How To Clean Your Air Vents (Glamorous, Huh?)

how to clean air vents

Did you think we were kidding about cleaning more in 2013? You never trust us, do you? Well, we’re very proud to say that we’ve been cleaning things we never even paid attention to before. For example, did you know you can bathe children? The dirt almost comes right off! And we’re planning for the future, too, with some traditional Spring cleaning that we’re already regretting that we skipped last year.  [image via flickr]

Air vent cleaning is one of those things that require a little attention and can be a project in and of itself. If you haven’t cleaned your vents in a while, you may want to consider making it a priority when the weather warms up a little to remove dust and allergens from the air in your home. This will result in a cleaner house overall, not to mention a healthier living environment for everybody.

Vent Covers

Most modern air vent covers are made from plastic or metal. You will want to remove them and give them an appropriate cleaning. When dealing with plastic covers, this may require little more than a vacuuming or dusting. A dry cloth will often be all you really need.

If there is a lot of dust and residue clinging to your vent covers, warm, soapy water will take care of it. Larger vent covers may need to be taken outside and scrubbed or even hosed off to remove the dirt. Most metal covers can be washed in soapy water. For that extra spring-clean look, use an appropriate metal polish on them to bring back their shine. Once your vent covers are clean, put them aside and deal with the vents themselves.

Cleaning the Vents

It is recommended that you attempt to clean only the vents themselves and not the air ducts. A professional HVAC technician should be called to take care of those. Your only concern is the vent itself. For vents in the floor or wall, vacuum out any accumulated dirt and dust. Do not go too far into the duct as you could lose vacuum attachments in them. This is true no matter where the vent is situated but it is particularly easy to do while cleaning a floor vent.

For ceiling vents, a telescoping vacuum cleaner will work, but a simple damp mop will also. Make sure your mop has a traditional cloth head as this type will catch and hold the most dust and dirt. If you feel that the amount of dirt coming out of the vent is excessive, it is definitely time for a thorough duct cleaning.

Finishing Touches

Make sure your vent covers are completely dry before replacing. If your vent cover has a HEPA or other type of air filter, be sure to set it back in place or, ideally, discard it and replace it with a new one. Be sure to pay attention to the vent covers when dusting or vacuuming day to day to be sure they stay as clean as possible. The cleaner they are, the cleaner the air in your home will be.