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How To Clean A Bathroom Extractor Fan

A bathroom extractor fan will help keep your bathroom fresh & mould free. However, as It works everyday to remove moisture from the air, it will also accumulate mould and dust without regular cleaning. In this guide we will show you how you can clean your extractor fan to keep it ticking for years to come.


How To Clean A Bathroom Extractor Fan: 

  1. Turn off the power
  2. Remove the fan cover & soak in soapy water
  3. Dust inside the unit
  4. Scrub the unit with soapy water
  5. Allow everything to dry
  6. Replace the cover

Before you start: 

Lay down newspapers or an old sheet to help catch any dirt that falls out.

Cover your mouth and hair. Depending on how dirty your extractor fan is, you may wish to cover your mouth and use eye protection.


Step 1: Turn Off The Power

Before attempting to clean your extractor fan, it’s important to turn off the power. You can do this using either the switch or the circuit breaker.


Step 2: Remove The Fan Cover & Soak In Soapy Water

To remove your fan cover, you will usually need to unscrew it and lift or slide it off. Some extractor fans will also have spring clips which you'll need to undo.

Once you have removed the cover, fill a container with soapy water and leave it to soak.


Step 3: Dust Inside The Unit

Now you have removed the cover you can access the inside of your extractor fan and assess how much cleaning is required.

You can vacuum inside your extractor unit but we’d recommend using a duster. With your duster, start by cleaning behind the back of the fan blades if you are able to access them. Then dust the rest of the inside of the unit, moving forwards towards you so you can avoid moving dust onto areas you’ve already cleaned.


Step 4 Scrub Inside The Unit With Soapy Water

Next you’ll need to scrub inside the unit with a cloth and soapy water. It’s a good idea to double check at this point that you’ve turned the power off.

Be sure to wring out your cloth between uses so you’re not just scrubbing with dirty water and remember that you may need to scrub quite hard a few times to get the inside looking sparkling clean.


Step 5: Allow Everything To Dry

Once you’ve finished scrubbing with your soapy water it’s important to let everything dry completely. Give the fan a wipe down with a towel and take out the fan cover to dry this off too.


Step 6: Replace The Cover

Now you’ve got everything clean you can replace the cover back on your extractor fan.

If you've tried to clean your bathroom extractor fan and it still doesn't look great, you may need to replace it. Luckily, Tap Warehouse have an extensive selection for you to choose from.

Why Do You Need To Clean Your Bathroom Extractor Fan?

Imagine leaving a hoover/vacuum to just keep filling up without emptying it; the suction becomes weak, it doesn’t suck up dust, and it just moves the filth around. You might think that because your bathroom extractor fan doesn’t have a bag it means you can just ignore it. But that’s not the case.

A filthy or blocked extractor fan results in:

  • A dusty bathroom

  • A smelly bathroom (just like a blocked drain or a full vacuum)

  • A waste of electricity, since it’s not actually doing anything

  • A noisy extractor fan

  • Mould. Everywhere. And we're talking from personal experience here

Preventing the “Perfect Recipe for Sticky Grime”

Your bathroom extractor fan is the dustiest part of your bathroom. That’s partly its job. But a bathroom extractor fans main role is to circulate the air in the room and suck out the moisture, rather than letting it settle. So, moisture and filth - a perfect recipe for sticky grime - is constantly moving through this ventilation system where multiple layers of obstacles provide ample space to stick to.

Obviously, fan manufacturers are fully aware of this issue, but extractor fans pull in over 2,000,000 cubic feet of air a year. That’s a lot. So no matter how well-designed a fan is, it’s going to be doing a lot of ventilating and sucking up bath-fulls of moisture even in a small home. Mixing it with dust. Let’s say 99% of that all gets sucked away without sticking to anything (which is unlikely) you’re still left with 20,000 cubic feet of moisture and dirt clogging the system up every year. That’s the absolute best-case scenario. Just imagine what the actual figure is.

Common Extractor Fan Technical Manuals

Obviously, there might be differences between each fan, and when you open it up you might realise that now would be the perfect time to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. Well, here’s some links for you (we take no responsibility for the content of these links, I’m just tipping you off to what I believe are helpful documents provided by their respective manufacturers):

Hib Cyclone Fans Manual:

Vent Axia Manuals:

Manrose Manuals:

Xpelair Fan Manuals (third-party website, content may change):


It takes roughly 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of work to clean your bathroom extractor fan. Your reward is less chance of mould, a less humid bathroom, a less noisy fan, a nicer smelling bathroom, a cleaner bathroom, and the gratification that comes with completing a task. Good work.

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