Tips & Guides

How to Clean a Box Fan Most Effectively

The cooling effect a box fan offers in the hottest or warmest seasons is enough reason to take care of it. It regulates the temperature in the house, removes odors, dust and other unwanted substances like smoke, in addition to causing stagnant air to circulate. Gladly, it still helps you utilize your energy economically.

Even though it works at the optimum level when in pristine condition, many people do not invest time and the minimal resources needed to maintain this level of efficiency. Merely after one season, it ends up in the bin simply because the blade speed has reduced by half (and this is because of gunk) or it is producing noise while running. Yet, with preservation, it can be brought back to full functionality and outlast this short duration (read, years) by just giving it a clean. It’s very easy. The instructions on how to clean a box fan are always given in the user manual provided in fan box. If you didn’t get any user manual or lost it, don’t worry, the experts of Top Cooling Fan will train you like a pro cleaing your box fan at home.

Why You Need To Clean Box Fan

Cleaning box fan may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it does have sure benefits.

  • You will save money which you would have used to replace it.
  • Your fan will work more efficiently after cleaning it. Residual dirt wears out the bearings and slows the blade speed down.
  • It’s always a good practice to clean the box fan after using it in summer and store it in winter. So, you can use the box fan in next season like a brand new fan.

Step by Step Guideline: How To Clean Box Fan

What You May Need for This Cleaning Job?

You will require the following materials to do a good job:

  • A bowl containing water and white vinegar in equal measure or a cleaning agent of your choice
  • Screw driver
  • Dusting brush
  • Scrubby pad
  • Q-tip
  • Soft cloths, 2 of them or paper towels


Step 1: Unplug the box fan.

This may seem rather obvious but unplug the box fan nevertheless and then place it on a surface whose height reaches your waist. You will need to cover the surface with some newspaper to protect it from dirt.

Step 2: Remove Outer Covers

Unscrew the tiny screws that hold the plastic covers. Ensure that both the front and back covers are removed. Do keep the screws somewhere safe given that they can easily be misplaced going by their small size.

Step 3: Clean the Covers

You can choose any of these three methods to have the covers cleaned.

  1. a) Bathtub: Soak the covers in water that has collected after plugging the drain to your bathtub. After soaking them for some time, you will then rinse the covers with clean water. The dirt will be washed off.
  2. b) Hose: Douse the covers with some vinegar or your preferred cleaner first. Using a hose, rinse off the dirt.
  3. c) By Hand: Spray the covers with the vinegar and water mixture, after which you will need to wipe them using a soft cloth or paper towel. Ensure that the small holes are not left out. The corner of the cloth, paper towel or q-tip will help in reaching these parts. The kitchen sink is useful when rinsing the covers but a lot of water will spill out unless you are skillful at this.

Step 4: Clean down the blades

Spray the vinegar and water mixture or cleaning agent onto a clean cloth (you can reuse the earlier cloth after rinsing it and wringing out the excess water). Wipe the blades not only one at a time but also one side at a time. If the dirt is too stubborn to yield to the gentle cleaning process, the scrubby pad should do. If they are not cleaned well, dirt will accumulate very fast on the stubborn gunk. When well cleaned, dirt simply glides off the blade. Do not spray the vinegar and water mixture on the blades directly.

Some fans can be disassembled fully by turning the cap which holds the blades in place and then is easily cleaned separately.

Consider wiping the outer part of the fan, its handle, cord as well as the knobs if any, using a damp cloth. Dirt collects on them too.

Step 5: Brush the Motor

Using the dusting brush, remove the dirt that is surrounding the motor. Make sure that the struts are also well wiped. Dirt on the motor gives the impression that the motor is worn out and irreparable. Yet cleaning it well services it adequately to function very nicely.

Step 6: Reassemble the box fan

Make sure that the parts have dried well before reassembling them. Put back the covers and blades in their rightful position before screwing them firmly. If you have fewer screws, then at least ensure that the top and bottom of the fan are screwed. Give priority to these two sides since the sides of the fan can be left open without repercussions. However, this should be a temporary arrangement and so consider replacing the lost screws as soon as possible. Note that some screws may no longer fit in the expanded holes and will require replacements for a firm fitting.

Warning & Precautions:

  1. Do not spray directly on the blades while cleaning them as the mixture containing detergents and dirt can splash back on your face and cause injury.
  2. Ensure that none of the box fan parts are loose as this can cause disturbing levels of noise.
  3. Replace cracked blades. Most blades are made of plastic and these cannot be repaired.
  4. You can wear goggles when spraying the covers to protect your eyes.
  5. The fan should always be unplugged before it is cleaned or assessed otherwise it poses the risk of causing an electric shock.
  6. Running fans should not be left unattended while children or pets are nearby.
  7. Do not let water in the motor or spray it with whichever cleaner. These cleaners contain water which causes the motor to rust and eventually it will get spoiled.

Wrap It Up

Every good thing comes with a cost and a box fan is no exception. A box fan does not run efficiently by accident. It does so by a simple cleaning choice. Finally remember, once it is cleaned, store the fan in sealed storage where it will not be exposed to dust again. You can keep it in a bag or a plastic garbage bag and seal it well.


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Mohiuddin Shawon is the Chief Editor and Content Researcher of He is also the chief editor of The Blazing Home . Mohiuddin Shawon is a professional Electrical Engineer. He is the main pillar of Top Cooling Fan. His engineering skill and research help us to find the top quality fan for the general public.

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