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Cleaning Ceiling Fans, Light Fixtures and Lampshades

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Cleaning Ceiling Fans, Light Fixtures and Lampshades


Keeping ceiling fans, light fixtures, and lampshades clean is an important part of home maintenance that is often overlooked. Dust and dirt accumulation on these fixtures can detract from your home’s appearance, reduce light output, and even pose health hazards if left for extended periods. In this article, I will provide an in-depth guide on how to properly clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, and lampshades.

How Often Should You Clean Ceiling Fans, Light Fixtures and Lampshades?

Ceiling fans should be cleaned every 2-3 months to prevent excessive dust buildup. Cleaning them regularly keeps the blades spinning efficiently and maximizes air circulation.

For light fixtures, an annual deep cleaning is recommended to remove dust, bugs, and grime. Fixtures that are used often or are located in busy areas may need cleaning every 6 months.

Lampshades only require cleaning every 12-18 months unless they are visibly soiled. Fabric or paper shades are more prone to dust and dirt accumulation than glass or metal.

Here are some signs it’s time to clean your fixtures:

  • Visible dust, dirt, or cobwebs
  • Diminished light output
  • Buzzing or squeaking sounds from ceiling fan
  • Dark debris falling from fixture when turned on

What You Need to Clean Ceiling Fans, Light Fixtures and Lampshades

For ceiling fans:

  • Microfiber cloth or soft brush
  • Stepladder
  • Ceiling fan duster
  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • Bowl with warm water and mild detergent

For light fixtures:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • Diffuser/bowl for washing
  • Mild soap and water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas

For lampshades:

  • Soft cloth
  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • Cotton swabs
  • Can of compressed air
  • Upholstery attachment for vacuum

Step-by-Step Guide for Cleaning Ceiling Fans

Follow these steps to thoroughly clean your ceiling fans:

1. Turn Off Fan and Disconnect Power

Start by turning off the ceiling fan and disconnecting the power source. This prevents accidental turning on of the fan during cleaning.

2. Remove Light Fixtures

If your ceiling fan has light fixtures, gently remove the glass covers and bulbs. Set them aside in a secure place.

3. Remove Fan Blades

To access all areas, detach the fan blades from their brackets. Lay them on a flat surface.

4. Dust Fan Housing

Use a microfiber cloth or soft brush to gently wipe down the fan housing and remove surface dust. Get into crevices with a duster.

5. Vacuum Fan Blades

Vacuum both sides of each blade using the brush attachment. This lifts embedded dust and dirt.

6. Wash Fan Blades

Mix mild detergent with warm water in a bowl. Dip a microfiber cloth and wipe down the blades. Rinse with a damp cloth.

7. Clean Light Fixtures

Wipe down light covers with mild detergent. Use isopropyl alcohol for glossy fixtures. Rinse and let dry completely.

8. Reassemble Fan

Reattach blades, light fixtures, and glass covers. Double check screws and connectors are secure.

9. Connect Power and Test

With the fan reassembled, reconnect the power. Turn it on and ensure proper operation.

Deep Cleaning Light Fixtures

For a deeper clean of light fixtures, follow these additional steps:

  • Remove cover and bulb to access inner fixture.

  • Use a soft brush to loosen debris inside fixture.

  • Vacuum/wipe with isopropyl alcohol to disinfect.

  • If washing, allow to dry fully before re-installing bulbs.

  • Check sockets for damage, replacing any cracked covers.

  • Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs which produce less heat and attract less dust.

Best Practices for Lampshade Cleaning

Follow these tips for cleaning lampshades without causing damage:

  • Use a very soft brush or microfiber cloth to wipe surface dirt. Never use harsh chemicals.

  • For fabric shades, use the vacuum upholstery brush on low suction.

  • Spot clean stains on fabric with mild detergent and a damp sponge. Blot dry.

  • Use compressed air to remove dust from hard-to-reach crevices.

  • Wipe metal or glass shades with soap and water. Rinse and dry with soft cloth.

  • For delicate materials like parchment or rice paper, use a compressed air canister only.

  • If the lampshade has decorative elements like fringe or beads, clean with a soft toothbrush.

  • Allow lampshades to fully air dry before reattaching to lamp.


Regular cleaning of ceiling fans, light fixtures, and lampshades improves cleanliness, maximizes light output, and extends the life of these fixtures. Follow the steps outlined above using the appropriate tools and mild cleaning solutions. Thoroughly dry all electrical components before restoring power. Establish a routine cleaning schedule based on usage and visibility of dust/dirt accumulation. With proper care, your fixtures will stay in good working order and provide pleasant ambiance.

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