How To Clean Air Ducts By Yourself

When the air ducts are neat, they provide the flow of clean, fresh air and improve the efficiency of heating and cooling your home. You can enjoy easy-breezy breathing. But this system gets dirty over time, so you have to react. If you know how much trouble can visible dust and debris cause, can you just imagine what happens inside air ducts?


Air ducts in your home include a system of vents and openings that provides air circulation. Not all parts of this system are accessible, so you can’t clean them all. That’s why you might need some professional help.

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The fact that dust has accumulated on the vents is not necessarily a sign that cleaning the entire system is urgent. But if you notice breathing issues, poor airflow, or mold, you have to improve the air duct hygiene. You can also do this job after moving into a new home or renovating. It won’t take much time and can significantly improve the air quality in your living space.

Prepare Tools

Most of the dirt inside the ductwork accumulates in places that are easily accessible, such as registers and airflow vents. That allows you to clean more easily, even without professional tools. But this task is not just about vacuuming the channels and undusting the vet openings. You have to assemble a variety of tools to do this job right.

Of course, a vacuum cleaner is essential. You will need a long hose and nozzle piece to help you assess the inside of the channels. Also, you will need some thick brushes, like those used in the toilet or for a paintbrush. These will scrub the dust and dirt deposits without damaging the ducts. Don’t forget cloths and paper towels, and a screwdriver or a power drill, as you’ll need to remove the vent covers to clean the inside.

You must wear eye protection and a mask, as there will be a lot of dust and allergens. Wearing gloves is also recommended, but you can skip that until wiping and sanitizing. Make sure that the thermostat is off and you’re good to go.

Remove Visible Dirt

Remove Visible Dirt

If you’re sick of breathing dirty air and can’t seem to get rid of the smell, it’s time to clean your air ducts. First, turn off the HVAC system and remove all screws from covers in the floor and walls. As you’re going to clean one vent at a time, you will remove cases one by one. Cover others opening with paper towels to prevent dust from blowing out.

You can take your vacuum cleaner hose and insert it as far into the ducts as possible. Rotate the nozzle along the duct walls to pick up larger debris, hair, and rodent and insect leftovers. These tiny creatures just love these channels, so don’t be surprised if you find face to face with a mouse or roach.

Attach a scrub brush to a wire or telescopic pole for hard-to-reach areas. Tap it along the walls to lose dust clumps. Assess the ductwork exterior in your basement or attic and do the same to lose even more dust.

Get The Dust Outside

After doing superficial vacuuming, it’s time to get all that dirt outside. Depending on the type of your HVAC, you’ll turn on ‘fan on’ or just heating. The goal is to blow the loose dust outside. Keep the vacuum cleaning near the register open and turn it on. Use the hose inside the register to suck in all the dirt and dust blown out by the fan. Repeat the scuffing with the brush if there are stubborn deposits which can be a great risk for your health and environment.

Wiping The Ducts

Wiping The Ducts

After vacuuming, it’s time for wiping. Before that, remove all paper towels. Also, as you will work with water, make sure to turn the fan and furnace off, not just the thermostat. Simply turn off the switch in the main circuit breaker panel. That will prevent electroshock risks.

Now you will need a damp cloth and a lot of patience, as you’ll probably have to rinse it many times before you clean the duct and a register thoroughly. When cleaning the return air registers, you should clean the area around the opening as well.

Now is probably the best moment to wash covers and grill plates under a stream of warm water. If they are greasy, you can use a degreaser or mild dishwashing detergent. Rinse the covers well and set them aside. Once they are dry, you can spray them with disinfectant before installation.

Change Furnace Filters

As the furnace is off, you can clean the blower compartment and air boot. Remove front panels and assess these parts with a vacuum cleaner to pick up dust. Wipe the area with a damp cloth and clean the fan, too. Complete this task with filter replacement to ensure even better airflow.

Mold Removal

Mold Removal

Clogged air ducts are perfect spots for mold and parasites. The combo of hot air and moisture trapped inside dark channels is a heaven for different pathogens. So don’t neglect this problem while cleaning the ductwork. Mold can be a great risk for your health.

If you suspect mold inside the ductwork, probably the best course of action is to visit this homepage and call professionals, but you can also do something by yourself. After wiping the ducts, you can sanitize them with water and mildew removal solution. Leave the system to dry without turning it on. That can be an excellent first aid until professional HVAC technicians come.

Filthy ducts are a major contributor to the stale smell in your home. You can have severe breathing issues when surrounded by poor-quality air for a while. That’s why you should proceed toward improving its quality in your home. Start with cleaning the air ducts and available parts of your HVAC system. That will help you breathe in the fresh air and avoid unpleasant odors.

Updated Home
Updated Home
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