How to Clean Air Vent Grills

Square, white, dirty air conditioning vent - register

When you want clean air, you may or may not have noticed that your air vent grills get dirty and stay dirty. For some reason, dirt and dust like to stick to the grills and then add more over time. This can make for an embarrassing situation when your family or guests visits and you forgot to clean the grills.

Cleaning regularly will help stop the dust and dirt build-up and avoid any embarrassing moments when your mother-in-law does her white glove test. Do get your air vent grills clean, just continue reading our article to know more about how to clean air vent grills.

How to Clean Air Vent Grills

White floor board register vent for an air conditioner in a base board

The process is simple, and it is not hard to get done. It just takes a little time and a little elbow grease, and your air vent grills will look good as new again.

Step 1 – Get Your Supplies

A screwdriver is the most important tool and probably the only tool you will need. If you can’t reach those grills near your ceiling, then grab a step ladder to help you.

Step 2 – Mix Your Cleaning Solution

Soap and water can handle the task so get your sink filled with a combination of both and have it ready for when you are about to clean.

Step 3 – Remove the Covers

Air vent removed from its hole in the floor and laying sideways across the hole

Do them all at the same time. That way you won’t forget and you can save time by washing them together. Make sure to keep the screws in a jar so you do not lose them. Be firm yet gentle when pulling the covers off.

Step 4 – Do Some Spot Cleaning

The air vent covers will not be the only place that gets dirty. Take some time to wipe down the ducts near the openings and get that dust and dirt away from your filter.

Step 5 – Soak Your Air Filter Covers

If you have a second sink in your kitchen, fill it with hot water and soak the grills in that for a few minutes before moving the grills to the soap and water mixture.

Step 6 – Wash the Grills

Blue bowl with a rag and an air vent in it to be washed.

Once the soaking is done, move the grills to the sink with the soap and water mixture. You really do not need anything stronger unless there are some stains on the grill that soap can’t get off.

Depending on the material the grills are made with, use a soft bristle brush to scrub them. Soft cloths and sponges will also do a good job of wiping the dirt away.

Step 7 – Air Dry the Grills

Just let the grills sit there in your dish rack until they are dry. This is the best way to get the moisture off. But if you are in a hurry, you can towel dry them

Step 8 – Replace the Grills

After everything is done, get the screws and put the grills back in place.

What to Use and What Not to Use

Woman holding a bucket full of cleaning supplies

What to Use:

There are a couple of extra tools or supplies you can use to help clean and keep those grills nice and clean. The first would be your vacuum cleaner. The powerful suction can remove loose dirt and dust making the washing stage go a lot faster.

It also has a long reach so you can clean further inside the ducts and capture a majority of the dirt. The second item you can use is a good degreaser. This cleaning agent is perfect for those rooms, like the kitchen, that see a lot of greases.

What Not to Use:

Bleach and commercial cleansers may be good at sterilizing the air vent grills but you do not need to use them. You do not have to put up with their harsh odors or toxic ingredients.

The hot water will do the sterilizing for you, and it should loosen up those stubborn stains so that they will wipe off quickly. Hot water will also loosen up and melt any grease on the air vent grills if you do not have a degreaser to use.


Do not wait until the last minute to clean your air vent grills. That step will have you hurrying and you will most likely miss some spots. Just add grill cleaning in with your regular cleaning duties and take care of them at the same time you clean everything else.

That way you never have to worry if they are clean or not.

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