DIY: Cleaning A Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It (For Best Results)

Clean A Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

If you’ve flipped through the user manual for your Window Air Conditioner at some point, you must have come across the word maintenance.

Any household equipment needs to be maintained well so it can serve you well and long. By maintenance, the things being referred to are regular cleaning, repairs, and replacements, etc.

The thing about owning a Window AC is that it’s sort of like a contractual agreement. It keeps your house fresh and cool if you keep it neat and frequently clean. Similar to most other household appliances, the working of a Window AC happens much smoother when it is cleaned well. 

By cleaning, I’m not referring to simply wiping a washcloth down the unit. You have to clean the interiors as well. As the AC not only exchanges air inside of it, it also traps dust and debris inside so that it can produce cool air for your benefit.

So, it’s likely that the interior parts of your AC need more care than you think. Many people avoid doing this because they think that maintaining their AC requires them to take down, and uninstall their whole unit. But this is not the case! 

You can access your AC’s interiors without removing it at all! This guide should help you realize how easy it is to clean your window AC without moving it so much as an inch.

Cleaning Supplies You Need

Before we get started on the exact process of cleaning, let’s talk supplies. You might think that for a big, intimidating AC with too much machinery and coils, you need all sorts of ‘appropriate’ high-tech gadgets and supplies.

Really, though, you’ll find that you don’t need to look any farther than your garage to find things for cleaning your AC.

Firstly, you’ll need a bucket or a sink to have water within reach. Also, look for newspapers/towels to place underneath to avoid a big mess while cleaning.

Wearing gloves would ensure that you don’t get injured by the sharp fins. In terms of cleaning, it’s advisable that you have a screwdriver to open the AC up.

Additionally, it would be useful to have a soft brush, or a vacuum with an attached brush, as well as a spray bottle with warm water, and some detergent or bleach on the ready. 

If you don’t have your AC’s user manual to guide you, you can simply google it. If you’re one of those people who is concerned with the specifics, you might consider indulging in specialized products: condenser fin cleaning brushes or fin combs to straighten out damaged fins. 

Cleaning Parts Of A Window Air Conditioner

Before we get started on the process of cleaning the AC, it might be helpful to understand the different parts that make up an AC. You need to know what different AC parts do, and why it’s necessary to keep them all in tip-top shape to avoid a rackety AC in the future. 

One of the first things you’ll need to note as you approach your Window AC is the filter, which sits right behind the AC grills. The filter traps dust and debris so that the air quality is not contaminated.

The AC cabinet and the control panel at the front also need to be cleaned. The cabinet, especially, as it protects the AC from external elements, reduces the chances of damage. 

These are all visible and external parts of the AC. Following this, as you venture into your AC, you’ll come across parts like the evaporator coils, the fan motor, the blowers, etc.

While these parts are not prone to abuse from the outdoor surroundings, they may go haywire while the AC is not kept in use.

That is to say, during winter months when these parts are not running regularly, they may rust or gather dust- which, if not taken care of, may degrade the condition of your AC. 

Now that you have some knowledge about the different AC parts that affect how your window AC runs, it’s time to learn how to take care of them and clean them without actually removing your window AC off the sill. 

Cleaning Window AC Filter

You can find the filter behind the grill, which you’ll have to remove. Different ACs typically have different filters, so make sure to refer to your manual at hand to find the exact specifications of yours. 

To clean a dusty filter, a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment might do the job. However, if your filter is dirty with debris, it might be best to wash it with warm water and a few drops of detergent or bleach.

When you’re done, let the filter dry outside. In order to make sure your filter is in its best form, you’ll want to check up on it every 30 days. 

Cleaning Window AC Grill

Once you’re done checking on your filter, it’s time to bring your attention back to the grills. Naturally, if you find your filter pretty dirty, it’s likely that your grills will be too, as they are in the way.

Luckily, you don’t need any special equipment to clean the grills. If it’s only slightly dusty, you can try to wipe it down with a cloth or a wet paper towel.

However, if it’s grimier than you anticipated, you might want to remove the grill entirely and wash it with water outside. You can use the spray bottle for this, or soak it entirely with water and detergent. Don’t put the grill back on if it’s not wholly dry. 

If you have the kind of grill that can’t be removed, try to use small devices like cotton sticks or dusters to get in there. 

Cleaning Window AC Cabinet

The cabinet basically protects the interiors of your AC from outdoor grease and dirt. The cabinet basically spends 24/7 every day on the outside, taking a beating from mother nature. It might be covered in all sorts of dust and dirt that have been weathered down on it.

If you regularly hose down the cabinet of your AC at least once a week, it should be enough to keep it clean. You can wipe it down with a washcloth if you want to get hands-on with the cleaning.

If your cabinet hasn’t been touched by some clean water for a long time, it’s probably in bad shape. You might find it harder to clean as the filth solidifies and sticks. In such a situation, you’ll have to bring out scrub and some cleaning liquid to wash out the gunk. 

Cleaning Window AC Condenser Coils

The Condenser Coils are usually more complicated to get into because they’re placed right behind the fins. So you’ll also have to clean the fins in the way.

Once you get to the coils, you can take care of them through some water mixed with dishwashing liquid. You can also spray this mixture on the fins and use a fin comb on them. 

As for the coils, you could also use a soft nylon brush if they need any scrubbing. Some users have also found it effective to simply wash all the dirt away through a hose. 

Cleaning Window AC Drains

Lastly, take a look at the drain pans at the back before you decide the cleaning is over. Drains are prone to developing mold on their surface, so it’s a good idea to give this whole part a wipe down with a wet rag. 

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