How to Clean Vents and Ducts in 8 Steps

Cleaning vents and ducts in your house and doing it regularly provides numerous benefits. There are dust and dirt trapped within your home's HVAC system, and they pose a great hazard to your health. Aside from eliminating the health hazards that are associated with dirt, dust, and other elements, a thorough cleaning session of your vents and ducts will ensure that you will be able to enjoy a much cleaner air within your space. With clean ducts, your heating and air conditioning system will also last longer.

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Save Money While Heating Your Home

Regular cleaning can save you money
Clean out your ducts and vents. Source: DIYnetwork

In the last years, homeowners have been more inclined to do their own household projects so it's really tempting to also clean your vents and ducts by yourself. Enlisting an expert cleaner is definitely a viable option but DIY cleaning will help you save money. There are limitations, however, and that is the lack of materials and tools. Nevertheless, we have made a guide for you so you know the proper way of cleaning your vents and ducts.

Acquiring the Right Tools and Equipment

It may seem like it is, but cleaning vents and ducts is not that simple, especially if you don't have the essential tools to get the job done accordingly.

You'll have to set aside a couple of bucks for the right materials. The tools that are needed are relatively common and affordable. If you're having trouble in purchasing any of the cleaning tools, then we suggest you borrow or rent from your neighbors.

The tools that you need are the following:

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum out the old vents to improve air quality
Care for your HVAC unit. Source: Buildapedia


The conventional type will be enough for the job. Just make sure that the hose is of decent length so you'll be able to reach the tight corners. If you have extra money, however, consider buying the heavy-duty one as it will give you optimum results.


A typical brush that has a long handle would be ideal for the cleaning process. For the best results, get a dust brush that has stiff bristles.


It's common to find vents and ducts that are fastened with screws or any other fastening detail. You'll need the standard screwdriver so you can unfasten the ducts for the cleaning.

Paper Towels or Cleaning Cloths

Paper towels and cleaning cloths are needed when it’s time for you to wipe and dust the areas that surround your vents and ducts. You'll also need them in covering supply registers as you clean the others.

Furnace Filter

Clogging can take a toll on your furnace’s filter, therefore, you need to get a replacement and replace the filter once you're done cleaning. Make sure that you get a furnace filter that's compatible with your HVAC system.

Steps to Clean Vents and Ducts

Vents are commonly underrated in therms of energy savings
Be sure to clean the vents! Source: Bobvila

Step 1: Cover the Supply Registers

Cover supply registers with your microfiber cloths or paper towels. The ducts will undergo a cleaning process, and it's only logical for you to prevent dust from reaching other areas in your home.

Step 2: Switch the Fan On

Turning the fan on will loosen the dust that's in the system and ensure that it's moving. The heat supply, of course, must be switched off.

Step 3: Clean the Supply Registers

The entire HVAC system can use cleaning
Scrub the dust away. Source: Today

Now that dirt and dust have accumulated on the supply registers, you have to clean them as well. Use a vacuum cleaner or brush to clean the supply registers.

Step 4: Clean the Return Air Registers

Unscrew your return air registers. Then, sweep off the dust and dirt that have accumulated inside. Again, you'll need your brush to access the deep areas within the cavity.

Step 5: Switch the Power that Connected to your System

After leaving your fan running for 3 to 5 minutes, switch off the power that’s connected to the system so you can proceed with cleaning.

Step 6: Vacuum Clean your Air Ducts

Vacuum out the filters to allow both them and the system to live longer
Clean out the filters. Source: Consumer Electronic

After you unscrew your air duct covers, vacuum clean the air ducts and reach the deepest spots and corners. Make sure that you leave no spot untouched.

Step 7: Clean the Blower Compartment

You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and debris that are in the blower compartment. Be careful when you do this so you don't damage your furnace fan.

Last Step: Replace the Furnace Filter

This step is self-explanatory. If you don't know how to replace your furnace filter, consider calling an expert. Once the filter is replaced, congratulations because you're done with the cleaning process!

Don’t want to try to DIY? Request a free quote to get professional duct and vent cleaning!

Related: 10 Tips for Dependable, Comfortable Winter Heating

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