How do I clean my airducts?

A large amount of dirt can accumulate in ventilation ducts over the years. It is therefore a good idea to clean the ductwork from time to time.

Regular cleaning of air ducts is advisable for several reasons (see article: "Why should I clean my airducts?"). If you have decided to clean your ductwork, you can either get a professional to help you or do the cleaning yourself. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, professional cleaning costs on average $450 - $1,000 and takes about 3-5 hours. The actual cost depends on several factors, such as the size of the ventilation system, the degree of pollution and the material of the ventilation system.

An inspection camera like the Wohler VIS 350 helps to estimate the amount of work required and detects any contamination thanks to the pan and tilt camera head.
The Wohler rotary viper M10 is operated with a standard cordless screwdriver and ensures easy and quick cleaning.
Cleaning by hand is also possible and requires no further accessories. The advantage is that very long lines can be cleaned in one single step. Here in this image: the Wohler Viper M.
The compressed air whip and the helicopter nozzle from Wohler remove dirt with ease. With the help of the DH 420 Pneumatic Viper the operation is simple and convenient.
CO2 measuring devices like the Wohler CDL 210 help to assess the quality of indoor air. They can also help to prevent excessive aerosol concentrations in the air. Aerosols transmit diseases such as the corona virus.

If you decide to do the cleaning yourself, you will find below basic information on how to do it best:

Before cleaning:

At the beginning of every cleaning process is the pre-inspection. This can be done with the naked eye, but technical support through a mirror or an endoscope/camera is advisable, as the results of the cleaning can be judged much better. If the inspection is not carried out, one cannot be sure that all dirty areas have been cleaned. In some cases it can be recognized already by the smell or a loss of the heating or cooling capacity of the system that a cleaning of the ventilation system is necessary. After the inspection and before starting the cleaning, it should be ensured that the dissolved dirt particles are not simply blown into the house, but are removed by a vacuum system such as an industrial vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning methods:

How the cleaning is carried out can be decided on the basis of visual inspection. This also depends on the material and the size of the ventilation system. The following cleaning methods are available:

Brush cleaning:
Brush cleaning is particularly suitable for round or oval air ducts and for lightly stuck dust. The ventilation system can be cleaned quickly and easily using a rotary brush connected to a cordless screwdriver. The rotary brushes are available in different sizes and lengths, so that the right solution can be found for every ventilation system. The advantage here is that no additional compressor is necessary. In addition, a rotary brush has the advantage that it can be used immediately in its entire length, does not have to be assembled and therefore no part can get lost in the ventilation system. It can be used both left and right rotating and does not bend permanently like a rod system that is plugged together. 

For very long air ducts, a viper with a cleaning head can also be used, which is inserted into the duct by hand. This viper consists of a glass fibre plastic rod and a mounted threaded brush head, which is unrolled from the reel and inserted into the duct.

Brush cleaning is the most cost-effective alternative for cleaning air ducts, as only a few tools are required. As no compressor is needed, it is also a very fast and mobile solution. However, it is only suitable for round / oval air ducts and light soiling.

Compressed air cleaning:
The method used by most professional ventilation cleaners is compressed air cleaning. It removes even heavier soiling and can be used in all common ventilation designs, depending on the accessories. Compressed air cleaning uses a compressed air hose that is inserted into the air duct, which removes the dirt from the air duct using compressed air. For round pipes the use of a helicopter nozzle is recommended. This nozzle is additionally set in rotation by the compressed air and blows and at the same time knocks the dirt off the walls. 

It is available in forward and backward rotating models, whereby the backward rotating model has the advantage that the compressed air hose moves forward independently driven by the compressed air.

For large, angular air vents, a compressed air whip with roller guide ball should be used. The whip knocks the dirt off the walls and can be guided through the pipe with the help of the roller guide ball.

Both versions can be extended with the help of an extension hose reel. This is especially useful if the air line is very long and offers only few access points for cleaning work.

Vacuum cleaning:
With this method, the ventilation system is cleaned one section at a time while the dust is simultaneously sucked off. A so-called dust trap is used here, a very powerful industrial vacuum cleaner that creates a vacuum in the ventilation system. This way the dust released during the cleaning process is sucked up directly and cannot get stuck anywhere or enter other rooms. Before cleaning, all unused openings and all air outlets (diffusers) are sealed so that the negative pressure is at its maximum.


After cleaning is complete, a visual inspection should be carried out again to ensure that all dust accumulations have been removed, even in places that are not easily accessible. The result should also be documented using a storage medium (USB, SD card) if the cleaning is performed for a customer. This way the before and after effect becomes visible and one can be sure that the money for cleaning or cleaning tools has been well invested.


A well-cleaned ventilation system saves costs and is beneficial to your health, as it ensures a comfortable and hygienic indoor climate. Contaminated ventilation systems cannot guarantee this, so regular ventilation cleaning is advisable. Whether you do this cleaning yourself or prefer to have it done is entirely up to you. We are, of course, happy to advise you and help you choose the right cleaning method and the right cleaning tools.

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