Duct Cleaning Not in the Budget Right Now? Do It Yourself With These Instructions

If you've noticed the dirt building up around your heater vents, you probably know that your ducts need cleaning. However, if that isn't in your budget right now, you're probably thinking that those ducts will have to stay dirty for a little longer. Unfortunately, dirty air ducts can lead to poor airflow through your home. They can also make your home less energy efficient, which can lead to higher energy bills. Luckily, you don't have to wait until you can afford professional cleaning. Here are some step-by-step instructions for cleaning your own ducts.

Clean the Filter Compartment

The first thing you need to do is locate the filter compartment. Depending on your home, it's either on the ceiling or on a wall near the floor. Open the door and remove the air filter. Use your vacuum to clean out the duct that runs up to your furnace.

Next, you're going to wash the filter compartment door and housing.

  1. Gather warm water, dish detergent, lemon juice, ammonia, and a new filter.
  2. Fill your bucket with warm water.
  3. Add about ¼ cup dish detergent and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  4. Use your sponge to wash the filter compartment door and surrounding frame.
  5. Allow to air dry.
  6. Place new filter in housing and close filter door.

Clean the Vent Covers

The vent covers in your home can get dirty and greasy. The dirt that's caked on them can send allergens through your home when your heater or air conditioner is on. Here's an easy way to get them clean.

  1. Gather hot water, ½ cup ammonia, ¼ cup lemon juice, and a scrub brush.
  2. Fill your sink with hot water.
  3. Add the ammonia and lemon juice to the water.
  4. Remove the vent covers from each room and place them in your sink.
  5. Allow the vent covers to soak for about 30 minutes.
  6. Use your scrub brush to clean each cover and leave them to air dry.

Clean the Ducts

While the vent covers are soaking, you can clean out each of the ducts. The filter on your furnace keeps most of the dirt and debris out of your ducts. However, some dirt and dust will still get through. Things like insect droppings and rodent dander can also collect in your vents. There are a couple of simple ways you can clean your ducts.


If your vacuum has an adjustable hose, you can use it to vacuum out the inside of your ducts. Insert the hose into your duct and reach back as far as it will go. Be sure to move the hose along each side of the duct. This will ensure that you get all the dirt and debris that has collected inside the ducts.

Magnetic Duster

If your vacuum doesn't have an adjustable hose, you can use a magnetic duster with an adjustable pole. Spray the duster with a mild household cleaner and then insert it into your ducts. The magnetic duster will collect all the dust and debris that it comes in contact with. When the duster gets too dirty, simply rinse it off in the sink and continue cleaning.

For more tips or assistance, consult resources such as Crystal Coast Heating & Air LLC.