If you live in a home, you must have a kitchen and a bathroom. Surely, you have experience with cleaning your fridge and your stove, among other appliances. Your window air conditioner is no exception! It needs cleaning too, just like everything else in your house.

Your AC won’t function efficiently if it isn’t given proper care. The fins and coils can get dirty and clogged after a while. That will make the conditioner slower and less effective.

Window air conditioners need care too, but they are quite different. They require a very specific set up. Since they’re quite big and bulky, they need to be installed safely, with the help of a professional. Uninstalling the unit to clean it can be very difficult and dangerous. There is a very specific way to clean window air conditioners.

Luckily, you don’t need to remove your window air conditioner at all to clean it. You may be wondering how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it. We have just the answer for you! Keep reading to find out the exact steps you need to take and how often you should clean your AC.

Why Should You Clean Your Window Air Conditioner?

Your window air conditioner, just like any other appliance in your home, requires regular maintenance and cleaning. Besides that, there are several reasons why you should clean your air conditioner regularly and carefully.

Long-lasting unit

Regular cleaning will give your unit a longer lifespan. A dirty AC can experience overheating or ice build-up. Avoid that by cleaning your unit regularly, and give it a long life.

Clean air

The cleanliness of the unit directly impacts the quality of air in the room. The air quality in your home or office is very important to your wellbeing and health. Poor air quality can lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies.

Clean your air conditioner to keep the air quality high and reduce the risk of lung disorders.


Most air conditioners consume a lot of electricity as it is. A dirty unit will consume even more, as it will try harder to push the air out through the build-up of dirt and dust. Keeping your unit clean will save you money and cut your electricity bills.

How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It?

Some people think you need a professional to clean your window air conditioner. That’s a common misconception. While hiring someone to do it for you might be easier, you can still very much do it yourself if you have the time for it.

The cleaning process will depend on the frequency of cleaning sessions. If you want to clean you AC twice a year, you will need to dedicate almost the whole day. If you want to clean your unit as often as every day, it’ll only take you a few minutes.

Here is a list of things you will need:

  • Bucket of water or hose
  • Dish soap
  • Philips screwdriver
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide or bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth or paper towels
  • Soft brush

Steps for Cleaning Your AC Daily

Step 1: Spray

Before you do anything, switch off your AC unit. Then, fill your spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide. We recommend you wear a mask to avoid inhaling the chemicals. Spray the unit with hydrogen peroxide. Don’t forget to wash your hands right after handling the chemicals.

Step 2: Check

Now, take off the panel at the front of the AC unit to check the filter. As all air conditioners are different, you might need to read the manual to find out how exactly to remove your panel. There are usually screws or tabs attaching the panel to the unit.

Step 3: Deep cleaning

Check to see if the filters are dirty. If so, take them out and spray them too. This step is not always required, as the filter may be clean.

Step 4: Drying time

If you’re planning to clean your air conditioner, do so in the evening. You can let everything dry through the night and it will be waiting for you in the morning. Then, when it’s completely dry, you can reassemble it and turn it back on.

Step 5: Dry wipe

Instead of spraying the filters, you can just wipe them with a damp towel. Then, put the clean filters back in the AC and let everything dry. Whatever you do, don’t turn the AC on until everything is completely dry, especially if you used hydrogen peroxide!

Steps for Cleaning Your AC Monthly

If you can only get around to cleaning your window air conditioner once a month, it will have accumulated a fair amount of dirt and dust by the time you get to it. As a result, you will have to dedicate time to proper cleaning.

Step 1: Remove the unit’s front panel to access the filter

Turn the AC off and remove the front panel. The front panel is usually attached by screws or tabs, depending on the model. Find the filter and proceed to take it out of the unit.

Step 2: Clean the filter 

Dip the filter inside your detergent or soap solution. Then, run it under some water. You can use hot water if you want to achieve a better result. If there is still grime left, use a vacuum hose to clean it off.

Step 3: Let the filter dry, then put it back in place

Shake the water off and pat the filter dry with a towel. Then, let it dry completely. Once the filter has dried, you can put it back in the AC.

Optional step: Replace a worn filter

If you filter is at the end of its life, replace it! You can purchase a new filter from the manufacturer of your air conditioner. Alternatively, you can get a universal filter at your local home improvement store.

Steps for a Seasonal Cleaning of Your AC

If you only clean your window air conditioner a couple of times a year, prepare for a deep cleaning each time!

Step 1: Remove the unit’s casing

First, turn off the AC and disconnect the power. Then, remove the front panel. Remove the screws that attach the casing to the unit and slide the casing away. The screws are usually pretty small, so put them away in an envelope or a small can so you don’t lose them.

Step 2: Clean the case

Use hot water and a detergent solution mixture to clean the case. Remove all the dirt and dust with a wet towel.

Step 3: Remove and clean the air filter 

Start by removing the filter. This part can be quite tricky, so have a look at the user manual if it’s your first time. Then, clean the filter using a wet towel. If you want to simplify the process, just dip the filter in a bucket of water. Then, wipe the unit with a wet towel. Wait for all the surfaces and the filter to dry before you put everything back together.

Step 4: Vacuum & wipe

Use your vacuum cleaner to get rid of big balls of dust and dirt, if there are any. Then, wipe over any dirty areas with a damp cloth.

Step 5: Spray 

Take your spray bottle and add 2 drops of detergent. Spray the interior with the solution, and don’t forget the fins. You might be wondering – is it ok to spray water on your air conditioner? Absolutely! Don’t worry about getting the air conditioner wet, it can handle a little moisture!

Step 6: Comb the aluminum fins

To comb the fins, you’ll need a fin comb or a soft bristle brush. Use one of them to comb away all the dust and debris from the aluminum fins. Wear a pair of work gloves to avoid getting cut.

Step 7: Wipe interiors

Give the interior one last wipe with a wet cloth. Wipe anything you can get your hands on, including the fins and the fan blades. Finally, let the unit dry completely.

Step 8: Put everything back

Once the unit has dried, reassemble it and put everything back together. Then, you can turn your air conditioner back on. Don’t turn it on until everything is dry and intact.

These procedures show you how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it. Decide how often you want to clean your unit, and follow the instructions. Pay close attention to every single step to avoid damaging your window air conditioner!

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