Asked on May 09, 2015

Vintage fan- saved or ruined?

by Rachal
I recently picked up an old vintage fan (very deco, maybe 1940's?) for a few bucks. It is incredibly grimy, covered in grease, dust, and probably other substances I'll never know. My husband wants to put it in our booth for sale, as-is. He believes that cleaning it in any way would ruin the value, like it might for an old piece of furniture. I think it would increase in value if we were to clean it. Not strip it, mind you, but just clean off the gunk so the original metal and color can show through. I have googled and searched but cannot find any definitive answer about whether or not it is okay to clean an old metal fan. Anyone out there know for sure?
q upcycling a vintage fan, cleaning tips, repurposing upcycling
q upcycling a vintage fan, cleaning tips, repurposing upcycling
q upcycling a vintage fan, cleaning tips, repurposing upcycling
q upcycling a vintage fan, cleaning tips, repurposing upcycling
  8 answers
  • Becky D Becky D on May 10, 2015
    Personally I would wipe it down with warm soapy water and get the dirt off. Most people buy them for vintage displays I would think. I have 2 and I cleaned mine as they were dusty mostly. Both work but being that old I am iffy about using them due to the old wiring. You could try it his way though and see what happens.. if it sits too long then clean it and then watch it sell.

  • Trudy Trudy on May 10, 2015
    I would absolutely clean it. As a shopper for vintage things I never want to buy something dirty. Be sure to dry it well so it doesn't rust. You might want to rub it with some penetrating oil to bring up the patina.

    • See 1 previous
    • JoAnn JoAnn on May 11, 2015
      @Trudy I am with you. Either that or don't expect to get a lot of money for it. I buy vintage items a lot. If it is real dirty I will not pay very much.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on May 10, 2015
    Clean it.

  • DORLIS DORLIS on May 10, 2015
    i have 2 old fans, an Emerson from early 1900 (used to be mounted on the wall in a factory) that is heavy, all brass and another one that my parents bought before i was born (am 74). I have cleaned both and would like to take the oldest one to Emerson for a redo on the cord, but that cost more than I have so will wait a bit for that. both work fine.

  • Melissa Melissa on May 12, 2015
    Clean it definately. But gently. Take care not to remove the finish.

  • BootzB BootzB on May 12, 2015
    Right! Carefully Clean it, who wants to pay for dirt? They will try to get you to reduce the price if it is dirty.. (share that with hubs)

  • Lisa Cuddy Lisa Cuddy on May 12, 2015
    Absolutely clean it! If I were looking to buy an old fan I would be more inclined to buy a clean one rather than a dirty one. I have an old fan that I bought at an estate sale for about $15 (I think, maybe less). it still works but should have a new cord.I am hesitant to replace it but it should be changed to be safe. At any rate, it is pretty clean and I might not have bought it if it weren't

  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on May 13, 2015
    I would clean the grime & grease off of it but leave the old paint etc.... If you plan to sell it cleaning it only leaves the options open to the buyer as to whether they want to keep it rustic looking or paint it. Personally I would keep it myself! :)