How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

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In the thick of a sweltering hot summer, those who are lucky enough to have air conditioning don’t have to endure the endless, sweaty, sticky days. Having an air conditioner in your home can be amazing, but when the time comes to clean it, it can become a nightmare.

Many don’t know how often it is required to clean an air conditioning unit, as it can accumulate a surprising amount of grime, dirt, and dust over time. Those who suffer from allergies should especially be mindful of how often they clean their air conditioner. Let’s take a look at how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it.

How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

Method 1: How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

You will need:

Oxygen bleach
A clean microfiber cloth
A bucket or sink filled with
Warm water
Dish soap
A vacuum
A soft scrubber brush or a sponge
Newspaper to lay down under the AC
A screwdriver, if needed to remove your air conditioner’s grille
Some tape, to keep track of removed screws
Protective gloves (for oxygen bleach)
Can of compressed air

Step 1

Switch off and unplug your air conditioner. Make sure there is absolutely no electricity passing through before you clean anything.

Step 2

In order to have access to the filter and anything else inside your air conditioner, remove the front grille. You may need a screwdriver if there are screws preventing you from unmounting the grille.

Tip: If you’re removing screws, make sure you’re placing them in a safe place. An easy way to keep track of screws is to tape them to a surface.

Step 3

Remove the filter. There are usually two types of air conditioner filters: reusable and disposable. If it is reusable, you’ll need to clean it.

Step 4

Mix a few table spoons of dish soap with warm water. Apply with a soft brush or a sponge and scrub, to get into the grooves of the filter. Be careful not to be too harsh or you could risk damaging it.

Step 5

Once you’ve scrubbed both sides of the filter, to lift up some of the grime and dust, leave your AC filter to soak in a sink of the same solution you used to scrub with. Leave for at least a few hours.

Step 6

Whilst the filter is soaking, vacuum the inside of your air conditioner to get rid of the bulk of the grime and dust that could have built up around the filter. Use compressed air to force dirt out of hard to reach places, if needed. You’ll be surprised at the amount of grime that flies out of unsuspecting areas!

Tip: Lay out some sheets of newspaper underneath your AC to catch any dust, grime or dirt that may fall down from it. This may save you an extra bit of cleaning when you’ve finished cleaning your AC.

Step 7

Dip a microfiber cloth into some warm water, and wipe away the remaining dirt inside the unit. Be careful not to touch anything that looks electrical, though the electrical parts of an air conditioner are usually placed to the back of it. If you can’t catch all the dirt, add some vinegar or even some oxygen bleach to the warm water and dip the cloth into the solution, then wipe.

Wear gloves if you’re using oxygen bleach. Although it is biodegradable, breaking down into oxygen and water, it’s an effective cleaning agent that is irritable while active.

Tip: One of the best ways of getting rid of mold, is to use lukewarm water and oxygen bleach combined. This will also prevent the future growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Step 8

Dry the inside of the air conditioner with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure everything is completely dry to prevent the growth of mold.

Step 9

Remove the filter from the sink full of water and soap, and leave it somewhere to dry. One of the most efficient ways to dry a filter is to prop it up on a clean towel, with air flowing around it and the towel absorbing the excess moisture.

Step 10

Once everything is thoroughly dry, place everything back into the air conditioner and screw the grille back on. If you had to use a screwdriver to take it down.

Method 2: How to Keep your Window Air Conditioner Clean

Though a deep clean of your window air conditioner is very important approximately once a year, or more frequently if you or your family suffers from allergies, especially to dust, you’ll need to perform regular cleans of your AC.

Step 1

Remove the filter and clean it every two or three weeks. Soak it in dish soap and water, then scrub the dirt, dust and grime off with a soft scrubber brush or a sponge. Add in a few tablespoons of detergent if especially dirty.

Tip: If you ever need to buy a new filter, look for HEPA-certified filters, which provide much better air quality in your home, especially for those with allergies.

Step 2

Don’t hesitate to get the help of professionals for a thorough deep clean of your air conditioner. You’ll find it works so much more efficiently when clean, and it is better for your health, as no one wants to be breathing in mold…

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vinegar kill mold in air conditioner?

Vinegar helps remove some types of mold. Use a higher concentration vinegar like cleaning vinegar or pickling vinegar to be more effective. Be careful with high concentration of acid because it can attack some materials, like metal and rubber if left over time, so rinse it thoroughly with fresh water.

Fill up a spray bottle with 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water and spray into your air conditioner. Be careful not to reach any electrical components, that are often not waterproof. Remember to unplug your air conditioner before you spray anything on it.

How do I get rid of the smell in my AC?

If your air conditioner allows, fit an activated carbon filter into the air outlet. This helps filter out odors. You can also get rid of odors by adding an air purifying unit into the room.

Fill up a spray bottle with ¼ of oxygen bleach and then fill the rest of the bottle up with clean, warm water. Unplug your air conditioner. Spray into the area where air blows out of the air conditioner. Wipe off excess liquid. Then, turn on the air conditioner to get it running.

How do I keep mold out of my air conditioner?

Turn on your AC’s humidity control setting if it has one. Make sure you turn it on often during the summer so it doesn’t get a chance to develop mold. Clean it regularly to keep it free of dirt and dust, and deep clean it periodically by using white vinegar spray into the blower.

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