Cleaning a Window Air Conditioner

Clean Window Ac Summer is here, bringing with it longer days and increased temperatures. Before the hot weather hits its heyday, it’s a good idea to be prepared by cleaning and maintaining your window air conditioners.

Good news! You can beat the heat with minimal time and tools using the following DIY methods. Take a look at the following tips and learn how to clean a window air conditioner.

*Note: You should always unplug your window AC before cleaning it.

Cleaning a Window Air Conditioner After Storage

When you unpack your AC from the attic or basement, it’s likely covered in dust and cobwebs. Naturally, you don’t want that debris to blow all over your house, so go head and clean the outside of your window AC. You can use a microfiber cloth and some water to get all the grime off the outside. Pop the front grill off and wipe that down, too.

Tip: Keep your window AC unit cleaner next winter by covering it with a sheet of plastic or tarp before storing it.

After you’ve taken care of the outside, move on to the below instructions on how to clean a window air conditioner filter, coils and coil fins.

How to Clean Window AC Unit Filters

Your window ACs do a lot of work, especially in the brunt of summer. If you ever notice that your unit seems to be blasting out less of that sweet cool air than usual, it might be because you’ve forgotten to clean or — in the case of some units — replace your filter.

Your filter should be cleaned at least monthly and non-reusable filters will need to be replaced every two to three months. If you have allergies or live in an area with a lot of pollen, you may want to clean or replace your filter a little more frequently.

Fortunately, cleaning window air conditioner filters is a breeze.

You’ll need:
  1. Slide the filter out and use the vacuum to remove any dust that’s built up.
  2. Combine warm water with dish soap in a clean laundry room sink.
  3. Clean the filter, using the sponge to remove any tough dust bunny clingers.
  4. Run the filter under the tap until the water is clear. You want to make sure you wash all the soap out.
  5. Lay the filter on the towel to dry. Once it has dried completely, return it to your air conditioner.

Cleaning Window Air Conditioner Coils and Coil Fins

Coils and coil fins need love, too! Most window units have two sets of coils. The evaporator coils are located underneath the filter, while the condenser coils are located at the back of the air conditioner. (Consult your manufacturer’s guide or look your model up online if you can’t find them.) You can clean both sets of coils the same way.

You’ll need:
  1. Vacuum the coils with the brush attachment to remove as much dirt and dust as you can.
  2. Use the toothbrush to remove any stubborn bits of debris.


Wondering what coil fins are? They’re the metal sheets that are layered along the back of your unit. They’re very delicate and easily bent, which can impact airflow. Do yourself a favor and invest in a fin comb. This is an inexpensive tool that can straighten out bent coil fins to keep that icy air cranking through your home. You can buy them at almost any hardware store.

As you can see, there’s not much to learning how to clean a window air conditioner. All it takes is a little time and TLC to keep your home comfortable through the hotter months.

Worried the extra messes summer brings may make you lose your cool? Check out our summer cleaning checklist so you can survive the season. And don’t forget your local Merry Maids is always here to help when you’re feeling the heat of extra housework. Just give us a call!

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