Monday, November 17, 2014

I have been on this Earth for 36 years and had no clue how to clean these...until now.

Twice a year a local heating and cooling specialist comes to the house and services either the furnace or the AC unit.  When he was here, we were chatting and I mentioned that I needed to change the filter.

He said "No. It just looks like it, but that is the cover. You can just take it off and wash it. The filter is fine." 

Imagine me saying in slow motion "Whaaaaaat?"  Then he took off the metal cover and HANDED IT TO ME.  Did you know that you could do that?  Those grate covers come off EASILY. (And yeah, it seemed a bit harsh when he said that, but these things are NASTY)

The previous homeowners were smokers and the downstairs had a layer of "funk" on things.  The windows were covered in a thin layer of soot when we moved in.  I think they fried a lot because the cabinets were sticky.  Just icky gross things I have had to scrub down. The downstairs grate cover was much nastier than the upstairs ones, but I figured there was nothing to be done about it really until he handed it to me.

Now, you might be thinking, "Sarah.  Mine are on hinges. They don't come off." THEY DO.  Unhook it so it hangs down, then SLIDE it back.  Just trust me. Well, mine did. Of course I don't know your house, but it is worth a check!

Ok. This part is embarrassing. NO JUDGEMENT!!

Here it is before I cleaned it. I actually think this is the upstairs one.  It looks too clean to be the downstairs grate. See the hooks on the right?  That is where they slide off.

The AC man told me I could take it into the shower and clean it off super fast.  First,I didn't want to hop in the shower while he was there and I wanted to clean it that instant.

Second, I didn't really want to stand in the gunk. (We have a standup shower in the master bath and in the kids bathroom it has a sliding door.  It would be awkward not to get in there)

Third, it was cold outside. I couldn't take it out there and use the hose.

So, off to the sink I went.  Here is the before and during shot. BLARG.

That brown is STICKY. I think it is smoke buildup.  Every time I vacuum, I vacuum off the grates.  This is NOT dust. It is totally gross. I can't believe I just posted that picture.

I just used normal dish soap and a scrub brush. (Since thrown away)  IKEA has dish brushes for less than $1 that I am addicted to. Every time I head there,I buy a hand full.  

So, I scrubbed and scrubbed. Then I put them out back to dry in the sun, and Eric placed them back up.

IT LOOKS SO GOOD. There are a few stained spots, but pretty much they look amazing!(minus that one bent grate)
It is a bit tricky taking a picture of the vent in place. Tiny hallway + bad lighting = lame pictures.

If you have family or friends planning a visit soon for the holidays and yours are embarrassing like mine, take a minute and see if yours come off as well!

Did I just change your life?


  1. OMG I had no idea! Ours are gross too! I'm totally going to clean these (maybe not today, but I will! I promise, lol).

    1. I will inspect your house next time I come down! ;)

  2. I didn't think it was that easy to remove them as well. So normally I just take a broom and hold up and sweep all the dust away. But now I am going to take it down :)

  3. That is gross. Ours are nasty with dust. I bet all the sticky was tar. My dad just bought a house from a smoker. He said it was nasty. Glad you figured out how to wash them!!

    1. You and me both! It is so gross the stuff that accumulates from smoking.