How To Clean An Air Conditioner

To ensure you’re getting the coolest, cleanest air in your home, it is important to regularly check and clean your air conditioner! 

Our air conditioners collect dust, pollen and bacteria over time and without proper maintenance, blocked filters can cause lower efficiency from your unit. This in turn can mean much higher running costs.

The thing is, not many of us know how to clean our air conditioners, or even where to start. 

To help you out, here are our top tips on how to clean your air conditioner and how often you should be doing it. 

Indoor AC Unit

Indoor units have multiple elements that need to be cleaned to ensure that your air conditioning unit is running efficiently and filtering the air properly.


If your unit’s filter is blocked, the air conditioner has to work much harder to push the air through. 

To clean the filter inside, take off the front panel or open your unit by lifting the plastic cover up. Carefully remove the filter without dislodging any of the dust and take the filter outside. Once you are outside, use a vacuum or brush to clean both sides of the filter thoroughly. If the filter is still dirty, simply wash it in warm water with some mild detergent and rinse clean. Leave the filter to dry. Once you are sure the filter is completely dry, you can put the filter back in your air conditioning unit. 

Evaporator Coil

You can easily clean the evaporator coil by removing the outer casing and brushing off any surface dirt or grime. You can do this using a stiff brush or duster. Once you’ve done this, you can get rid of any trapped or caked on dirt by applying a suitable cleaning agent, then rinsing it away with water. Once you have finished, wipe the coil clean and replace the casing.  


An area that is often forgotten is the louvres (the oscillating blades that direct the airflow). 

Over time, they can gather a layer of dust and dirt particles. These are simple to clean using a dry cloth or vacuum cleaner. If the louvres haven’t been cleaned for a while and there is excess grime, you will need to use a cleaning agent or warm water with detergent. 

Outdoor AC Unit

If your outdoor unit is not cleaned on a regular basis, the airflow can become restricted. This means your air conditioner needs to work harder to keep you cool. To clean the fins and fan blades, simply remove the outdoor panel and use a soft brush to remove dust and debris.

For a more thorough clean, use a hose and spray the inside to push the debris outward. You can then use a damp cloth and wipe thoroughly. Another option is running a vacuum cleaner over the air-intake to help clear dust from inside.

Keeping the area surrounding the unit clean and clear is really important as well. Use water and detergent if necessary, to remove grime and stains on the outside of the unit. 

While you are working on the outdoor area, have a look around and ensure that the unit is clear of surrounding grass and plants that could get caught or restrict the airflow. You should also brush away dust, leaves and cobwebs regularly. 

How often should I clean my indoor and outdoor air conditioners?

Regular maintenance is essential, but there are different time periods depending on the item or area you’re cleaning and the level of cleanliness required. 

Weekly – Run the ‘dry out’ program if your air conditioner has it. This will help to evaporate any moisture built up and prevent mould or odours.

Fortnightly – Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down both the indoor and outdoor unit including any ducts or vents. It is a good idea to give the inside of the indoor unit a good wipe as well.

Bi-annually – Clean or replace the filters in your indoor unit. You may need to do this more than bi-annually. This will depend on how much you use the air conditioner and the environment it’s used in.

Annually – Thoroughly clean your indoor and outdoor units, making sure to remove any excess vegetation and other impediments.

If your air conditioner hasn’t had a good clean in a while, it is a good idea to have a technician do it for you. Service Today technicians will give your unit a professional clean and have it back in ‘as new’ condition in no time. You can book via our website or call us on 1300 289 309.