Cleaning Your Vent Covers

vent covers

Do you ignore the dust and grime that is built up on your vent covers?  Replacement vent covers are sold at any home improvement store, but the cost can be extensive if you have several throughout your home.  The good news is that cleaning your vent covers is very easy, and you can take steps to keep them clean year-round!


First, turn off your HVAC system at the thermostat to prevent any dust and debris from blowing inside the room.  Next, cover your furniture and flooring that is close to the vent to protect it from the falling “dust bunnies.”  We also recommend that you wear a mask, hat and safety glasses.

Cleaning New Vents

If your vents are still in good shape, these steps will have them clean in no time!

  1. Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean off the majority of the dust and dirt.
  2. Dampen a microfiber cloth with water and wipe the outside of the vent and surrounding wall and ceiling. Do not use any type of cleaning solution, as these can smear the dirt around and make the mess even worse.

Cleaning Older Vents

Older vents may need a little more TLC than newer vents.  If you follow the steps above and still are not satisfied with the appearance of your vents, you may need to refinish the vent cover.  We recommend that you follow these steps outside where you have plenty of ventilation.

  1. Remove the vent covers. Work slowly because many older vent covers can be stuck to the wall.  Removing them with too much force can damage the surrounding paint.  If the vent cover is stuck to the wall, use a box cutter to cut around the vent first.  You should follow the edge of the vent cover at about a 30° to 45° angle and not cut perpendicular to the wall.
  2. Take the vents outdoors and soak them in water and a basic household cleaner. Rinse the vent covers thoroughly.
  3. Inspect the vent covers for rust and built up paint. Check the handle on the vent cover to see how easily the louvers move.
  4. If the vent cover is rusted or has a lot of paint built up, use a solvent to remove the clean the cover. You may need to lightly sand the cover to get it completely clean.
  5. Use a rust-inhibiting spray paint to re-paint the vent cover. Your home improvement store can recommend a product that will work best for your vent covers.  They can even match the color for you!
  6. Allow the paint to dry completely before re-installing the covers.

Preventing Dust from Collecting on Vent Covers

Dust on your vent covers is an indication that your HVAC system needs some attention.  One of the main causes for the problem is that the filters need to be changed.  We recommend changing filters every month throughout the year.  The ductwork may also need to be cleaned.  And Services offers professional ductwork cleaning and maintenance to keep your vent covers and home clean.  The service also improves indoor air quality by removing bacteria, viruses, pet dander, mold spores and other airborne pollutants from the ducts.  To learn more about our ductwork services, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced technicians!