Why and How to clean Heating and Cooling vent Covers

How to clean ac vents. White ceiling HVAC metal cover next to exhaust fan cover.
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Dirty vents cover can make a room look unappealing.  Even if you’ve just performed your professional cleaning routine, filthy heating and cooling vents could make the room look “unfinished”.  Don’t let your hard work look incomplete, offer your house and office cleaning customers vent cover detail cleaning.  It’s not as hard as it may seem.  Here’s why and how to clean heating and cooling vent covers.


Cleaning vent covers is a simple task to perform for your residential and commercial cleaning customers.


On most routine cleanings it is expected of your company to at least swipe across vents with a duster to remove dust, debris, lint, hair, and anything else that would become airborne.  And most times this would suffice.


However, over time, using a feather duster won’t cut it.   It just won’t get the job done.


As climatic changes cause the air in any home or office to become humid, the dust along the vents will adhere to the surface.  The heating and cooling vents will need to be cleaned in a different way.


And it’s not just the heating and cooling vents, it’s the exhaust fan covers and the return grates and grilles as well.


Performing a task like cleaning these vent covers and grilles can be as simple as a quick swipe across with a vacuum and brush attached.  Or, it may require the vent to be completely removed for proper cleaning. 


It just depends on how thorough you want to be.  The depth of cleaning is up to you.


Since every situation is different, my advice to you would be to access your customer’s home or office building prior to offering to clean the vents.  First, be sure you can perform the job.  Secondly, you’ll want to prepare your additional fee. 


Oh yes!  You’re not giving away your cleaning time.  You’re making extra money.  And, ahem, isn’t that why you own a professional cleaning business? 😐


There are several other reasons to detail clean the vents and grates in homes and office buildings.

Enter the FREE DEEP CLEANING CHALLENGE.  You’ll learn how to upsell this detail cleaning task to make more money and encourage good customer service starting TODAY!

Cleaning heating and air conditioning vents is important because…

  1. It reduces the dust in the air which can cause respiratory concerns.
  2. It keeps the room free of dust particles, pollutants, and allergens better and longer.
  3. As a professional cleaning service provider, it allows you to provide a more comprehensive cleaning experience to your customers and increase your income.
  4. Lastly, cleaning AC and heating vents, exhaust fans, and return grates and grilles encourage customer satisfaction.

Materials needed to clean heating vents, AC vents, exhaust fans, or return grates and grilles

  1. Vacuum (with hepa filter) with brush attachments
  2. Towels
  3. Bucket of warm water with mild soap.
  4. Screwdriver
  5. Sturdy, lightweight step ladder

How to clean heating and cooling vent covers


The instructions are pretty straightforward.  The key is to get permission to perform the task first before you proceed along with discussing the additional fee.  Remember, additional cleaning = additional money. 


Got it?  Cool!

  1. Use your vacuum with a brush attachment to remove all loose dust and dust bunnies. If the vent or returns are good after you vacuum.    You’re all done.
  2. If it needs just a tad more, take a damp cotton or microfiber towel to wipe across.
  3. However, if you come across a vent that needs more attention, it’s your choice to wash it.
  4. Use your screw driver to remove the screws and take it off.  
  5. For most bathrooms, simply pull down the vent cover and squeeze the metal springs to remove the cover.
  6. Wash in warm water, rinse, dry, and replace the vents.


       ** I am not advocating to vacuum inside of the ducts.  That’s a different type of cleaning!


Ok.  See, not too hard at all, right?  But, oh man, the rooms of your house and office cleaning customers will look more complete once you’ve cleaned the vent covers, grates, and grilles.

Creator of A Janitor’s Story®.  I started my office cleaning side hustle at 20 years old. Years later, with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff, my business grew to mid-six figures and fulfilled my wildest dreams!  Now, 27 years STRONG, I’ve retired, and I help aspiring entrepreneurs to START and GROW their house and office cleaning service businesses to achieve their biggest dreams.  I’d like to help you do the same.


Click here to join my email list for constant inspiration, deals and special offers EXCLUSIVELY for new cleaning business solopreneurs and small cleaning teams.  I look forward to meeting you inside!

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  1. Rachel Frampton says:

    My home’s kitchen vent is already filthy, and that is why I would like to have it clean by a professional service. Well, this article is excellent when it comes to explaining that dust and debris must be removed immediately. I also agree with you that the unit’s cover should be regularly clean.

    1. Stacey Freeman says:

      Thanks so much!

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