Yes, it helps remove smells, but your bathroom exhaust fan has a much more important job: It keeps mold out of your bathroom. After each one of those steamy showers, your bathroom fills up with moisture. A quick post-shower flick of the exhaust fan switch will zap moisture from your bathroom.
Note: If your bathroom has an exterior window, you might not have a bathroom exhaust fan. If your bathroom doesn’t have an exhaust fan OR a window, it’s a good idea to contact a professional to assess the risk of mold in your bathroom. To learn more about mold testing and removal, read this guide by Angie's List.
Turn off all of the power to your bathroom. You can do this at your main panel. If you’re not familiar with your main panel, get to know this vital system now. Tip: If you’re just looking for a quick fix, blow your vent with canned air to remove visible dust. This won’t clean everything, but it’s better than doing nothing
Locate your bathroom exhaust fan. It’s typically going to be on your ceiling or high up on a wall. Using your screwdriver, loosen the screws holding the vent cover in place. Remove the cover carefully.
Locate the exhaust fan blade. If your unit has additional screws holding the fan in place, remove them now. If possible, you want to remove your fan blade because it’s easier to clean that way. Don’t misplace any of the screws – you’re going to need them to put the exhaust fan back together!
Clean the cover and the fan blade. To clean them, use mild soap and warm water. Carefully wipe away any dirt or debris so that it doesn’t circulate around your bathroom when the fan is on. Clean both sides of the blades and both sides of the vent cover. Let your items fully dry before you put them back into your wall or ceiling.
Inspect the vent. Take a quick look to assess where your vent is taking the moist air. It should either lead outside or to a part of the house that is close to an exterior vent (such as an attic ridge vent or a soffit vent). If your air is recirculating back into your bathroom or being sent to a place with poor ventilation, call a professional to assess the problem.