How to Clean a Tower Fan: Two Simple Yet Effective Methods

Christine Herrington

Christine is our Chief Editor and a contributing writer to the site.

Last Updated on June 7, 2021

Tower fans are tall, streamlined appliances that oscillate as they circulate cool air around your living space. They contain a cylindrical capsule made up of impeller blades. An electric motor powers the bearing that turns this container and sucks air into the unit’s base. This air flows vertically upward through the fan, then the blower at the top of the machine distributes it outward across a wide surface area.

Once you’ve invested in one of these energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing machines, you’ll need to maintain it properly so dust and dirt don’t congest the ventilation system and cause damage. Fortunately, there are a couple of simple yet effective methods for cleaning your tower fan.

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Table of Contents

How to Clean a Tower Fan

It’s essential to learn how to clean a tower fan so you can maintain your investment. If you don’t clean it regularly, the machine gathers dirt and debris around its impeller blades and motor. This buildup can cause your fan to make a rattling noise whenever you turn it on. It might even stop working

Once a year, it’s a good idea to clean out the interior of the fan. Performing a deep clean will take you a couple of hours, but if you notice any minor issues with the fan’s function, this is a great way to clear them up. Regular cleaning is less time-consuming and only takes about five minutes, and involves cleaning only the exterior of the fan.

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Frequent Cleaning Method (Exterior)

Every few weeks, give your tower fan a quick clean to clear out the dust from its exterior vent unit. Start by unplugging the fan; if you try to clean it while it’s integrated blades are still operating, you risk trapping your fingers or getting a nasty electrical shock. Lift the fan up so it’s on an elevated surface, like a dining room table or chair. Often the easiest way to work on a tower fan is to lay it down horizontally.

The easiest way to remove dust from the fan’s external ventilation system is to use a vacuum cleaner nozzle to suck up the debris. Using suction for cleaning is ideal because you don’t come into direct contact with the fan, reducing the risk of scratching its casing.

If you don’t have a vacuum nozzle handy, you can try a couple of other methods.  Use the soft bristles of a dry paintbrush to clear away excess dust and dirt, or grab a hairdryer. Plug it in and operate it on a cool setting to blast dust away from the ventilation system.

Once you’ve cleaned the fan’s external casing, you can clear out debris from deeper inside the machine using a canister of compressed air. Spray jets of air through the inlets in the vent, ensuring you’re covering the whole unit. These air bursts should dislodge major dust and debris deposits inside the machine.

After you’ve dislodged them, you can plug your fan back into the outlet and turn it on. As the built-in electric motor begins to run and the impeller blades start operating, the movement dispels loose dust out of the fan.

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Deep Clean Method (Interior)

If you want to learn how to clean a tower fan more thoroughly, you will need to use a screwdriver to access the internal mechanisms. Unplug the fan from the wall outlet, turn the machine onto its side and use a paintbrush or vacuum brush attachment to wipe any loose dust off the external ventilation panel.

Once you’ve done this, find the screws that are holding the unit together. Most models will have a couple of screws directly above the ventilation system, but the exact placement of the screws varies from brand to brand. Unscrew these bolts from the casing, then gently remove the external casing. This protective material can be quite stiff, so you may have to use the metal end of your screwdriver or a spanner to get under various sections of the casing and lever it up so that it breaks away from the rest of the unit.

Now that you have direct access to the machine’s central ventilation system, you can blow compressed air across the impeller blades, moving the canister up and down inside the cylinder to dislodge all the debris on these vanes. Then use your vacuum brush attachment or paintbrush to suck up or clear all of this dislodged dirt, lint, and dander away from the fan.

You can also vacuum the fan’s external casing if you feel like you didn’t clear away all the dust on the first go. You’ll find this is easier to do properly with the casing detached from the rest of the fan.

Use your vacuum brush attachment to suck up debris from around the motor. Then, you can apply some grease, electric motor oil, sewing machine oil, or silicone oil to the fan bearing. This bearing is the function that enables the fan to spin smoothly, which is why it requires lubrication. Spin the cylinder manually to allow the grease or oil to settle.

Take your screwdriver and use it to attach the newly clean external casing to the rest of the appliance. It’s best to screw in the bolts at the unit’s base first because this section of the fan tends to be the most fragile. Once you’ve resecured all the tower fan parts you removed, you can reattach the casing. Next, plug the fan into the outlet and let the motor run for a few minutes, forcing the blades to push any remaining bits of debris out into the open air. Once there is no longer any debris visibly coming out of the fan, you can turn it back off, and you’re all finished.

Keep Your Tower Fan Working Efficiently

Generally speaking, you don’t need to do much to ensure your tower fan runs efficiently. As long as you’re brushing the dust away from its external casing once or twice a month and making sure there’s no scale buildup or debris inside the ventilation system, you’ll find your tower fan is easy to maintain.

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