How To Clean Air Vents: A Comprehensive Guide 2022

Maintaining a clean home is important, but have you considered the unseen dust in your house? Your home’s air ducts and vents may hold a lot of waste, and if you don’t maintain them clean, this trash may travel throughout your house. Sparkling and Beyond offers some advice on how to clean air vents to prevent air pollution in your house.

How to clean air vents in home

1. Turn off HVAC system

Safety first. Before you start cleaning, make sure to turn off your furnace and air conditioner. 

Look for a switch located on or near your furnace. Location of the switch varies, so check the sides, rear or even in the rafters if the switch is not immediately visible. The switch will look like a standard light switch and should be flipped to the “off” position.

If you are unable to reach your furnace or air handler, or if you were unable to find the power switch, go to the main fuse box or circuit breaker and open the panel door. Inside, there will be several circuit breakers that should be labeled with the locations that each breaker feeds. Turn off the breaker for your HVAC equipment. If the breakers are not labeled, you may need to test each breaker to identify the corresponding areas of your home.

In either case, we suggest you verify that power has been turned off before proceeding with installation of your thermostat.

Verifying HVAC’s power (Source: Internet)
Verifying HVAC’s power (Source: Internet)

2. Remove vents

Ceiling Vents: 

  • Place a drop cloth under the vent to protect your floors from falling dirt and debris
  • Place a stepladder on the drop cloth and carefully climb it while holding a screwdriver
  • Locate and remove the screws while placing one hand over the vent in case it falls
  • Carefully lower the detached vent, placing the screws in your pocket so they won’t be lost

Floor Vents:

  • Place a drop cloth around the vent to stop dirt and dust from getting over the floor
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the vent in place
  • Carefully lift the vent cover up and remove it

Removing ducted air conditioning vents (Source: Internet)
Removing ducted air conditioning vents (Source: Internet)

3. Wash vents

  • Lay all of your vents in the bathtub and fill the tub with warm, soapy water. Dish soap works great for this, especially dish soaps that have a degreaser in them.
  • Let your vents soak in the soapy water for 10-15 minutes.
  • Use a bristle scrub brush to remove any leftover dust from your vents. You can use brushes with different sizes for the best effect! A larger brush’s narrow shape reached in between all of the vent grates. Also use a small detail brush for a few hard-to-reach spots.
  • After you’ve scrubbed the vents clean, rinse them under warm water and lay on a towel to dry. If you have a shower head attachment, it works really well for rinsing! Lay all of your clean vents out on a large bath towel and let them air dry. 

Soak air vent in water (Source: Internet)
Soak air vent in water (Source: Internet)


4. Vacuum ducts

With the dirt and dust loosened, it’s time to use the vacuum and its attachments. Remember, a heavy-duty vacuum will be much better at sucking up the dust and dirt than your regular home vacuum would be. Vacuum along the vent walls and in all nooks and crannies that are reachable. Make sure that the vacuum you rent has a long hose to reach deep into the ducts. This is important, as there may be mold and mildew growing inside the air ducts. If you want the ducts to be cleaned more thoroughly, consider hiring a professional to do the job. 

You’ll need a vacuum to suck up the dust and dirt from your air registers. (Source: Internet)
You’ll need a vacuum to suck up the dust and dirt from your air registers. (Source: Internet)

5. Put vents back in place

Put all of your vents back where they belong. Don’t worry if they’re still a little wet,they will air dry later. 

Put all of your vents back where they belong (Source: Internet)
Put all of your vents back where they belong (Source: Internet)

6. Make sure furnace filter is clean and turn on HVAC unit

You can clean air vents whenever you like. Many homeowners like to clean air vents every four to six months. It is also a good idea to make sure your air filter is clean. If your air filter is full of dust, it is probably a good time to change it out with a new one, which will help prevent dust from immediately refilling the ducts and vents. If your filter is dirty, you’ll still get dirty air coming up through your vents and it will ruin all of your hard work!

Replace furnace filter if necessary (Source: Internet)
Replace furnace filter if necessary (Source: Internet)

Tips to Keeping Your Vents Clean Longer

  • Dust the outside of your air vents with a vacuum or microfiber cloth monthly or each time you clean your floors.
  • Be sure to replace your air filter regularly, generally every 30 to 90 days. Check the filter packaging to see how often it has to be replaced because this depends on the type of filter you’re using and a number of other environmental factors.

Why Clean Ducts and Vents?

Although air ducts and vents are often not considered as sources of dust and allergens, they can actually be very problematic in your home. To keep allergens, dust, and other particles from entering your home’s air, you should maintain your vents and ducts clean. Air duct cleaning can help prevent lung and breathing issues.

In short, by keeping your ducts clean, you can avoid shelling out a fortune for services and repairs. Your HVAC system’s components might become damaged and worn out by dust, necessitating early maintenance and repairs.

When to Call a Professional?

For some homeowners, cleaning the air conditioning vents and ducts is too much work to do themselves. A good way to make sure that your ducts are properly cleaned out without any accidents or other problems occurring during the cleaning is to hire a professional. If you are looking for deep cleaning services, contact Sparkling and Beyond today. Our team will keep your living space dirt-free by wiping away the dust accumulated in your air vents or any other areas! Contact us in

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