How To Clean Air Conditioner?

When air conditioners start to emit warm air from the vents into the room, it is often assumed that they running low on refrigerant. While this may be true in some cases, it is not usually the only reason. 

Sometimes, your AC unit is not producing cold air because the integral parts are clogged. This means that the air conditioning system requires cleaning. whether it is a split or window unit, they need to be cleaned in order for them to function properly

You can get a professional to clean your AC unit and this might cost you about 100 dollars or more. However, you can save your money and do the cleaning of your air conditioners yourself. You only need a few supplies and an hour of patience to clear out the dust and grime. 

To do this, go through the guidelines we have provided below:

Materials Needed To Clean Your Air Conditioner

Before you proceed, here are the cleaning materials and equipment materials you should prepare.

  1. Phillips screwdriver/ Allen wrench
  2. Fin comb
  3. Pair of gloves (preferably leather)
  4. AC unit rinse-free coil cleaner
  5. Motor oil
  6. Lint-free cloth or rags
  7. Liquid household detergent
  8. Vacuum Cleaner

Cleaning The Air Conditioner

Start With The Air Conditioner’s Filter

It is essential to clean the air filter on your air conditioning unit if you want to work the way it ought to. Oftentimes, the air conditioning filter is filled with grime and dust which cause restriction of airflow. And you should get this out before summer when the heat becomes unbearable.

Before you start cleaning, ensure that you have cut off the power supply to your AC unit. The next step is to remove the plastic filter holder. The removal depends largely on the kind of air conditioner you are using. 

Most times, the plastic filter holder will simply snap off. However, some air conditioners’ covers have case screws holding them in place as you have in a window unit air conditioner. 

This means you will have to unscrew them. Also, take note of the holes where each screw goes into. You should ensure that you clean the cover. If you notice any rust, apply vinegar to a rag or cloth and wipe it down.

After removing the cover, bring out the air conditioner’s filter. Here, you have to ascertain if the air conditioning filter is the disposable or washable type. If you have a disposable air filter, this means it needs to be changed if it is no longer functioning effectively. 

However, if you have a washable air filter, use a shop vacuum set at low to remove every dust on the air filter. Make sure to do this carefully and gently to prevent causing damage to the filter. The next step is to soak the air filter for ten to fifteen minutes in a container filled with water and detergent. Remove it and hose both sides of the filter with clean water. After this, leave the air filter out to dry.

Clean The Air Conditioner Condenser Unit

The condenser and every part attached to it is called the condenser unit. The condenser is in charge of heat exchange and transfer within the air conditioner. A dirty condenser can cause irreversible damage to your air conditioner or cause one that is really expensive to fix.

Start With Cleaning Air Conditioner’s Condenser Coils And Fins

Since you have removed the cover, you will find it easy to get at the air conditioner condenser coils and fins. But first, you need to extract the fan grill. To do this, simply unscrew the screws holding it in place with a screwdriver. Once this is done, you will be able to remove the fan cage. Use a gloved hand or vacuum cleaner to remove the accumulated dirt from its interior.

To clean the condenser fins, ensure your vacuum is plugged in. Make sure that the vacuum soft dusting brush is attached to the vacuum cleaner hose. With the vacuum cleaner set at low, proceed to use it to gently suck out every dirt and grime from the fins. Here, caution is advised in order to prevent the fins from bending. 

However, if the condenser fins end up bending, the situation can be reversed. With the use of a fin comb, you can straighten every bent fin. This comb features prongs on its edge which makes it easy to adjust bent fins easily. This is done by matching the right end of the fin comb to the spacing on the fit. After that, insert the comb and readjust the fins. It is advisable to have a pair of leather gloves to prevent cuts and scrapes. 

After this, apply coil cleaner to the fins, and let it stay for about ten minutes. Then hose the fins down with water to get rid of the coil cleaner and any accompanying dirt.

Clean The Surrounding Of The Condenser Unit

If you are using a window unit, then your ac will be mounted on the window and this is not your problem. You only need to arm yourself with hydrogen peroxide and spray the unit.

However, if you are using a split ac unit, your condenser unit is bound to be outside. Hence, why you will need to clear the area. After you are done cleaning the fins and have reattached the fan grill, clear the leaves and debris surrounding your condenser unit to prevent them from clogging it up again.

Ensure That The Condenser Unit Is Balanced

After a long while of being used, the condenser unit can start shifting or tip to one side. If this is left alone, the compressor might stop working altogether. So, while cleaning your condenser unit, you should check how it is sitting. If it is lopsided, you have to make sure it is on a balanced level. You can place a leveled concrete air conditioner pad beneath it.

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Cleaning The Evaporator Coils

Evaporator coils start the process of air cooling in your air conditioning system by extracting hot air from the room with the aid of the refrigerant present in its coils. If the coils are maintained properly, it can cause a reduction in the transfer of heat, ice buildup on the coil, and other malfunctions in the conditioning system. 

The evaporator coils can be cleaned using any of the following methods based on the degree of accumulated dirt. 

Clean The Evaporator Coils With Compressed/ High-pressure Air

The first thing to do is to identify the coil door. It is often found in the interior part of the blower unit. If you are dealing with less grime and dirt, then this is an easy way to clean the air conditioner evaporator coils. 

Focus the compressed air from the air gun nozzle toward the dirty part of the evaporator coil from the clean side. If the dirt is not coming off easily, position the nozzle on the lower side. Ensure that the airflow from the air gun nozzle is consistent across the surface of the evaporator coils to get rid of stubborn buildups. Make sure to use an appropriate gear for your eyes to prevent dirt or dust from getting into them. 

Cleaning The Evaporator Coils With A Brush And Coil Cleaner

If you are dealing with little dirt on your air conditioning evaporator coil, using a soft-bristled dusting brush is the way to go. Also, it ensures that too much pressure is not applied to the fins. This may end up bending them. 

Start by brushing dirt from the coils gently. If you notice more obstinate grime, scrub a little harder. After this, spray the evaporator coils with a coil cleaner. Make sure to buy a coil cleanser that does not need to be washed away with water. Leave the coil cleaner until it starts to foam. Once the coil cleaner foams up, it will drip down to the drain pan. Repeat the process until the evaporator coils are clean.

Cleaning The Evaporator Coils With Household Detergent

If you don’t have a coil cleaner, simply make use of regular household detergent. Using a medium-sized spray bottle, create a mixture of water and detergent. Apply the mixture to the coils and let it sit in for a few minutes. This will soften the dirt and make it easier to clean. Simply use a rag or soft-bristled brush to clean off the dirt. You can repeat the process until you are satisfied.

However, if you realize that the dirt in your evaporator coils is not something you can handle. You can enlist the help of a professional for the technical cleaning aspect.

Lastly, if you are using a coil cleaner or a water and detergent mixture, it is bound to drip down to the drain pan. After you have thoroughly cleaned your evaporator coils, make sure you clean the drain pan. Pour a mixture of water and bleach down the drain tubes for proper cleaning.

Clean The Air Conditioner Blower Unit

As mentioned earlier, ensure that you have disconnected the air conditioner from its power source to prevent electrical shocks. Proceed to take apart the blower. Ensure that you take note of how it is assembled. 

Once you have disassembled the blower, start with the blades of the blower fan. Dust away all the accumulated dust on each blade. For stubborn dirt and grime, prepare a mix of bleach and water. Use the solution with a soft-bristled brush to clean each blade.

Proceed to clean dust from the remaining parts of the blower unit with a soft rag. Make sure to clean the blower filters as they are prone to gathering a huge amount of dust. If your blower filters are disposable, simply replace them. If they can be reused, wipe them clean.

As soon as the blades of the blower fan become dry, reattach every single screw that has been removed. Also, even if your blower filters can be reused, it is important to renew them more than once every year. Renewal of blower filters once every six months is recommended.

Cleaning the blower unit is the final step in cleaning your air conditioner. After this, simply connect the air conditioner back to its power source and enjoy the cool air.

How To Ensure The Proper Maintenance Of An Air Conditioner?
  • The first one is quite obvious. Make sure you clean your air conditioning unit.
  • Always replace the filters. These include the air and blower filter. You can change the air filter once every 3 months and the blower filter can be changed once every 6 months. This ensures top-notch performance.
  • Make sure to always unclog your drain tubes. Oftentimes, the drain is ignored and this can lead to irreversible damage to your air conditioning unit. It can also damage the walls of your house too.
  • Ensure that you arrange or a technician to check the air conditioner twice or thrice every year. Properties like the refrigerant need to absorb hot air in the evaporator coils can diminish over time. Don’t wait until your air conditioner stops extracting warm air before you arrange for tune-ups.
  • Pay proper attention to the air filter. This goes beyond cleaning it to ensure better air circulation. The cleaning process also ensures that allergens and dust mites that might prove hazardous to your health will be removed.
  • Make sure the AC unit vent is not overcrowded with things like books, flower vases. Overcrowding can hinder the proper circulation of air.


If your AC unit has been collecting dust and debris all year long, it is time to clean it. You only have to follow the highlighted steps above.

It goes without saying that the air conditioning unit will always work better once you have unclogged whatever has been blocking its compressor, cooling fins, and condenser unit. Not only that, keeping your air conditioner clean will save you the extra cost that will be spent on replacements if it goes back. It will also ensure that the unit lasts longer.

If you want a visual guide on how to go about this, please click on the link below.

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