Your bathroom’s vent fan has two main functions: one is the obvious job of helping to rid the space of odors. Its other job, the more critical one, is to circulate air—drawing out hot, moist air and replacing it with dry air. This is important because damp air in your bathroom coats every surface with moisture, which can cause dust to collect and, yes, lead to mold growth. 

So it’s important to keep your vent fan clean to ensure maximum airflow in your bathroom. Here’s how to do it.

What you’ll need

A standard indoor vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment and a crevice tool will work well to clean your vent fan. If your attachment doesn’t reach the vent fan, you might have to use something to support the vacuum. If you don’t have a vacuum, don’t worry. You can use a paintbrush to clean the crevices of the fan. 

Six simple steps to clean the vent fan

First, cut off power to your bathroom vent fan by switching off the appropriate circuit breaker inside your home’s breaker box (service panel).

Next, remove the grill cover of the fan. Most covers pull down to provide access to spring clips. You should compress the clips in order to remove the grill from the housing.

Using your vacuum’s soft brush attachment vacuum inside of the housing of the vent fan. Be sure to clean all of the interior surfaces of the housing, as well as along its outer edges.

Using the crevice tool vacuum inside of the fan blade unit, making sure to clean between each pair of blades.

Next, use soapy water to wash the grill cover and rinse it clean. Dry it completely.

Reposition the grill cover and turn the circuit breaker back on.