Wisdom Learned From Cleaning Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fan lesson
Ceiling fan that taught me several lessons

I admit it. I am not an avid house cleaner. My asthmatic cat necessitates that I try to keep the dust levels down, so I do the dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming when I need to. I do have air purifiers in two rooms to help clean the air. Every month I hire a lady to mop my floors and other chores my back can’t handle.

Due to my schedule of “avoidance to housework” activities and my back problems, the house cleaning falls into the “do it when you can’t put it off any longer” category. I learned to do the necessary tasks by the ancient method suggested by Julius Caesar in reference to dividing France to conquer it: “Divide and Conquer.” So I do the dusting one day, when I feel inspired and the floor vacuuming when the floors need it.

Since ceiling fans need cleaning too, I dust them periodically with the wonderful dusters with a changeable fluff that fits on the movable right angle piece. This is at the end of a long, extendable handle that reaches most ceilings. With this marvelous invention I could reach the high places where dust lives along with those pesky dust mites. No telling how many of them had been breeding and for how long!

Once while cleaning ceiling fan blades with the long handled duster I learned two lessons. Do not stand directly under a ceiling fan while using a long handled duster. Why? The normal behavior of looking up to see where you are dusting without goggles or glasses, will bring a shower of dust into your eyes!! The duster part does not get all of the dust particles since some seem to see the duster coming and seem to “jump” of the fan blades or duster.

Another potential complication involves the reflexive opening of the mouth that takes place when one is looking up. This is not a good reflex to allow when the duster loosens dust and the dust drifts into one’s waiting, open mouth!

Later on another occasion I was suddenly overcome with the passionate desire to clean the tops, bulbs and dish under the fan light bulbs in each of the fans.

In my energetic mode I gleefully cleaned the ceiling fan blades (wearing glasses and keeping my mouth shut!) in the living room, then my bedroom. I angled the handy duster part to clean inside the globe that shielded the bulbs from whatever projectiles might do damage to them. Happily I noticed a clump of dust or cat hair and artfully caught it with the duster. I left the light on and went on to the guest room to clean its fan blades and globe.

Suddenly I noted a smell I quickly recognized as smoke. I went through each room sniffing, clearing my nose and sniffing again in the next room. I returned to the bedroom and began sniffing. This was the room where something was burning!!! The only things that had been touched in there were the light fixtures and bulbs.

I looked at the light to see what the source of smoke was. There from the area of one of the light bulbs was a small stream of smoke!! I turned off the light first and rushed to the kitchen trying to quickly decide what to do next! There was no flame but I did know that there are smoke detectors in every room.

But what should I do? I live in a large condo building with two separate buildings divided by a fire wall. I did not want the smoke to set off a smoke detector/fire alarm which could set off loud alarms that might call everyone to leave both buildings and summon the fire department!! (I could just see it all in my head!) The red liquid in the glass vials near the ceiling would explode from heat if a fire burst out and turn on the sprinkler system that would send showers of water all over the place!! So what should I do? (Honestly I didn’t know exactly what could happen with just smoke, other than a smoke detector beeping loudly. But I was a bit on the frantic side trying to prevent damage.)

I couldn’t use the fire extinguisher because it would make a mess in my bedroom when there was not even a fire. Finally after a few seconds of calming down, I knew what to do! I moistened a swifter duster with water, wrung it out and went back to the now cooled off and not smoking bulb. After carefully swabbing the fixture and bulbs with the duster and checking each bulb before I proceeded to the next one, I found soot on two of the bulbs. Whew! At least it wasn’t wiring or something else worse!

So what caused the smoke? Since I couldn’t carry the ladder from the porch storage closet, I walked the tall ladder from the closet,  into the bedroom, removed the light bulbs and was shocked to see something black burned onto two of the four bulbs. I believe a piece of dust or a piece of the duster got too hot and burned onto the bulbs!

Problem Solved

So I rushed out to get new bulbs, came home and carefully screwed in four, new bulbs; returned the ladder and began to breathe calmly again!

So for future reference in case you are a new house wife, housekeeper or never cleaned a ceiling fan light fixture before and might not know these things here are the guidelines:

1. Keep your mouth closed if you are standing beneath a ceiling fan and dusting its blades with a long handled duster.

2. Protect your eyes from falling dust by wearing glasses or goggles and don’t stand directly under the fan blades.

2. Do not use a long handled duster on the inside of a ceiling fan light globe with hot bulbs! Turn off the light, allow the bulbs to cool; if possible remove the globe, wipe it out and return it safely.

I figure why not pass along the “wisdom” I learned from my mistakes. You’re welcome.

12 thoughts on “Wisdom Learned From Cleaning Ceiling Fans

  1. I just have to giggle at an asthmatic cat! Not that I am minimizing your baby’s malady… but it is just that cats are more often the cause of asthma! I have a friend who can’t even be in a room a cat has been in. I had to turn my cats into outside cats or face never having her visit again. I wonder if your cat would be allergic to her????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I don’t know what Norie is set off by except missing two doses of Flovent. Lol. She lives to greet people in my condo building. Unfortunately there is one person here who is terrified of cats. I check the halls before I let them out in the hall so I want scare that poor woman.


  2. There are dusters made just to clean ceiling fan blades. They’re cool, a brush that has an oval hole in the middle which fits right over the blade brushing it sparkling clean, and the nice thing is, the dust you’re removing rarely falls off the brush, leaving you time to sweep it up with your sweeper hose before it drifts off to other furniture or to the floor. I got one at Dollar General for $5 a few years ago, and it serves a double purpose because I use it for shoulder PT/rehab to keep the pain in torn shoulder cuff under a manageable level too. 🙂


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