How To Clean An AC Unit

With the summer gone, it is time for your AC unit to take a break from all the work it had to do. So, what better time to find out how to clean an AC unit?

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Like clockwork, we can be sure that summertime will roll around again. Cleaning out our AC unit in preparation for that eventuality makes it so that we can be protected against the hit when summer rolls around.

Now, let’s get started!

Power Down!

As with every other electrical appliance, the first step to getting your AC unit is to power it down.

Irrespective of whether or not you’ll be cleaning with liquid, powering down is important as it makes it so that you do not get electrocuted even if you accidentally come in contact with some wires.

So, you want to make sure that the AC is turned off at the connection socket. You also want to make sure that the connection wire is unplugged, just to be on the safe side.

Remove Debris

If your AC unit has a grille in front of it, you’ll have to remove that with a screwdriver to get at the debris. 

Now, before you even do your cleaning, make sure that you are well protected. Garb yourself with a pair of gloves and a face mask.

Then you can go ahead and remove as much large debris as you can get out by hand.


As for those you can’t get out by hand and the dust too, we recommend that you use a vacuum cleaner; the brush accessory tool to be specific.

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Also, because you’ll be collecting grime too, a wet/dry vac is the preferred option.

As you vacuum, do pay attention to the metal blades. They collect a lot of dust and grime because of how they are structured.

However, they bend pretty easily and if they are bent, they won’t function properly.

So, while you want to be meticulous, you also want to be really careful. That said, if you couldn’t help but bend some of the blades, you could straighten that with a fin comb. And you can get that in your local hardware store.


To clean out the inside of your unit, you’ll have to remove the grille on the top of the unit. And if you can manage it, remove the fan belt from the inside.

However, almost every AC unit has its fan belt attached to it, so you might not be able to remove it. Not to worry though, you’ll still be able to get it cleaned.

Now, if your AC unit is indoors, get you a bucket of water, pour some dish soap in there and then deep a clean piece of rag in it.

Use the damp rag to clean the inside of the AC unit and the outside too and that should be it.

On the other hand, if your unit is outside, you could get away with hosing it down.

If you do decide to hose it down, make sure that you are doing it from the inside out and not the other way around.

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If you hose from the outside in, you are basically just pushing the dust and grime deeper into the AC unit.

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Clean The Drain Line And Plate

After you have cleaned the AC itself, you’ll also need to clean out the drain line and plate too. 

Because this is a whole different cleaning altogether, we have an article dedicated to helping you clean your AC drain line. You can check it out here.

Use Coil Cleaner

Something else you could do is to use coil cleaner. You could spray the AC coils with the coil cleaner.

You’ll have to leave it in for about 15 minutes to give it time to collect all the grime and such. After that, go ahead and hose the unit down till you get out all the coil cleaner.

Leave To Dry

Before assembling your AC unit back together, do allow it dry out completely.

Two things: one, if your unit doesn’t completely dry out, plugging it back in to an electrical outlet would be a terrible decision because you are practically begging to be electrocuted.

Two, if your unit doesn’t dry out completely, it could become a breeding ground for mold. And mold in an AC unit is just a speedy way of getting everyone in that space sick. So, allow your AC unit dry out completely.

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