slides into the base. Place the cage on the base and screw the metal screws back in place, which keeps the base attached to the cage. Remove the masking tape from the cord.