How to Clean Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light? (Easy Steps)

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Exhaust fans are useful in removing unwanted odors, moisture, and other kinds of air impurities. So keeping them clean is quite necessary to avoid dust buildup.

According to FamilyHandyMan, cleaning an exhaust fan every 6 months is necessary as this duration is enough for an exhaust fan to collect unwanted mold and mildew.

Right Now, if you are observing excess dust buildup, mold, or mildew on your bathroom exhaust fan with light, then it is the right time to clean it up.

Most users think that cleaning an exhaust fan is a headache. But don’t worry, I’ve outlined simple & easy steps for you to get started.

How to Clean Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light?

Exhaust Fan with Light
Broan Exhaust Fan with Light

Step 1: Turn Off Light Switch

For safety reasons, the first step in cleaning an exhaust fan with light is to turn off the light switch (Do not touch the circuit breaker).

Step 2: Remove Plastic Cover Plate

In the next step, you have to remove the diffused plastic cover plate by slightly pressing the end tabs. On pressing, the plastic plate will drop down freely.

Once you get your hands on the plastic plate, keep it aside for cleaning.

Step 3: Remove Light Bulb

Since we turned the light switch off, you are good to remove the light bulb without fear of getting a shock.

Step 4: Remove Center Nuts

On removing the bulb, you will get exposed to center nuts. Center nuts hold base plate assembled to the center post. To remove, use flat head pliers or screwdrivers.

When I was removing them, some nuts fell lost in the shower drains. To avoid this, place a towel over the drain to catch nuts when it drops.

Step 5: Remove Fan Grating

As you have removed the nuts, the grating will drop down freely. I recommend you to pull it slowly as there is a wire connector that needs to be unplugged. Unplug the light kit from the ceiling fan and keep it aside for cleaning.

Removing the fan area out of the ceiling isn’t recommend if you are doing it by yourself. Don’t worry, it is still cleanable.

Step 6: Start Cleaning

Once you have removed everything, it’s time to clean all parts one after the other.

For the bulb, clean it by using a dry cloth available at your house. If you plan to use a wet cloth, make sure the bulb is dry before reassembling.

For the fan cover plate, you can soak or rinse it with soapy water. Or use a cloth dampened with water and mild detergent. Then, gently clean the area with dust and place it under a fan to dry before reassembling.

To clean plastic fan grating, you can soak or rinse it in warm soapy water.

To clean fan blades, you can use a toothbrush or vacuum. A vacuum will be more useful to reach-hard to remove clouds of dust. If you are using a toothbrush, be careful not to bend the fan blades by applying excessive force.

Step 7: Reassemble Everything

After cleaning everything (light bulb, cover plate, grating, and fan blades), you have to set up the parts back.

When reassembling the fan’s cover plate, ensure that you have plugged the wire, which was initially unplugged (in step five). Now, attach the grating and screw the nuts properly.

Put the light back and light cover back in its place (ensure it is dry). Lastly, Turn on the power and test it.

How To Clean Bathroom Exhaust Fan (with light)

How Often to Clean Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

A bathroom exhaust fan needs to be cleaned at regular intervals to prevent dust build-up. If your exhaust fan is running under normal usage, consider cleaning every 6 months.

Continuous usage of bathroom exhaust fans attracts moisture which can result in mold and mildew formation. If so, consider cleaning every 3 months.


Cleaning Frequency


(fan running when bathroom in use)

6 months


(fan running continuosly, 24/7)

3 months

FAQ: Cleaning Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light

Can you clean light bulbs in water?

light bulb

Do not submerge a bulb directly into the water. Instead, use a wet cloth to wipe the dust and ensure the bulb is dry before using. Avoid cleaning the electrical contact (base) with a wet cloth to prevent unnecessary damage.

How to Clean the Plastic Cover Plate?

You can soak or rinse it with a soapy water solution. Or use a cloth dampened with water and mild detergent. Then, gently clean the area with dust, and place it under a fan to dry before reassembling.

How to Clean the Fan Blades?

You can either use a toothbrush or vacuum. But I will recommend you to use a vacuum instead because it can reach-hard to remove dust particles. Using a toothbrush to clear dust is time-consuming, and applying force can bend the blades also.

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