During the winter months most fans do not get much use, even if they are used on the reverse winter mode, and so it is no surprised that the ceiling fans may be quite dusty. Apart from being generally messy, dust can often be a problem for people who suffer from asthma or allergies, and so it is best to clean a dusty ceiling fan before summer.
It is important not to attempt to clean a ceiling fan while it is on. Holding a duster or brush up against the blades as they turn may throw off the balance of the fan and could damage the blades. For safety, make sure the fan is always off and that no one will turn it on while it is being cleaned. If the fan is on a remote control, make sure the remote is with you so that no one will switch the fan off by accident.
It is sometimes a good idea to lay down a large cloth or sheet underneath the fan to collect the dust, especially if the fan is directly above a bed or furniture.
In most cases the dust can be easily removed with a duster, and soft brush or a nonabrasive cloth. An old trick to remove dust off of the fan blades mess free is by using an old pillow case. Simply slide the pillow case over the blade and use it to wipe the edge of the blade. The majority of the dust should then collect inside the pillow case making it easier to contain and dispose. Stainless steel fans may require more attention when cleaning, especially to keep them rust free, you can read more about cleaning a 316 stainless steel ceiling fan here.