While you might not think it as important enough to make it to your cleaning routine but cleaning and maintaining your air ducts once in a while may prove to be very beneficial for you. You probably have pets that shed a lot or your kids like dropping small things into vent registers, whatever the reason maybe, either way you never know what may be lodged down there as we speak.
Before you go ahead and freak out, cleaning your air ducts do not have to be a big deal and you can even do it yourself with these two easy steps!
What you will need:
- A vacuum cleaner with various accessories hose
- A dust brush (to go with your vacuum)
- Hot water
- Cleaning cloths, preferably microfiber
- Dish soap
- A rotary dryer vent brush cleaner
- A drill, preferable cordless
To start off, remove all the registers from their respective positions in walls and floors and wash them. These registers are relatively simple to take off. All you have to do is simply lift the ones from the floor up and unscrew the wall registers with your cordless drills. Fill up your sink with hot water and pour in some dish soap to clean your registers in. After rinsing them thoroughly, leave them to air dry. Do note that if your registers are painted, this is an important step as they need to be washed by hand, whereas, registers made of metal can very easily be washed in the dishwasher.
After the registers are left to dry off, the dryer vent brush needs to be firmly attached to the cordless drill. You need to ensure it is done perfectly so that the brush does not accidentally come off and get stuck inside the duct system. Once that is done, carefully insert the brush into the duct system all the way through.
Turn on the drill attached to the brush so that the drill whips the brush around inside the duct, hence cleaning the inner walls. With the drill still on, slowly start pulling the drill back so that every inch of the walls are covered by the dryer vent brush. Once to get closer to the opening, turn off the drill to avoid dust from going everywhere.
Remove the dryer vent brush from the cordless drill and replace it with the hose of your vacuum cleaner using the dust brush attached. Same as before, make sure they are attached firmly. Now, feed it through your duct and vacuum any debris or dust particles that you have spilled around. So clean it properly before you continue with the rest.
Take your microfiber cleaning cloth and dampen it with some warm water. Wipe the interior of the ducts clean by reaching out to the furthest corners. You will find that a lot of the gunk is transferred onto the damp cloth this way. Clean the cloth and wipe the interiors again. Continue this process a couple of times until you see no more of the dust is coming off, making sure to clean the cloth each time.
By now, most of the dust and debris should be removed from the inside except of course the stubborn dirt. For those, you can use a homemade cleaner to wipe them clean.
To make the all-purpose homemade cleaner, all you need are:
- Warm water – 2 cups
- Baking Soda – 1 tablespoon
- Distilled white vinegar – 1 cup
- Juice of a lemon – 3 tablespoons (approx.)
- Lemon essential oil – 5 to 10 drops (optional)
First mix in the baking soda and water before adding the other ingredients mentioned above in the order that they are listed. Stir until the fizzing stops and wait for about 2 to 5 minutes before stirring again. Store it in a spray bottle once the fizzing stops completely.
Spray this solution into your cloth and wipe the interior walls one last time. Make sure to give the bottle a gentle swirl before you use it.
To finish it off, wipe the area surrounding it before putting the vents back in place. And voila! New and clean air ducts!
Somethings to keep in mind:
- This method can be adopted for cleaning cold air returns also.
- It should be enough to deep clean your air ducts using this method every six months or so. You may also clean them every month by lightly vacuuming the dust after removing the vent registers.
- It might make your life a lot easier to install filters for your vent registers if you have pets that shed a lot or a possibility of having your kids drop small things down the ducts.
- Remember to change the HVAC’s air filter when you clean your air ducts.