Why do ceiling fans get dusty?

Casablanca_Delta_ceiling_fan

One thing that regularly needs cleaning is your ceiling fan. You would imagine that something that keeps spinning for most part of the day would be able to throw off any dust it accumulates, but no! Ceiling fans get dusty, very quickly and may look downright ugly if left unkempt for long. But why does all that dust accumulate?

Dust is a general phenomenon in our houses. It’s everywhere, and we contribute in its creation too! A significant part of dust is human skin. Thousands of human skin flakes fall off our bodies every minute. But let’s come back to the ceiling fan. The rotary action of the fan blades generates a downward spiral of wind, spreading dust throughout the room. Some of the dust settles on top of the ceiling fan, and doesn’t budge from there. Above the fan, all is calm. The dust particles cling on to the surface of the fan, through intermolecular attractions. Hence, despite the rotating action of the blades, there is just enough adherence to keep the dust particles there.

Dust particles also carry charge, and will attract others of their kinds. This phenomenon is easily observed on the edges of the fan blades, where the dust layer is thickest. As the blades move through the ‘dusty’ atmosphere, the dust particles cling onto them. Over time, they attract more of the same, and a layer develops. Along the length on the underside of the fan, the dust layer will decrease as the surface does not interact head on with the dust.

It is the intermolecular forces between the fan and the dust particles and the electrical charge between the dust particles, which keeps a ceiling fan dirty. Both these occurrences are natural phenomena, and there is hardly anything that could be done about them. Except to clean regularly!

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