How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter 5 Simple Steps

How To Clean An Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning your air conditioner’s filter is necessary for it to operate effectively. A neglected and dirty air conditioner filter covered with grime and dust obstructs the airflow, causing the unit not to cool as it should. However, you might have wondered how to clean an air conditioner filter by yourself and how frequently the cleaning should be.  

It is preferable to clean the air conditioner filter once before summer and at least once every month when you are utilizing it. Using running water alone can’t remove the dirt from your unit’s filter, so you must consider some steps. 

This article can help you achieve your clean air filter at home and get your air conditioner working as if it’s brand new. 

5 Simple Steps to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter

An air conditioner is such as lifesaver, especially during hot weather, as long as it is functioning well. If you have noticed a performance drop on your unit or a strange odor when you turn it on, it requires some cleaning. 

However, before cleaning your aircon conditioner filter, make sure you can wash and reuse it because other AC unit filters should be disposed of and changed. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to ensure that you get your aircon filter well-cleaned:

Step 1: Remove the filter

First, turn off your air conditioner and remove its cover. There are screwed aircon covers, while others contain push tabs, depending on your AC unit type. Set aside the AC cover and remove the filter’s clips that lock it in fix position or slide your filter out. 

Check and ensure that your aircon’s filter is washable and not disposable because disposable filters need replacement after a specific time frame. You can review your manual to identify what type of filter your unit has before going to the next step.

Step 2: Use a vacuum for the filter

To prevent dust from outspreading in your room, take your air conditioner filter out. Utilize a vacuum at a low or medium setting, and then run it in an upward and downward motion to get rid of visible grime and dust from the filter. 

Remember not to press too hard on the frail filter because it may have a tear or dent. Carefully hold the filter in one hand as you use the vacuum with the other one. 

Step 3: Plunge the filter into the water

After you vacuum the filter, fill a container or tub with lukewarm water, and then put some liquid detergent in it. Mix the solution well to make it foamy, and plunge the filter into the water. To completely cover it with soap and foam, move the filter around the container. 

It is not advisable to utilize abrasive tools like wires or brushes to scrub your air conditioner filter because it is delicate and may get damaged. Wait for around 10 to 15 minutes before getting the filter out from the container.

Another option for this method is to hose the filter’s one side entirely until the dirt falls out. Do the same way to the filter’s other side until clean water already drips out of the filter. 

Spray the solution into the filter

Step 4: Spray the solution into the filter

Create a solution by mixing equal parts of water and vinegar, then put it inside a spray bottle. Spray the water and vinegar solution to both sides of the AC filter. Set the filter aside for about 10 minutes to eliminate the harmful bacteria before putting it under running water. 

Step 5: Air-dry the filter

Put several dry newspapers on a clean surface or ground, and then place the filter on top of them against the wall. Air-dry it first for some hours before installing it back on the air conditioner, then close the AC cover. Lastly, turn on the unit and enjoy a cool airflow.

The Benefits of Air Conditioner Filter Maintenance

One of the convenient and least expensive techniques to keep your air conditioner working in good shape is maintaining it regularly or changing its filter. Here are benefits that an air conditioner filter maintenance can offer to you:

Improves your air conditioner’s lifespan

A dirty air conditioning unit filter makes it difficult for your unit to manage air and increases wear chances. You can help improve your AC unit and extend its lifespan with regular maintenance. 

Lack of maintenance and dirt are the leading causes of HVAC system failure. If you want a clean air conditioner filter at your home, start its regular maintenance now. 

Enhances energy efficiency

If you notice that you have high utility bills, you may change your air conditioner filter if you think there is no method to solve it. Replacing your filter enhances energy efficiency and keeps your unit running like it is new. 

Better air quality in your space

With regular air conditioner filter maintenance, your home or space will have less dust, reduced allergens, and even smells better than before. It can help you and the people with you feel and breathe better. You can also notice that you are dusting your place lesser when filters are regularly clean.

Helps ductwork become cleaner

If you are bothered regarding the amount of dirt and dust in your ductwork, have proper maintenance for your air conditioner filter. Keeping it maintained regularly can help and contribute to much cleaner ductwork.

Choose the Right Air Conditioner Filter

In selecting the right air conditioner filter, there are essential elements to consider. The following are a few factors you must keep in mind before purchasing and change the air conditioning filter:

  1. Size 

One of the essential elements to ponder before you buy an air conditioner filter is the size. When the AC filter is too large, it will not fit, and if it is too small for the system, there will be gaps where small particles can go through. Get the depth, length, and width to identify the right size, and then round up to its nearest inch.

  1. MERV rating

Another factor you can consider is the MERV rating on your air conditioner filter. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which is the primary rating system in the HVAC industry. Generally, the lower the MERV rating, the cheaper the aircon filter. 

MERV rating ranges from 1-16. You may want to search for a rating between 7 and 13 to obtain optimal efficiency in your residence.


What is the function of an air conditioner filter?

For your air conditioner to work correctly, there should be a filter inside it. The AC filter catches the extra debris and ensures that the unit’s air is cold and clean. Once your aircon’s coils get too much exposure to dust, they can stop working, so the filter is there for protection. 

Why clean your air conditioner filter?

Your air conditioning units spread air throughout your space. They depend on filters to trap the debris and dirt that may circulate with your fresh airflow. 

When your filter gets clogged, the AC unit needs to work harder to pump air, which results in more electricity usage and reduction of the air conditioner’s lifespan. If you don’t know how to clean an air conditioner filter, do research and remember to clean it carefully.

How often must you get your air conditioner filter cleaned?

You should develop the habit of monitoring your air conditioner filter at least once a month. This method lets you maintain your unit’s filter well and immediately see signs of deterioration. 

As a part of your checking, know if your filter is reusable or disposable because that is your basis for cleaning or replacing it. 

Is it alright to spray water on an air conditioner?

Yes, you may spray water on your air conditioner if it is a central outdoor air conditioning unit. Generally, window air conditioners are also not against the use of water. However, it is best to read the instruction manual of the AC unit to be more sure.

How often must you clean your air conditioning unit?

It is ideal to have a general cleaning every month. You must conduct more meticulous cleaning each season or even a couple of times during the hot weather or summer season because the air conditioning unit gets the most utilization during this period. 


According to wikiHow, cleaning or changing your air conditioner filter can enhance your AC unit’s efficiency by 5% to 15%. This thought means that it is essential to maintain your air conditioner to function well and offer you enough comfort and convenience. Note that dirty aircon filters may jeopardize your health and make your system work inefficiently. 

We hope that this article has answered your questions and given you enough knowledge about cleaning your air conditioner filter by yourself.

Subscribe to keep up to date with top products to buy online.

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.