This post updated: Aug 17, 2016 @ 2:46 pm 2 Simple steps to making gross air vents look new again

When you live in an old house, certain things just look old, and with time and busy schedules they don’t get cleaned, replaced, or even noticed. The vents in the back part of the house at Hawk Hill fell into this category. Rusty, corroded, and I’m afraid to admit what that white cobweb type stuff might contain – one evening I looked down and noticed how rough these vents looked and I decided to remedy them. Not true, I noticed, then I googled what it cost to replace vents, and THEN decided to make an attempt to save some money and clean them up!

Thankfully, the entire entire project took maybe 10 minutes of hands on work for each vent- maybe less! A bit more time was involved in waiting for the vets to dry after washing and again for the pain to dry- so it’s not a project to take on a half hour before your mother in law is due for a visit!

Step 1. Notice your vents! Yikes! Ewww! Gag!


Step 2. The dishwasher does a fantastic job of jetting the gunk out of every nook.

I ran my vents through the dishwasher, (it’s good to do a load of “gross stuff” sometimes- I toss in the dog’s bowls, tools, and sometimes even a planter or two) to get the gunk off.

After the vent was clean, I realized how rusty the vent was, and that the texture of the rust was collecting dust particles which, combined with summer air conditioning moisture, created more rust and general gunk. So I scrubbed off rust and corrosion with a steel brush, (if you are dealing with a lot of rust, check out my no-scrub rust remedy that works really well) then ran I ran them through the dishwasher a second time to remove the loose particles of rust left after scrubbing, and then let the vents dry completely completely overnight.
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If you don’t have a steel brush get one- they are fab! Don’t look in the grill section, grill brushes are the same basic product for 4x the price, simple effective cheap steel brushes can be found in the paint scraping tool section of your hardware store.

Step 3. Outside for Painting.

Outdoors on a still day, working with a half-broken-down cardboard box to protect my driveway and contain over-spray, I did many light coats from many angles. Lots of angles helped ensure that paint covered every surface that might show when I walked past, over, or around the vent, and light coats helped prevent running in areas that got over-sprayed while I was trying to reach hidden spots.

And that’s it! COMPLETE makeover for only the price of 1/8th of a can of spray paint. I used Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze for a upscale take on basic spray paint finish.

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