How to Clean Your Return Air Vent

While you're Spring cleaning why not check your return air vent to make sure its not hiding lots of dust bunnies like ours was! Oh and while you're at it, why not give your vent cover itself a nice new coat of paint? Visit our blog to see what I did step by step to make ours look new again.
This is the after. After I totally cleaned everything. The vent, the wall and the actual return space from all dust and dirt.
This is the Before. Before all the dust bunnies moved out!
NOT a pretty site is it? NO! Are you going to check yours yet?
I simply used our shop vac to clean all the yuckiness away. After that I used a Clorox wipe to clean the wall where the vent rested and collect a really fine dust.
Aaaah! There we go, much better now! Dust bunnies all moved out!
I used some primer and white gloss paint to freshen the vent after I cleaned it.
The paint was a little chippy after cleaning it with the wrong cleaner. You can visit our blog to see what NOT to use! A little of the paint combo above fixed that though.
We now have a nice new looking return air vent in the hall way!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Ans10803042
    on Sep 16, 2017

    Wait!? You use filters in your return air ducts and the floor ones too? I only filter the a/c heat pump unit. No wonder my house is dusty.
    • Joanne Bilodeau
      on Mar 10, 2020

      I've tried filters on the returns and it does lessen the air flow substantially. Not a fan.

  • Rio4517398
    on Jan 10, 2018

    Can you use a filter in it
  • Judy
    on Apr 15, 2019

    Should there be a filter on both the clean air and the return?

    • DeeDee
      on Apr 16, 2019

      Hi Judy! You will need to check with your A/C man to see what is required for your system. Our returns do not need filters per our A/C man. :)

Join the conversation

4 of 65 comments
  • Jamie Mabe James
    on Jun 13, 2019

    A heat hump has the most dust sucking through your house so yes put a filter on the return and also clean regularly on the inside because there is a lot of dirt dander dust that is sucked back in the unit.

  • Libuse Harris-Brown
    on Nov 29, 2019

    I staple window screen on the opening. I have German Shepherds and we talk hair. Before I did that the hair got in the unit in the closet. We talk $$$ to clean it. Everything is clean behind the screen. Clean it on regular basis. Sorry the mess, replacing floors.

    • DeeDee
      on Nov 29, 2019

      Hi there! That's a great idea, thank you!

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