DeeDee
DeeDee
  • Hometalker
  • Decatur, TX

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.
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
This is the after. After I totally cleaned everything. The vent, the wall and the actual return space from all dust and dirt.
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
This is the Before. Before all the dust bunnies moved out!
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
NOT a pretty site is it? NO! Are you going to check yours yet?
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
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.
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
Aaaah! There we go, much better now! Dust bunnies all moved out!
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
I used some primer and white gloss paint to freshen the vent after I cleaned it.
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
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.
how to clean your return air vent, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, how to, hvac
We now have a nice new looking return air vent in the hall way!
DeeDee

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

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Donna Wilson
    on Sep 29, 2016

    Could you tape some cheese cloth inside to help with the dust coming through . I have many allergies and dust is one . Cleaning the ducts throughout the house has mane things worse for me and it is a constant matter trying to keep the dust down inside my house ( Re air vents and heat registers )

    • Mol10701244
      on Mar 1, 2018

      My furnace began to quit working. Technician asked if I was using the high rated filters and I was as I also have allergies. He also said to remove those and use the cheapest filters available as the others do not allow the furnace to do it's job. No trouble with furnace since. Just change more frequently. I now buy the ones that can be washed out with hose etc.

  • 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.

    • Linda
      on Nov 28, 2017

      There are filters you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes for floor vents. I used them in Montana and they were wonderful

  • Rio4517398
    on Jan 10, 2018

    Can you use a filter in it

    • DeeDee
      on Jan 10, 2018

      Hi there! No, this is a return air vent and this design does not take a filter. We use a filter on the actual unit in the attic though.

Join the conversation

4 of 52 comments
  • Lnd30579752
    on Nov 12, 2017

    Thanks, I have done this before and it is a great idea!

  • John White
    on Apr 30, 2018

    You should follow the below given steps to clean your return air vents :


    • Before you start cleaning your return air vents you should make sure your AC is turned off.
    • Then use a vacuum to get rid of the dust and debris which is covered on your vent cover slats.
    • Remove the screws and the clips that holding the cover in place. Once the screws and clips are removed then gently pull of the cover off the walls.
    • Fill up your sink or tub with a solution of dish soap and hot water.
    • Immerse the vent cover in the soapy water and leave it to soak for about 20 minutes to loosen stubborn dust and grime.
    • Remove the cover from the water and scrub both sides with a damp cloth. Clean between the slats of the vent cover using a wet foam paint brush.
    • Rinse the vent cover thoroughly with clean water and then set it on a clean towel to dry.
    • Set your hairdryer on its cool setting and blow air into the joints and crevices of the vent cover to dry up any moisture that may have pooled in the slats. This helps to prevent rust from forming later.
    • Reinstall the vent cover when it is fully dry.


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