How to Clean a Fan With a Plastic Bag

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Updated July 22, 2022

Does your fan have a layer of thick dust stuck to the blades and outer grate? One thing that even the best fans aren’t immune to is getting dirty. And the longer you let it sit, the harder it gets to clean. It may seem like a pain, but cleaning a fan takes very little effort. To prove it, we’ll show you how to clean a fan with a plastic bag. Yep, that’s right, a plastic bag (and a simple cleaning solution).


  • Cleaning your fan is a great way to help reduce energy costs, lower safety risks, and increase indoor air quality.
  • You can clean any fan with a plastic bag, whether a ceiling, box, or standing fan.
  • To remove dust, spray the fan blades and motor housing with a cleaning solution.
  • Put the bag over your hand, like a glove, and run the bag across all dirty parts.

For those looking to purchase a fan for their home, we have a cast of great articles and user guides. For example, you could read about the quietest window fans. And if you’re looking for something to keep your air fresh, we have another guide on the top-rated window fans for smoking.

Insider Tip

For older fans, keeping the parts lubricated is essential to prolong their life.

Cleaning a Fan with a Plastic Bag

Once you’ve purchased and figured out how to assemble a standing fan, the next step is knowing how to clean it. Keeping your fan clean is one of the top ways to improve air quality and ensure that your investment lasts a long time and stays in prime condition. And the best part is that the process is simple and can be done using a single-use plastic bag that you’re often given at retail stores.

Another advantage of cleaning your fan is that it can reduce noise. And if you are concerned about fan noise or are in the market and have questions, like how loud is a box fan, we have plenty of articles that explore this topic, such as our resource on how to stop a ceiling fan from humming. Additionally, we have some articles on silent fans, like our Rowenta VU5670 review.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: 20 minutes
  • Total Steps: 6
  • Tools Needed: Screwdriver


A dirty fan motor can cause it to overwork and overheat, increasing the risk of fire hazards, so it’s important to clean your fan for safety’s sake.


Turn your fan off. If it has an electrical plug, unplug it from the wall.


If you have a box or standing fan, remove the grating cover by unscrewing or unlatching it.


Take a single-use plastic bag and put it over your hand, like a glove. Run the bag over the fan blades, removing any thick dust layer.


Spray some cleaning solution on the fan blades and motor with a plastic bottle. Then let it sit for a few minutes.


Take the bag and run it along with the blades again to remove any remaining dust. Then, run it along the motor housing to remove any dust buildup.


Let all parts dry before reattaching and turning on the fan.

STAT: Approximately 80% of US homes use fans during the summertime. (source)

How to Clean a Fan With a Plastic Bag FAQs

What kind of plastic bag is needed?

Any bag from grocery or convenience stores, as long as there are no holes, is good.

What is the best cleaning solution for fans?

Many people recommend a grease-cutting soap with hot water. Other say that mixing Borax, white vinegar, and hot water works too.

Does the plastic bag method work for all fans?

This method works for any fan where the blade can be exposed.
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