Tower fans are popular and the top selling fan for a reason. They are usually affordable, and some can push a considerable amount of wind. Unfortunately, they are the hardest style of fan to keep clean, which is why we’ve put together a quick guide to teach you how to clean tower fans.
While tower fans come in different sizes, most share a few common traits when it comes to the overall design. Every fan in this class has a row of vents down the front, which is where the problem can begin if the panel doesn’t pop off.
While your best course of action is to always refer to the user manual that came with your fan, we realize that’s not always an option, and some instruction manuals aren’t up to snuff. Regardless of the style, follow these tips if you want to keep your tower fan clean and working properly.
1. Unplug your fan. While the blades are covered by a grate, you should never attempt to clean a fan while it’s plugged in.
It’s not a bad idea to grab a set of safety glasses as well to prevent things from going into your eyes or a dust mask if your fan is filthy. If you can take the fan outside for cleaning, it’s highly advised.
2. Take a look at the front of the fan. Does it have a panel? If so, it’s usually attached by screws or pops off through a latch. If it doesn’t, you may have to crack the case which will involve a screwdriver and a little elbow grease if you don’t have a cordless drill.
You’ll also want to keep a close eye on those screws, so grab a bowl or pop them in a pocket. Whatever you do, don’t force your fan apart as most have a couple of plastic tabs. If you break those, you may have a tough time getting things lined up and put together properly.
3. Once you have the grill off, you can clean it in a few different ways. Canned air or a compressor is the quickest solution, and something you should definitely do outdoors. If it’s entirely plastic, you can also give it a quick rinse with a water hose.
If your grill doesn’t pop off, and cracking the case is not an option, you’ll want to break out a vacuum cleaner or try something like this mini duster to clean out all those nooks and crannies.
4. As for the inside of the fan, you can use the same tools, and air will make the job easy. A brush is also a good idea for stubborn grime. You don’t need to remove the bladed wheel itself but can lay the tower fan down to make things easier.
Unless you’re using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, brush any debris and dust that comes off out of the way, or you could send it back toward the fan with an errant shot of air. If you need help with this step or are leery about taking your fan apart, the video below explains things nicely.
5. While you have the fan apart, it’s a great time to give it a little TLC which can resolve noises that emanate from your tower fan. The old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” holds true here, so grab a can of WD-40 or some lithium grease and hit the bearings with a few squirts.
You’ll find one bearing above and below each end of the cylinder, and don’t need to remove anything to grease those up. You can remove it if you really want to give your machine a thorough cleaning, but it’s not necessary and may be more trouble than its worth.
6. If you’ve followed our steps correctly, you simply need to reattach the grill or put the case back together. If you had to deal with screws, make sure you only screw them back in “hand tight” and don’t overdo it with a drill. Tower fans are plastic, and too much pressure can crack the holes that hold the screws.
Once finished, plug it in and let it run to make sure everything sounds right, then sit back, relax and enjoy your clean tower fan.
This process only applies to traditional tower fans, so if you have a bladeless fan, the process will vary. While those fans are marketed as “easy to clean” only the Dyson lives up the hype in that regard. If you’re looking for a new fan to cool your home, be sure to check out our list of the best tower fans.