How to Clean Window AC Unit Without Removing It [5 Steps]

Need to clean your window AC unit but don’t want to remove it?

Below you’ll find out how to clean a window air conditioner unit without removing it, how often you should do it, and the benefits of a clean window AC unit.

Let’s get started!

Items You’ll Need to Clean Your Window AC Without Removing It

  • A couple of soft cloths
  • A tub of water or sink
  • Rubber gloves
  • A mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • Goggles
  • The soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner
  • Hand-held spray bottle
  • Fin comb
  • Soft-bristle brush or comb
  • Screwdriver
  • Coil cleaner

5 Steps to Fully Clean a Window AC Unit Without Removing It

1. Turn the Window AC Unit Off

The first step should be to turn your air conditioner off.

Remember, you’re using water to clean different parts of the window AC unit, and water and electricity are not friendly.

The best thing to do is unplug the window AC  from the wall. If you cannot unplug it, turn the AC unit off both at the breaker and the unit itself.

Your safety should be your top priority when cleaning your window AC unit.

Remember to put on your gloves and goggles for protection purposes too.

2. Remove the Front Grill and Take Out the Air Filter and Soak It

To reach and remove the filter, you first remove the front grill.

You can unscrew all the screws using a screwdriver to remove the panel or pull the grill down.

This leaves the filter and coils exposed.

That way, you can easily slide the air filter side to side until you remove it.

If it’s been a while since you cleaned your air filter, vacuum it to remove larger debris and dirt before soaking it.

Alternatively, brush any mold or mildew using the soft bristle brush.

To clean the filter thoroughly, soak it in a bucket filled with warm soapy water. After some time, remove the air filter from the solution and leave it to air dry.

You should also put the air filter back after it dries completely. Otherwise, a wet filter increases the likelihood of mold and mildew growth in your window AC unit.

3. Vacuum and Spray the Inside of the AC Unit

Next, you have to clean the inside components of your window air conditioner.

Use a vacuum cleaner that features a soft brush attachment to clean without removing the unit. 

Vacuum out any debris and dust in the unit carefully.

Ensure you reach the sides and bottom of the AC unit, as well as the front and back covers. Also, vacuum the metal grill if your AC unit has one.

Next, mix some water with a few drops of mild detergent and spray inside the AC unit as you wipe down these areas.

Use soft pieces of cloth or rags to mop out any dirt the vacuum couldn’t handle.

In addition, don’t forget to vacuum the air conditioner fins or use a soft brush or comb to brush any dirt and grime off the fins.

A fin comb is essential for straightening any bent fins. Also, spray the cabinet with the cleaning solution and wipe with a cloth or rag. 

After a few minutes, wipe these areas with a clean rag or cloth. This should do the trick and leave them thoroughly clean.

4. Clean the Condenser Coils

The rear cover of your AC unit protects the air conditioner from weather elements

You’ll want to take it off as well and clean it. Removing this cover also lets you access the condenser coils underneath to clean them.

Spraying the condenser coils with the mild soap solution will do the trick.

You can slo use a hose on the rear side of the window AC unit, but a detergent does a better job. 

Allow the condenser coils to dry before you replace the cover back. Check to ensure the drain hole is clean. If it’s not clean, vacuum it to unclog, leaving it clean and functioning properly.

5. Reassemble the Window AC Unit

Once you’re sure all the inside components are dry, you can put all the parts back on.

Follow the user manual to ensure you do this properly. You want to ensure everything is dry so that no mold or mildew grows inside your window AC unit.

Is it Okay to Spray Water on My Window Ac Unit?

Air conditioners are designed to be sturdy appliances featuring waterproof capabilities.

Therefore, you can spray water on your window AC unit to run off any dirt and grime inside. 

Some people usually spray it with a hose. But if it cannot reach your unit, you can use a spray bottle with a mild detergent solution.

As you spray, wipe with a piece of cloth or rag to remove the dirt.

However, it’s advisable not to use so much pressure when spraying with a horse to avoid damaging sensitive AC unit components such as the fins.

In addition, avoid soaking your window AC thoroughly.

How Often Should I Clean My Window Air Conditioner?

The best time to clean your window air conditioner is when you’re about to start using it again during summer.

If you removed and stored it when winter set in, wash it before fixing it back to your window. If you had just covered it, clean it without removing it.

This is the time when grime, dirt, dust, mold, and mildew might have accumulated.

After the summer clean-up, you can check your window AC unit every month or two. Of course, this will depend on your usage.

Most importantly, check the air filter every 30 days, and replace it at least every one to three months.

Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your AC unit’s energy consumption by 5 to 15%.

If it’s fully dirty or clogged within a month, ensure you clean it. Otherwise, a quick monthly check for your entire machine is more than enough.

Benefits of Keeping Your Window Air Conditioner Clean

1. Air Will Always Be Clean

While you can clean the air in your home in many different ways, cleaning your window air conditioner often ensures fewer irritants and allergens are in the air.

Proper cleaning and maintenance help kill all bacteria responsible for these issues.

2. Your AC unit Will Run Quieter

A dirty air conditioner must work harder to produce the same results. In the process, it makes some noises that you can sometimes hear. 

Luckily, cleaning reduces this workload. With no more dirt, your window AC can work more efficiently, producing less noise. 

If your AC is loud, you can follow our guide to fix that issue.

3. It Saves on Energy and Money

As mentioned earlier, a dirty air conditioner must work harder as it struggles to cool the air in your home.

The result is a less efficient machine that uses more energy. 

Cleaning your window AC unit makes it more efficient.

Going by statistics by the energy department, a clean AC unit, particularly the air filter, can potentially save you 7.5% off your energy bill each month. 

4. The Unit Lasts Longer

Regular cleaning of your window AC unit helps lengthen its life. That’s because there’s less stress on the unit.

Final Words

It’s pretty easy to clean your window AC without removing it as long as you follow the necessary steps and do it carefully.

Remember, a clean AC can be a game-changer during summer. It gives you a huge boost in air quality and performance. Maintenance is key and goes a long way in ensuring your AC unit lasts longer.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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