How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

It’s the middle of summer, which means it’s time to clean your window air conditioner. But how do you go about cleaning an AC without removing it? Let us explore how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it in today’s blog post. The first step is to remove all furniture in front of the unit, then disconnect any electrical cords or other items attached to it.

The next step is to use a vacuum cleaner attachment on the hose and sweep away debris from around the unit. Then, use a damp cloth with mild soap to wipe off any dirt or grime until you have removed all visible marks left by dirty hands or feet. You can also use vinegar diluted with water for added strength if needed. Read on to know more!

How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

10 Reasons Why You Should Clean a Window Air Conditioner:

There are many reasons why you should consider cleaning your air conditioner. Not only will it make the unit look better, but it will help with its cooling performance too. The filter will also remove dirt and debris before it enters the house. Here are ten reasons to clean a window air conditioner.

1) Improve Cooling Performance:

One of the main reasons you should clean your air conditioner is that it will help improve its cooling performance. Over time, dirt and debris can build up on the fins, which will cause the unit to work harder when trying to cool your home.

2) Remove Debris From Unit:

Another reason why you should clean your air conditioner is so that you can remove all of the dirt and debris from it. This will help to prevent any issues with clogs, which reduces its performance.

3) Keeps Unit Looking New:

A clean window air conditioner helps to keep it looking new, but avoiding cleaning can cause dirt and grit to work their way into the unit.

4) Reduces Energy Consumption:

Another reason you should clean your window air conditioning unit is that it will help reduce its energy consumption. Over time, debris attaches to the fins, restricting how much hot air exits out.

5) Removes Bad Odor:

One of the benefits of cleaning your air conditioner is that you will remove any bad odor. Unfortunately, whether it has been in your home for several years or you have just purchased it, dirt and debris can cause the unit to release a bad smell.

6) Extend Life Of Unit:

One of the biggest reasons you should clean your window air conditioning unit is that it will help extend its life. However, dirt and debris can cause damage over time, shortening its operational lifespan.

7) Improve Energy Efficiency:

Another reason why you should clean your air conditioner is to help improve its energy efficiency. While some people do it to reduce energy costs, you should remember that this unit warms the air before distributing it around your home.

8) Increase Aesthetic Appeal:

A dirty window air conditioner makes an eyesore to look at. If you would like to improve the aesthetic appeal of your home, then consider cleaning your unit regularly. It will also make your home look cleaner and more appealing.

Reasons Why You Should Clean

9) Reduce The Likelihood Of Unit Freezing:

One of the reasons you should clean a window air conditioner is to help reduce the likelihood of it freezing. This is because the fins can become clogged with dirt, which decreases how much heat it discharges into the surrounding environment. When this happens, the unit will not be able to cool properly and may freeze.

10) Increases Safety:

A clean air conditioner helps to increase your Safety. When the grill and fins are clogged with debris, this can cause a finger or hand to get trapped when it is moving. Regular cleaning will ensure that you reduce the risk of an accident.

10 Ways on How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It:

Here are ten ways to clean a window air conditioner without removing it:

1. Do not clean the coils.

This is by far the most effective way on how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it, because the fan can blow all dust out of the unit. While cleaning, never put any part of your body or hands where the fan blades are.

2. Vacuum it with a standard vacuum cleaner.

Using a standard vacuum cleaner will remove the majority of dust that accumulates on the coils, which must be done periodically. Remove any obstructions that block airflow to prevent overheating or increase utility bills due to inefficient cooling.

3. Use a lint roller to clean the coils.

A lint roller can be used on both sides of the fins and remove dust from the fins, reducing cooling costs and improving efficiency. To make cleaning easier, place a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid or another mild detergent in a bucket of warm water and dip the lint roller in it. Next, scrub the dirtiest areas with a toothbrush and rinse thoroughly to remove all of the soap, then just let it air dry.

4. Use a thin paintbrush to get between fins

Smaller, serrated units should be cleaned with a paintbrush or vacuum cleaner. This can be done easily and safely by removing the outer grille and pushing the brush into and out of tight areas. You may find that you have to do this a few times, but it is an effective way on how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it.

5. Use compressed air to blow away dust

You can use the same compressed air cans that you use for computer keyboards. This method can effectively remove dust but may not remove dust, and other particles stuck deep within the fins.

6. Use a damp cotton swab to clean.

A cotton swab can be moistened with soapy water or alcohol, but it is essential that the unit is unplugged first and follow all safety precautions. For example, do not let the wire touch any exposed metal parts of the air conditioner while wet. If the unit is dirty, the cotton swab may get sticky and remove dirt that can clog the fins.

7. Use an air conditioner cleaning kit.

Home-use window air conditioner cleaning kits are available online or at your local hardware store. They will typically contain a hose, nozzle, sponge or brush attachments, and a squeegee.

8. Use a water hose and nozzle.

Cleaning your air conditioner can be as easy as using a garden hose and nozzle to blast off the dust. Still, it would be best to remember to take safety precautions so that no parts of your body are exposed to moving fan blades or cords that may become wet and electrocute you.

9. Use a toothbrush to clean it.

Use a toothbrush on the coils of your air conditioner to get rid of dirt and other particles that may have accumulated there. Only use it after unplugging the unit from its power source, as the brush has been known to damage fins and fan motors.

10. Use aluminum foil to clean it.

This is one of the most unusual and effective ways to clean a window air conditioner without removing it: crumple up aluminum foil into a ball, wipe across the coils, and then brush off any excess dirt. This method also works well if you’ve forgotten about some baked-on cheese that’s been sitting in the unit for months because it will easily come right off.

Cleaning your air conditioner is not only good for the environment but also extends its life and keeps you more comfortable when it’s running. Each of these tips on how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it, will help you save time and money and increase your air conditioner’s efficiency.

Instructions: How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It 

Step 1: Unplug Your Window Air Conditioner

Before you begin cleaning, make sure the unit is unplugged. If it’s plugged in, obviously, it isn’t going to run, but even if it’s not plugged in, you should still remove the plug from the power outlet to be safe. 

Use a toothbrush on the coils of your air conditioner

Step 2: Remove Unnecessary Window Air Conditioner Accessories

Cleaning your window air conditioner does not require removing the accessories you use to put it into its window, the arms, braces, etc. However, if you want to remove these items for cleaning purposes, now is a good time. 

Step 3: Wipe Down With a Cloth

You can clean nearly all of the exterior of your window air conditioner just by wiping it down with a cloth or paper towel. You can clean the top, sides, and bottom of the unit without much trouble at all. However, be sure to check for dust on the coils at the back of the unit. This is where most people forget to clean while cleaning their air conditioners.

Step 4: Remove the Screens

Remove the screens if you’d like to give your window air conditioner a more thorough cleaning. Use a screwdriver (or something similar) to remove the screws that hold each screen in place and pull them down and out of their slots. It might be helpful for this step to use an old toothbrush, too, as it will make getting into the inner corners of each screen vastly easier.

Step 5: Cleaning the Inner Screen

To clean just about any window air conditioner, you’ll need to remove the inner section from its outer shell. These screens are usually held together with a series of screws or clips that allow for easy disassembly and reassembly after cleaning. To remove the inner section, look for screws or fasteners on each panel’s top, bottom, and sides. You’ll need to use a screwdriver to remove these pieces. Just be careful not to drop them into the device while doing this!

You Can Check It Out To Attach Mercury Kill Switch Lanyard

Tips and Tricks:

1. Always unplug the air conditioner before cleaning it.

2. Place a towel over the unit to protect the outside surface of the air conditioner while you clean inside it.

3. Vacuum or dust down any visible dirt that’s caught in crevices and corners, then rub them gently with an old toothbrush if there’s any dried-on dirt or grime.

4. Use a vacuum cleaner or duster to clean the front, and rear vents, removing any visible debris caught there.

5. Vacuum the coils on top of your unit for an extra deep clean. Wipe them with a damp cloth if they’re wet after being cleaned.

6. Rub the unit with a damp cloth and mild dish soap if it’s really dirty, then dry it thoroughly before reattaching it to your window.

7. Vacuum or dust down any debris that settles on top of the unit, then use a small brush to remove dirt from its grid-like surface.

8. Put everything back in place, plug it back in and turn your air conditioner on to see how well it’s working.

Precautions and Safety Measures:

1. Before cleaning the window air conditioner, ensure it is unplugged.

2. You may want to keep a cloth over the opening in the window when you are cleaning. This will help contain any possible falling debris or water from within the air conditioner unit itself. If you were to get any of this dirty water on any furniture, it could cause stains.

3. When cleaning the window air conditioner, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area. For example, if you are not near an open window or door, turn on a fan to circulate the air around the room.

4. Be careful when working with glass because it can break easily. If possible, wear gloves to protect your hands.

5. Wear protective glasses when you clean the window air conditioner because debris may fly into the eyes as you work with it. You may also want to consider wearing a mask, such as those used by painters to prevent inhaling dust or other air particles.


With these tips in mind, we hope you’ll find it easy how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it. You can start by vacuuming the coils and fan blades with a soft brush attachment on an upright vacuum cleaner. Next, wipe down all surfaces of the unit and cabinet with soapy water and a damp sponge or cloth, then rinse everything off until no residual soap is left behind.

Afterward, use a microfiber cloth to dry the surface before placing back into position for optimal cooling performance!  If you’re looking for more helpful articles with maintenance tricks like the ones found in this post, be sure to revisit us soon!

Angela Ervin

Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of DIY quickly. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping, home decorations as well as other niche efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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