How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

Easy and useful tips for those who are not ready to spend hours on cleaning

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

Window air conditioners are no doubt useful devices. They make the air in our homes fresh and cool being a true salvation on hot summer days. However, installing them is no fun at all. They are massive, bulky, and they must be set on quite a thin window frame. But removing them for cleaning is also not an attractive perspective!

So what shall you do if you badly need to clean your window air conditioner already? Don’t worry, we can give you a few useful suggestions that will help to make the whole process way simpler!

How to Clean Window AC Unit Brief Instruction

If you have no time and even less enthusiasm to remove your mounted window air conditioner unit for cleaning it, check out this quick version of the cleaning guide! When using these simple steps, you will easily make the air conditioner clean again.

  • Turn the unit off and disconnect it entirely from the wall
  • Remove the filter and soak it in soapy warm water
  • Remove the case and wipe it down using the same warm and soapy water solution. Do that to any detachable framing, too
  • Vacuum and wipe down all the major areas that need additional care and attention
  • Spray all over the interior (including the fins) with warm soapy water solution
  • Remove as much dirt and grime off the fins as you can using a soft brush. Or simply comb them down!
  • Let all the details dry, and reassemble the unit again using its user manual to be sure you do everything right. Now you have the clean window ac unit!

When cleaning, be accurate and careful. The fins of the air conditioner, for instance, must be treated very delicately, so do your best to not push on them! Also, when spraying the interior with soapy water, avoid using force. The inner details are very fragile and you could damage or even break something. And we are sure you don’t want to spend extra money on fixing your window air conditioner unit, do you?

But of course, if you are not in a rush, you can take your time and consider way more details regarding the whole cleaning procedure. If that is your case, keep on reading the full and extended version of the cleaning guide we have just provided you with.

How to Clean A Window Air Conditioner (AC unit)The Easy Way Without Removing From Wall The Right WayHow to Clean A Window Air Conditioner (AC unit)The Easy Way Without Removing From Wall The Right Way

How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner. No-Removal Detailed Guide

If you already decided to do things right and give your window ac unit a proper and deep clean, here is an extended instructions for you with the step-by-step description of all the stages of the process.

So for cleaning a window ac unit without taking it out of the window frame, start with preparing all the necessary equipment. Like that, you will not have to run around the house looking for a brush or a bucket since you will already have everything gathered in one place in advance.

For the window ac cleaning, you will need to get the following things ready:

  • a bucket full of warm soapy water
  • a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attached
  • a soft brush or comb
  • a pulverizer with warm water and two drops of bleach or detergent dissolved in it
  • a small towel (or a cloth) that you can easily get dirty
  • an old newspaper to lay it down under the air conditioner unit as you will be working
  • a screwdriver
  • a small tray for putting screws onto it
  • a user manual
  • protective gloves (as you will be working with bleach)

And here is what the whole process will look like. You start with disconnecting the unit completely. SImply take its plug out of the wall. Then, remove the filter. If the filter you are using is washable, let it soak in soapy water for a while. If it’s disposable instead – great, but you need to have a replacement ready at hand!

How to Clean Window AC Unit Brief Instruction
Credits; TokenPhoto, via

Now you need to remove the case. Don’t worry, this is not going to be difficult! Just take the screws out, and take the front grille off. If you can remove any other elements, do it, and then soak them all in the same soapy water mixture you have prepared before.

Now it is time for vacuuming and wiping! With the vacuum cleaner, remove all the visible pieces of dust and dirt out of the conditioner unit. Afterward, with a damp cloth, wipe over all the obvious areas. End up with pulverizing the interior surfaces and fins with the spray you prepared. Be sure you will manage to wipe those surfaces down later!

While the inside of your air conditioner is soaking in spray, switch to its exterior part. Wipe down each part using a towel or a damp cloth, and leave them all to dry.

With a soft brush, work on the coils and cooling fins making sure you are not moving them to either side! If you have a fin comb, that’s great, make use of it. Finally, wipe the soaked interiors down with a damp cloth, and leave them to air dry.

When all the pieces are dry, reassemble them using your conditioner manual.

When knowing how to undergo all the cleaning procedure properly and what to do step by step, maintaining your window air conditioner unit will not be that difficult anymore.

What Are the Benefits Of Having a Clean Window Air Conditioner?

The question may appear somewhat strange to some of you. Of course, we need to clean it to make it work longer, you will probably say! And yes, this is also one of the reasons why cleaning the ac window unit regularly is a must.

However, except for keeping it in a proper state, there are several other reasons why we should not forget about cleaning our window air conditioner.

  1. Clean air conditioner means you will have clean air with less or no irritants for allergy and asthma
  2. Clean window air conditioner means that the indoor air will feel and smell fresher!
  3. When we clean our air conditioner window unit regularly, it helps it run quieter since the dirty appliance needs to work harder to clean the air
  4. As a result of better and more efficient work, your air conditioner will use less energy when it is clean
What Are the Benefits Of Having a Clean Window Air Conditioner
Credits; Kevin Brian, via

So keeping these reasons in mind, you will at least know exactly what you clean your ac unit for! And anyway, a clean, unclogged air conditioner is way more efficient and will last longer than when it is dirty.

So now you have learned how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it from the window. As you can see, the procedure itself is not rocket science and it can be done even by those who have seldom performed similar tasks before.

In addition, you get lots of benefits from keeping your window air conditioning unit well maintained! Clean, fresh, and nicely smelling air, along with a properly working appliance that is safe for you, are worth spending a bit of your time on cleaning it.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can I spray lysol in my window air conditioner?

Yes, Lysol all-purpose cleaner is suitable for ac units.

⭐ What is the best window ac cleaner?

Muller, Lundmark, and Nu-Calgon are among the best ones.

⭐ How long does the window air conditioner cleaning take?

You will do it within a day.

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
How to Clean A Window Air Conditioner (AC unit)The Easy Way Without Removing From Wall The Right WayHow to Clean A Window Air Conditioner (AC unit)The Easy Way Without Removing From Wall The Right Way