How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner (Without Removing It)

Is the air from your air conditioning unit smelling funny or it’s making squeaky noises? It might not be the time to change it just yet. It just might need some cleaning. Today, we’ll tell you how to clean a window air conditioner; and you won’t even need to remove it.

Devices that have to do with the movement of air are prone to dust and clogs. Over time, the coils, fins, and filters of your window unit will get clogged and its performance will drop.

At times like this, cleaning the air conditioner can have it back to working like new. That’s what you will learn in this post. By the time you’re done, you’ll know how to surface clean as well as deep clean window air conditioners without removing them.

Clean a Window Air Conditioner (AC) Without Removing It

It can be a burden to uninstall air conditioners from the wall to clean it. Honestly, the procedure is way too tedious and can discourage you from cleaning the window unit at all.

If you want to clean a window air conditioner fast and avoid taking it off the wall, follow the steps below:

1.    Fill a spray bottle with Hydrogen Peroxide

This method is great if you smell mildew after you turn on the AC. The peroxide will neutralize the buildup and the air will be fresh again. Make sure the AC is off and disconnected from the socket.

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Spray the intake area of the AC generously. Be sure to protect yourself so you don’t inhale the fumes of the peroxide and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

Don’t use bleach or alcohol. Bleach can damage your device and alcohol is flammable and can start a fire. Use only 3% hydrogen peroxide.

2.    Allow the peroxide to dry

It is best practice to do this procedure at night or if you’ll be out of the house for a long period. This will give sufficient time for the liquid to work and for the condenser coils and fins to dry up completely.

3.    For a deeper clean, remove the front panel

If you have not been cleaning your air conditioners often, this approach above might not be sufficient. Remove dirt from the front panel with a fin comb to expose the filter. Now spray the filter directly.

You might need to place a tray underneath the AC to collect the drips so it doesn’t smear on your floor. You can wipe the top vent with a towel as it might be dusty too. Give the unit ample time to dry well. If not, and you turn on the device, the hydrogen peroxide will condense and damage your air conditioner.

The often you clean your window air conditioner, the better its performance and the longer it will last. Cleaning the air conditioner on a monthly basis is fair enough but when you will, it will have to be a deep clean. The AC would have accumulated dust and dirt that a surface clean will not suffice.

The following is a process to clean a window air conditioner if you choose to do it monthly.

1.    Remove the top panel

The purpose of this is to get to the filter which is behind the panel, inside the AC. For some air conditioner brands, you will need to unscrew the top panel to remove it. Others might require you undoing a hook or a latch. Be sure to consult the user manual on the proper way to remove the filter.

2.    Clean the filter

Soak a towel in detergent or any other soap solution and use it to wipe the filter. You can also place the filter under running water to get the dirt out. The aim is to thoroughly clean it.

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If the dirt or grime has solidified, you might want to use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dirt deep inside the filter. While you’re at it, you can use a fin comb to align the cooling fins.

3.    Let the filter dry

After washing, shake off excess water from the filter to shorten the drying time. You can place it out in the open to let it air dry. It is important to make sure the filter is dry before putting it back in the unit. If not, it can damage the whole AC.

If you notice the filter is damaged or worn out, you should get a replacement. A worn-out filter will affect how well the air conditioner performs. Make sure the replacement filter is from the same brand. You might even want to be sure it is for the exact model.


A window AC is a nice way to keep your home cool during hot weather. To clean a window air conditioner and aligning the fins with a fin comb are ways you can keep it functioning optimally. Now you won’t need to go through the stress of taking it off the wall just to clean it. If you found this post useful, kindly share it. For more useful content, feel free to look around. Thank you for your time.

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