How to Clean a Bathroom or Kitchen Exhaust Fan | Crompton

How to Clean a Kitchen Exhaust Fan

  • 17 November

  • 3 Minutes Read

Did you catch your exhaust fan looking filthy and covered with dirt and grime? Exhaust fans help remove the warm, stuffy air in the room and make the air fresh and breathable again. However, in the process of cleaning the air, the exhaust fan might trap dirt and grease, so it is important to regularly clean the bathroom fan so that its performance is not hampered. Exhaust fan cleaning takes patience and a few simple steps. We will elaborate on the best way to clean an exhaust fan in this article. If you wish to learn about exhaust fans in depth, read our guide.


8 Steps to Clean your Exhaust Fan

If you are wondering how to clean an exhaust fan, follow these simple steps for kitchen exhaust fan cleaning. 


1. Switch the fan off

The first step of cleaning the exhaust fan is to make sure you switch the exhaust fan off. Unplug it from the power source so that you are protected from any electric surges while changing/cleaning the exhaust fan. 

2. Remove the fan mesh

Once everything is unplugged, carefully remove the fan mesh with gloves. This is the rectangular metal mesh in front of the fan. The dirt and grime on this filter can adversely affect the performance and longevity of the blades of the fan. To remove the mesh, unhook it from any levers that are keeping it in place.

3. Remove the loosely attached dust

Not all the dirt on the exhaust fan will be grime and grease. Newly settled dust is easy to remove and dusting the exhaust fan and the fan mesh with a cloth will make the next steps easier. 

4. How to clean kitchen exhaust fan filter

Place the fan mesh in a large container or pan that is deep enough to completely submerge it in warm water for about 5 minutes. Once the fan mesh is completely submerged in the pan, it is time to prepare the exhaust fan and mesh cleaning solution from scratch. 

5. Prepare the cleaning solution

Prepare the solution for cleaning the grease off the exhaust fan. You will need to boil baking soda and dishwashing soap in a pan. These two ingredients work great together to remove the toughest of grease. They are non-toxic substances so you do not have to worry about inhaling harmful toxins while they boil. 

6. Clean the filter

Measure out 1 cup of the cleaning solution and pour it into the pan containing the fan mesh. Make sure you add enough solution to cover the entire fan mesh. Let it sit there for 15-30 minutes so that cleaning exhaust fan grease becomes easy. Then scrub the mesh with a bristle or sponge. Once the filter is completely cleaned, rinse it in hot water to remove any residue left and then wipe it dry cloth. Let the mesh air dry for another 1-2 hours. This is important so that all the moisture is removed before it is re-inserted. Any leftover moisture can pose an electric hazard. 

7. Clean the exhaust fan

While the fan mesh is drying, you can proceed to clean the exhaust fan. First, remove the fan motor. Do this by removing the screws that hold the motor in place. Then proceed to clean the exhaust fan. To do this, wet a sponge or cloth with the solution and wipe the grease off the fan blades. Do not pour any solution directly on the blades as excess moisture can cause damage to the electric components of the fan and cause it to malfunction. Make sure you remove as much grease as possible from the fan so that residual buildup does not affect the fan’s longevity. 

Another alternative to the homemade cleaning solution is WD-40, an exhaust fan cleaning spray. Make sure that you spray only as much as is required to get the grease off since it is a potent liquid. Once the liquid is sprayed, wait for a couple of minutes as the grease begins to dissolve. Take a clean cloth and wipe off the grease. Repeat the process only if you are not satisfied with the first attempt. Finally, let the exhaust fan dry out completely for 1-2 hours. This is one of the best ways to clean an exhaust fan.

8. Re-insert the filter

Once the exhaust fan and mesh are completely clean and dry, you can re-insert the fan mesh. Make sure you secure the latches and hooks properly. Then plug the unit back and use it as usual. 

Now you no longer need to wonder how to remove grease from an exhaust fan.

How to Clean the Exhaust Fan Without Removing It?

Another easy way to clean the exhaust fan is to not separate it from the motor but just wipe and clean it as it is. Here are a few steps on how to clean an exhaust fan without removing it: 

1. Switch the fan off

Make sure you switch the exhaust fan off. Unplug it from the power source so that you are protected from any electric surges while changing/cleaning the exhaust fan. 

2. Clean the fan mesh

Remove the vent cover. Simply vacuum off the dust and wipe it off with a clean damp cloth and let it air dry. You can use a homemade soapy solution of baking soda and dishwashing soap to clean the mesh. 

3. Clean the fan without removing the motor

Attach a crevice to a vacuum cleaner and remove the dust from the fan without detaching it from the motor. Then switch to a brush attachment for the fan motor components to remove any cakey grease and dirt. Once the dry dust is removed, apply some exhaust fan cleaning spray on a micro fibre cloth and wipe the fan components. Let the fan and components dry up completely. You now have a clean exhaust fan.

4. Reattach the fan mesh

Once the exhaust fan and mesh are completely clean and dry, you can re-insert the fan mesh. Make sure you secure the latches and hooks properly. Then plug the unit back and use it as usual. This is how you can clean your exhaust fan at home.

Read about exhaust fan installation. Crompton offers a wide range of exhaust fans and we also help you choose the right exhaust fan.



1. Do bathroom exhaust fans need to be cleaned?

Bathroom exhaust fan maintenance is often overlooked, but it is very important to clean an exhaust fan on a  regular basis. The blades and mesh might collect dust and dirt, which will negatively impact the working and lifespan of the exhaust fan. 

2. How often should I clean the bathroom fan?

Your bathroom exhaust fan needs to be cleaned at least twice a year and anytime it ceases to function efficiently. If you happen to use the exhaust fan more than usual then ventilation fan cleaning should take place twice in 6 months. 

3. Why is my bathroom exhaust fan so dusty?

Your bathroom exhaust fan may be dusty because of a couple of reasons. Humidity and moisture in the bathroom adhere to the dust particles and get stuck on the exhaust fan blades. If the bathroom window is open 24×7, it invites dusty outdoor air to enter the bathroom. As the air is drawn by the fan, dust and dirt accumulate on the fan mesh and motor over time.

4. How do you clean bathroom fan blades?
  • Dust the outside with a vacuum cleaner or clean cloth.
  • Dissemble the fan and remove the fan mesh that covers the fan blades.
  • If possible, remove the fan unit from the fan motor and housing. 
  • Either use a vacuum cleaner or damp microfibre cloth to wipe away the dust from the fan blades and motor.
  • Let the blades dry naturally and then resemble. 
5. How do you clean a bathroom exhaust duct?

There are a few ways in which you can clean the bathroom exhaust duct. First, you need to remove the fan blades and motor so you have easier access to the duct. Then use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove all the dirt, dust and debris from the ducts. You can also use a brush attachment to reach places that are difficult to access.