How to Properly Clean and Maintain a Tower Fan

Tower fans are great to stay cool but if you use yours regularly, it will have a buildup of dust and other debris after a while. Regular cleaning and maintenance is important to keep the fan working properly. Here’s how you do it.

Tower fans should be deep cleaned once every two months if used regularly. by vacuuming and blowing it out with compressed air as well as cleaning the filters if your fan has them. If your environment is particularly dusty, cleaning more often might be necessary.

The rest of this article will discuss these steps in greater detail. It will also discuss how often you should maintain and clean your tower fan.

How To Clean a Tower Fan

Here is how to properly maintain a tower fan in 9 easy steps:

  1. Unplug the tower fan 
  2. Bring the tower fan outside
  3. Unscrew the tower fan if necessary
  4. Vacuum all vents 
  5. Spray compressed air into vents
  6. Plug the tower fan back in and turn it on
  7. Wipe the tower fan with a damp cloth
  8. Unscrew filter if necessary
  9. Clean filter and screw it back on

Let’s get into the details of how to do it exactly.

1. Unplug Your Tower Fan

The first step is to unplug the tower fan. While the step may seem obvious, it can be easy to forget to unplug your tower fan before you start cleaning. 

If you leave the fan plugged in, chances are you might turn it on accidentally. This would be dangerous because tower fans usually have sharp blades that can cause serious injuries when spinning.  

Turning the fan on while cleaning it will also make a big mess. Cleaning a fan involves loosening up a lot of dust. If you turn it on before getting rid of that dust, it will blow everywhere leaving you with an even bigger mess.

Once you’ve plugged out your tower fan, you can move on to the next step!

2. Bring The Fan Outside

Tower fans are full of dust after some months of regular use. You don’t want to put all that dust and debris back into your house so cleaning outdoors is a better option if possible.

You can keep your fan indoors and clean it there if you’d like, but it’s best to bring it outdoors. This is mainly because there will be a fair amount of dust flying around during the cleaning process (depending on how dirty the fan is), and you want to avoid too much dust getting around your home.

If you can’t do it outdoors (i.e., if it’s raining or you don’t have enough space), you can do it indoors. However, you should vacuum your home afterward to eliminate any dust fallout due to the fan cleaning process. 

You shouldn’t clean your tower fan outdoors if:

  • It’s raining out
  • It’s particularly windy
  • You don’t have any clean surfaces to work off of

3. Unscrew The Tower Fan If Necessary

This step won’t be necessary for every fan. With some fans, you’ll need to unscrew them to clean properly. With others, you won’t need to. You should check the user manual of your specific fan before you decide to unscrew anything.

Feel free to skip this step if you don’t need to unscrew your tower fan.

If you do have to unscrew your tower fan, follow the basic instructions within this section. Once it’s unscrewed, you can clean all the vents using a vacuum. Then, you can use a can of compressed air to go over the rest of the dust that may be stuck.

After that, you can wipe the components with a damp cloth until everything is clean and screw the fan back together again.

Once you’ve screwed it all back together, it’s essential to wipe the outside of the fan with a damp cloth. Make sure you wipe every part of it to get it as clean and dust-free as possible. Then, it’s ready to be used again or put away for the season.

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4. Remove Filter If Necessary

Some tower fans have filters, but not all of them do. If yours does, it’s essential to remove the filter now and then clean it out. If you don’t, it will get a buildup of dust and other debris, and get clogged. This reduces the performance of the fan, puts more stress on the motor and uses more electricity.

If there is a filter in your fan, this is where most dust accumulates so it’s important to check if you’ve got one.

So before you clean anything else, you’ll need to remove the filter. The filter is usually near the back or bottom of the fan, sometimes behind a cover. Some are removable without any screws while others require some tools.

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5. Clean The Filter

You can use a vacuum cleaner on the dirty side of the filter to remove the dust. Usually the dust is quite loose so a vacuum will get rid of most of it. The leftover dust can then be cleaned with a bucket of water and a cloth.

Another good way is to use water in the bathtub. Usually the filters are plastic so it’s not a problem to get them wet. Just let them dry completely before putting them back in the fan. Put the filters in the bathtub with the dirty side down. Then take the shower head and spray the filters. This will drain all the dust through the drain which prevents it from getting anywhere else.

If the filters aren’t removable, do not clean them with water. Just use a vacuum cleaner and compressed air to get rid of the dust.

6. Vacuum All Vents 

Your fan should have vents in the front and back, so you’ll need to clean both. Start by vacuuming the front vent until you get as much dust as possible. You may need to go over the vent a few times to get all (or most) of the dust.

Once you’ve finished the front, you can move to the back. It’s the same method here—move the vacuum around the back vent until you’ve sucked up most of the loose dust. Use a small nozzle to get the best access.

A brush nozzle is ideal but not necessary if you don’t have one. Any nozzle that’s small enough to clean the vents of your fan adequately should do the job. If you don’t have a brush nozzle, use a normal brush while vacuuming to prevent the spread of the dust.

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7. Spray Compressed Air Into Vents

Once you’re done vacuuming, the next step is to spray all the air vents with compressed air. Compressed air is kind of the opposite of a vacuum cleaner, it sprays a strong burst of air. This is a great way of loosening up dust in spots you can’t get to with a vacuum. Usually bottles of compressed air come with straws so you can reach in tiny corners.

You can find compressed air in most hardware stores or it’s easy to get online.

Once you have your compressed air of choice, you should spray it into the vents (where you already vacuumed). This will remove any dust stuck on some of the blades in the vents. You should use the compressed air on both sides of the fan for the best outcome.

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blowing a tower fan clean.

8. Plug The Tower Fan Back In And Turn It On

Once you’ve used the compressed air, you can plug your tower fan back in and turn it on. If you’re cleaning it outdoors, you can now bring it inside.

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Although you need to turn it back on, this doesn’t mean you’re finished cleaning it yet. You need to turn it on in this step to allow any leftover dust to leave the vents. This works because the blades will push the loose dust out of the fan once it’s on. 

Since this might cause some dust to leave the fan, you may want to keep a vacuum close to the vents so that it doesn’t get around your home.

You should leave the fan on for a few minutes (2 to 3 should be fine). Once a few minutes have passed, you can turn the fan off and plug it out again. At this point, it should look much cleaner, and there should be no dust left inside the vents.

9. Wipe The Tower Fan With A Damp Cloth

The next step is to wipe the tower fan using a damp cloth. You can also spray the cloth with a mild cleaning agent, but a wet cloth will do. It’s best to unplug the fan again before doing this.

For this step, you want to mainly focus on the outer parts of the fan, including the top. Wipe all the external parts to remove any dirt or dust buildup. Once that’s done, you can let it dry before plugging it back in to use it.

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10. Put The Filters Back In

If you removed the filters earlier, you should put them back at this point. Replacing them should be as simple as the reversing the steps. Make sure to secure all the screws, fasteners and panels as before to prevent rattles and squeaks.

How Often Should You Clean a Tower Fan?

You should deep clean a tower fan once every two months if you use it regularly. If you don’t use it too often, you should clean it once every 10-12 weeks. Another good indicator of when to clean a tower fan is if there is a visible buildup of dust in the vents.

Regularly wiping down visible dust on the outside of the fan and vacuuming the vents will help keep the inside cleaner. If you just vacuum the fan every time you vacuum the floor, it will stay relatively clean although dust will still get into the deeper parts and a deep clean does stay necessary.

If the vents, blades and filters get loaded up with dust and debris, it provides a very nice home for mold and bacteria to grow, especially in high humidity environments. Then turning on the fan will spread all that around with all the potential health problems as a result.

A dirty tower fan is also less efficient, loads the motor more which leads to more wear and possibly premature failure. It also uses more electricity.

If your home is particularly dusty, you may need to vacuum your fan more regularly than once a month. 

Do You Have to Use a Vacuum to Clean a Tower Fan?

You have to use a vacuum to clean a tower fan because it’s the best way to suck up as much dust as possible. Without a vacuum, you won’t be able to remove all the dust, meaning your fan will never be as clean as possible. 

Luckily, you don’t need a large, super powerful vacuum to get the job done. In fact, the smaller the vacuum, the better. It’ll be easy to clean your fan if you have a small nozzle or brush for your vacuum.

And when it comes to vacuuming, it’s generally not necessary to do it more than once every month. Some people only need to vacuum their tower fan once every eight weeks, so it’s not a high effort task!

What Happens If You Don’t Properly Maintain a Tower Fan?

If you don’t maintain a tower fan, it will have dust and dirt buildup. Eventually, this will prevent it from doing its job effectively, and its overall performance will reduce. That’s why it’s essential to maintain a tower fan properly.

Once dust begins to build up in the vents, the air can’t escape from the fan as much. So if you start to notice your fan isn’t emitting as much air as usual, it could be because there’s too much dust present. 

Cleaning your fan thoroughly (by following the steps in this article) should get it working correctly again.

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It’s essential to properly maintain a tower fan if you want to keep it working effectively and looking new. By following the steps in this article, your fan should look brand new and completely dust-free every time you clean it.

You should maintain your tower fan weekly to keep it in good condition and do a deep clean monthly. Weekly maintenance should include wiping and using compressed air.

 A monthly clean should also consist of those things, but you should also use a vacuum to remove all dust.



Matt moved to a location where the climate is hot and humid year round 8 years ago and got a bit obsessed with ceiling fans as an alternative or supplement to air-conditioning. He just wants the optimal ceiling fan and to get it to work the best for the specific situation. And now you can follow what he learned on

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