Here’s how to clean that dirty bathroom exhaust fan

We highly recommend installing exhaust fans in your bathrooms — or start using the ones you already have. The fans should be vented to the outside of your home, by the way, not into your attic.

When you turn the fans on, they will rid your indoor air of humidity, odors and smoke.  Quickly reducing the humidity level in your bathrooms after a shower can help reduce the risk of mold and mildew.

But there’s another step to take. As the years roll by, those fans can get covered with dust and grime, and they need a good cleaning. You’ll probably have to use a ladder for this job.

Before cleaning those fans, start by turning off the electric supply to the fan by turning the circuit breaker for the bathroom area to the off position on your electric panel.

Be prepared when you get started, as lots of dust will probably fall down when you unscrew the fan cover or pull it off using the spring mounts. As extra insurance against electric problems, you can also unplug the fan when you remove the fan cover.

After taking down that grimy cover, clean it thoroughly — possibly with a vacuum cleaner or by using an old towel or rag and a cleaning solution. Some people even soak the fan cover in soapy water for a while. You may also want to clean the ceiling or wall around the fan area as well.

While the cover is off, use a vacuum attachment to clean inside the fan housing and around the motor.

When everything is clean and dry, plug in the fan and reinstall the fan cover using screws or the spring mounts. Turn the circuit breaker back on, and, finally, flip the switch to make sure everything is in good working order.