Cleaning a Bathroom Vent Fan

gloved hands with sponge cleaning bathroom fan vent
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-25
What You'll Need
Damp cloth
Dry cloth
Soapy water
What You'll Need
Damp cloth
Dry cloth
Soapy water

Eventually, you will need to clean your bathroom's vent fan. Doing so is actually a fairly easy task that should be completed at least twice a year but doing so even more often is ideal. Cleaning the vent fan regularly will ensure that the fan is quiet and works well.

The project is actually a very easy one and requires only a few materials you will most likely have lying around your house anyway. It also only takes a very short amount of time to complete.

Step 1 - Switch off the Power

Like many DIY projects, the first step here is to turn off power in the area, or to your home as a whole if you are unable to turn off the power in only a small area.

Find the circuit breaker. This will oftentimes be located in your garage or basement. In an apartment building, your landlord will be able to tell you where the unit's circuit breaker is located but checking your closets and entranceway are both good ideas.

Switch the power to the bathroom off and now you can start to actually clean the fan.

Step 2 - Detach the Vent Fan

hands removing bathroom fan vent screen

The vent fan will be much easier to clean if it is detached. To detach it, you will need to find the mounting screws on the device. Once you have, use a screwdriver to remove the screws. Make sure you put them in a safe place as you will need to use them to reattach the vent fan later.

The fan normally has a light fixture attached to it which will also be removed as you detach the fan. Again, put all parts of the device somewhere safe and if the device has a lot of screws or is otherwise difficult to take down, you may want to write on a piece of paper how you took it down so you know how to put it back up.

You will also need to find how the blades of the fan connect and detach them from the unit as a whole.

Step 3 - Clean the Bathroom Vent Fan

Now that the fan has been disassembled, it's time to clean it. Start by putting a clean cloth into a mix of soap and water. Ring it out before you use it to clean the fan. Remember, you are trying to clean the fan, not get it overly wet which could damage some materials.

For the soap and water mixture, you can use a mild detergent or a gentle soap. Make sure you are not using harsh liquids on the blades.

Make sure you fully wipe the fan, including the cover, blades, and all surfaces. Once the fan is clean, dry it with a second clean cloth.

Step 4 - Reinstall

hands reinstalling bathroom fan vent with screw gun

Now that the fan has been fully cleaned and dried, it is time to reinstall it. To do so, do what you did to remove the fan but in the reverse order.

Step 5 - Test

Once you have reinstalled the fan, it is time to turn on the power at the circuit breaker. Once you have switched the circuit breaker on, test the fan to make sure it is working correctly.

If it is not working correctly, it is possible a screw is loose or part of the fan is still wet. Before you examine the fan, turn the power back off. Once the power is safely off again, you can use a dry cloth to further dry the fan. You can also use a screwdriver to make sure all the screws are tightly screwed in.

Check the floor and surrounding area to make sure you did not miss a piece when you reinstalled the fan.

Once you have taken these steps, you can turn the power back on and test the fan again.


In some instances, you may find mold on your fan when you go to clean it. Some types of mold you can clean yourself using online guides. Other types of mold, however, can be hazardous and require professional assistance.

Professionals will also be able to tell you where the mold is coming from and how to prevent more from growing in the future.