Type to search

How to Clean a Wall Air Conditioner Without Removing It


Wall air conditioners or window air conditioners are common in many homes and offices, providing much-needed relief from the heat. However, these units can become dirty and clogged with dust and debris over time, decreasing efficiency and causing poor cooling quality.

While cleaning a wall AC may seem daunting, it is possible to do so without the need to uninstall it. Here, we will guide you on how to clean a wall air conditioner without removing it.

Does a Window Air Conditioning Unit Need to be Cleaned?

How to Clean a Wall Air Conditioner Without Removing It

Before we delve into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to understand why regular maintenance is essential for your appliances:

  1. Improved Efficiency: A clean AC unit operates more efficiently, which means your AC unit can cool your room faster and use less energy.
  2. Better Air Quality: Dust and debris build-up can lead to poor quality by recirculating allergens and pollutants. Cleaning your window unit can help ensure that the wind you breathe is clean and healthy, as it can prevent mold build-up. 
  3. Extended Lifespan: Regular maintenance can extend the functionality of your window air conditioner unit, saving you money on costly repairs or replacements.

In fact, the principles mentioned above apply to every appliance with a motor, such as ceiling fans or any air conditioner. Now that you understand how important cleaning your wall air conditioner, ceiling fan, or any AC unit is, let’s begin cleaning.

Can You Clean a Wall Air Conditioner Without Removing It?

Yes, you can clean a dirty air conditioner unit without removing it. In fact, it’s a common practice to perform routine cleaning and maintenance on an air conditioning unit and even a window air conditioner without the need for uninstallation.

What Do I Need When Cleaning a Window Air Conditioner? 

Here are the things and materials you’ll need to clean a window air conditioner without removing it:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. A vacuum cleaner or any soft brush attachment
  3. Fin comb or fin straightener (optional)
  4. Mild detergent, dish soap, or dish detergent
  5. Warm Water
  6. Spray bottle
  7. Towels or rags
  8. Compressed air 
  9. A small tray or dirty newspaper (for storing other components like screws, fan motor, wet cloth, fan blades, etc.)  

How To Clean Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It?

Having grasped the significance of cleaning window units, it’s time to teach you how to deep clean a window air conditioner without removing it. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Turn Off the Power

Safety first! Turn off the power to your wall air conditioner before cleaning. You can do this by switching the unit off or turning off the circuit breaker.

Remove the Front Panel

To clean a window air conditioner unit without removing it, you must first carefully remove the front panel of the AC. Most wall-mounted units have clips or screws holding the panel in place. Use a screwdriver if needed, but be gentle to avoid damaging the unit. Remove all the screws and removable parts. 

Clean the Air Filter

The air filter is one of the most critical components to clean regularly, especially if you want cleaner air. Remove it from the unit, vacuum it with a brush attachment, or wash it with mild detergent and warm soapy water. Let your filter dry completely before reinserting it.

Clean the Coils and Fins

Use a soft brush, compressed air, or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean the evaporator coils, condenser coils, and cooling fins on the front of the unit. Be gentle to avoid bending the fins.

If you notice bent fins, you can use a fin comb or fin straightener to straighten them carefully. Clean it thoroughly with a vacuum, as a clogged window air conditioner may blow warm air if left unattended.

Clean the Interior

Spray the interior with mild detergent and warm soapy water. Use a vacuum, soft brush, or damp cloth to wipe away dirt or grime. Rinse the soapy water thoroughly and let it dry completely before reassembling.

Clean the Drainage System

Check for any clogs in the drainage system. Clear any blockages in the condensation drain pan or tube using a flexible brush or pipe cleaner.

Reassemble the Unit

Once all components are clean and dry, reassemble the front panel, ensuring it securely clicks or screws back into place.

Power Up

 Turn the power back on and set your wall air conditioner to your desired settings. Enjoy the cool, clean air!

If you plan on cleaning a window air conditioner without removing it and are stuck on some parts, refer to your owner’s manual for fewer issues. If you don’t have a user manual, look up its model number and search online. If you’re still unsure of how to clean a window air conditioner, try a service call for professional cleaning services. 

Can I Spray Water on My Window Air Conditioner?

While using water to clean your window air conditioner is okay, it’s essential to be cautious. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn Off the Unit: Ensure the AC is switched off and unplugged.
  2. Cover Electrical Parts: Cover any electrical components, such as the control panel and outlets, with plastic or waterproof material to prevent water damage.
  3. Use a Gentle Spray: Use a gentle stream of water from a hose or spray bottle to clean the condenser coils and exterior. Avoid using high-pressure jets, as this can damage the fins.
  4. Allow to Dry: Let the unit dry thoroughly before plugging it in and turning it on.

How Fast Does a Window Air Conditioner Dry? 

After cleaning, the drying time for window air conditioning units can vary depending on several factors.

  • Humidity: High humidity levels can slow down the drying process. It may take longer for the unit to dry entirely in areas with high humidity.
  • Temperature: Warmer temperatures can aid in faster evaporation of moisture. If it’s a hot day, the unit may dry more quickly than on a cooler day.
  • Airflow: Adequate ventilation and airflow around the unit can help speed up drying. Ensure that the unit is in a well-ventilated area.
  • How Wet It Got: If you use a significant amount of water during the cleaning process or if water has penetrated the unit, it will take longer to dry than a light cleaning.

As a general guideline, allowing the window air conditioner to air dry for at least a few hours is advisable to ensure that all moisture has evaporated. This is especially important to prevent electrical hazards and mold growth inside the unit. You can help expedite the drying process by placing the unit in a location with good airflow and allowing it to sit in a warm, dry area.

If you’re in a rush or need to use your window air conditioner sooner, you can use a fan to blow wind over the window air conditioner unit, which can help speed up the drying process. However, exercise caution to avoid blowing water further into the unit’s interior, as this can lead to electrical issues or mold growth if not done carefully.

Ultimately, the exact drying time of your window AC unit will depend on the specific conditions in your environment. Hence, it’s essential to use your judgment and ensure the unit is completely dry before plugging your window AC unit back in and turning it on.

Maintainance Tips

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your appliances and equipment in top-notch condition, ensuring they function efficiently and have a longer lifespan. Here are some tips to keep your AC in tip-top shape;

  • Clean the filter at least once a month during heavy use.
  • Check for and remove any visible build-up of debris inside and on the front of the unit.
  • Schedule professional maintenance at least once a year for a thorough inspection and cleaning.

Following these steps and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule ensures that your wall AC operates efficiently, provides a clean and cool breeze, and lasts many years. Regular maintenance saves you money and ensures a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, window air conditioners can be cleaned without removing them. Regular maintenance ensures your unit works efficiently, providing cool, clean air throughout the summer and extending your appliance’s lifespan. 

Remember to exercise caution when cleaning window AC units with water to prevent damage. If you’re unsure how to clean a window air conditioner, don’t hesitate to contact an HVAC professional.

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

  • 1