How to Clean Window AC Units: A Step-By-Step Guide

With summer in full swing, it is time to bring your air conditioner out of hibernation once again. If you have been using the same window AC unit year after year, it is only a matter of time before you start to notice a decline in performance: no matter how high you set the power level, the machine just can not seem to cool a room like it used to. Or maybe you have been experiencing a “fishy” stench in the air.

how to clean window ac units

If you think that your air conditioner has simply “run its course,” and that the best thing to do is to cut your loss and buy a new one, consider one question first: when was the last time you cleaned it? Most mechanical devices require regular maintenance. Would you ever own or lease a car without changing the oil periodically? This step-by-step guide will answer your question: how to clean window AC units?

How Do You Clean a Window AC Unit?

If you have already considered cleaning your AC, but dismissed it on the grounds that it would be too difficult to do it yourself, and too expensive to have it done professionally, think again.   Cleaning your air conditioner is extremely easy and inexpensive. All you need is some dish soap, a spray bottle, and a watering hose. That’s it. Why? Because that is what you need to clean the filters & coils. That’s right: clean these components and your machine will work as good as new.

Cleaning your air conditioner is extremely easy and inexpensive. All you need is some dish soap, a spray bottle, and a watering hose. That’s it. Why? Because that is what you need to clean the filters & coils. That’s right: clean these components and your machine will work as good as new.

Think about a standard dryer: if you don’t clear the lint filter before you start it, the dryer will not perform to its full potential. The same concept applies to air conditioning units.

So, are you ready to revitalize your air conditioner? Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Take it Outside

Unplug the AC unit and carry it outside. Be careful—AC’s are heavy; lift with your legs or have a friend give you a hand.

Step 2: Open the Front of the AC

Open the face of the AC unit. Most window unit faces pop off quite easily. In some cases, you may need a screwdriver. Once opened, you will see the filter, and behind that, the coils.

Step 3: Remove the Filter and Spray with Water

Lift the filter away from the unit and spray it down thoroughly with the hose. Let the filter sit and dry outside for 30 mins – 1 hour.

Step 4: Clean the Coils

Spray a generous amount of dish soap on the front and back coils. Let the soap stay on the coils for 10 – 20 minutes. Point the mouth of the hose close to the coils. Your goal here is to point with precision. You don’t want to spray the whole unit from a distance. When washing the coils, be mindful of the electrical knobs next to them. Finally, spray the crevice in between the fan and the back coils. There is often a lot of grime and build up here, so spray thoroughly.

Step 5: Let it Air-Dry

Let it air -dry for 24 hours. Do not put it back together until it is completely dry.

Cleanliness is power. Next time you think that it is best to toss out a perfectly good air conditioner, don’t forget to ask: does it need to be cleaned?

Read More: How to clean AC drain lines 

This video is good at showing you how to clean window AC units, you can find Coil Cleen on Amazon.


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