Dirty Job No. 4: Cleaning Ceiling-Fan Blades
Time it takes: 15 minutes.
Why it matters: When dust sits around, dust mites move in. They contribute to allergies and sinus infections. A dusty fan can send mites scattering to bedding and furniture, so it’s actually a health risk.
Step 1: Tape down the fan’s switch for safety.
Step 2: Spread drop cloths or old sheets on the floor and over any furniture under the fan. Try to cover a radius about twice as wide as the blades.
Step 3: Fill a spray bottle with water and 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and use it to spritz the inside of a cloth shoe bag or pillowcase. Put on a baseball cap.
Step 4: Standing on an extra-tall stepladder that puts you about a head above the blades, slip the bag or the pillowcase over each blade, pulling it back to trap dust (you can use the same one for all the blades—just keep maneuvering it to find a clean spot). Use a cotton cloth for residual grime and to dust the base and the light fixture. If, however, you have a very high ceiling that’s out of range—say, 12 feet—use a ceiling-fan duster, like the Unger microfiber duster ($14, acehardware.com). It is shaped to fit around the blades and screws onto an extension pole ($50, acehardware.com).
Try to do this: At the beginning and the end of fan season, or every other month if you use the fan year-round.