How To Clean Split AC Filter

Having an air conditioner at home is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity. More people are getting convinced of the need to have air conditioners in their homes for comfort. With changing weather conditions in the environment, an AC is the best device one can use to keep the space cool and comfortable, be it a home, workplace, restaurant, train, or any place for that matter.

However, improving or maintaining the cooling efficiency of an air conditioner is important. And this depends entirely on how maintenance of the air conditioner is. Let us keep reading to know more about air conditioners and their maintenance.

Gone are the days of the large and noisy window AC. Now we live in the time of greener and more sustainable and technologically advanced types of AC- Split Air Conditioner. Almost every home has a split air conditioner. This model is a more compact and energy-efficient product in comparison to the old version of AC that first got introduced into the market. The entire unit of a split air conditioner is divided into two components, an outdoor unit, and an indoor unit.

The outdoor unit is called a compressor or a condenser. This resembles a large metal box and has the drain pipe attached to it. The indoor unit is a rectangular-looking box-like device that is fixed against the wall within the room. The indoor unit is the main component of the split air conditioner that has the air blower, control panel, air filter, and other essential electrical pieces that actually work to cool the room. HVAC system, air conditioner, humidifier; no matter what device.

All appliances need to be maintained.

The cleaner they are, the better is their air flow and the resulting air quality.

Follow the user manual or guide that comes along with the product on purchase to learn how to keep the air conditioner filters clean. If there is a specific filter cleaning process mentioned in the guide you can practice them.

While some people use plain detergent, water, and toothbrush for split AC air filter cleaning and drain pipe cleaning; few others hire services and make the best use of cleaning bag, cleaning spray, vacuum cleaner, and other equipment available at hardware stores to have a thorough professional cleaning. Let us keep reading to know more on how to keep the air conditioner’s air filter clean.

What happens if you don’t clean AC filter?

How To Clean Split AC Filter

It is true and believable that something as important as air filter cleaning can be missed. This small act of negligence can cause damage to both; health and the air conditioners’ air filters themselves. Leaving the air filters unattended for weeks or months (or even years!) together will slowly lead to deterioration in the performance of the device.

Be it an HVAC filter, dehumidifier air filters, or air conditioner filters; all types of air filters that are not cleaned will lead to dust build up, mold, mildew, bacteria, germs, and other microscopic particles getting trapped in them. An air conditioning filter that is not looked into will also lead to ice being formed within the AC. This will not just interfere in the performance of the unit but also in the air quality in the home or room.

How often should AC filters be cleaned?

Data suggests that you clean an AC filter every once in two weeks. Cleaning them more often than this is also a great way to keep up. This will maintain the performance of the air conditioning unit and will keep the air being circulated within the space free from mold or mold spores, bacteria, and other allergens. If this is not followed and leads to other problems in the AC filter, it is better that you hire professional service to look into the issue.

What is the best way to clean an air conditioner filter?

Google has many answers on what is the best way to clean air conditioner filters. It does not take too much of your time and it is better to stick to what works for you and your split air conditioning unit to make the best use of the appliance. Here are a few simple steps to get rid of the dust in the air filters and keep the AC air filter clean.

Steps to clean AC filter


✦ Find the user manual and guide and check on what method is suggested to clean the air filters in the split AC unit that you have at home. Some units may have disposable air filters, while most of them have reusable filters.

✦ Switch off the units’ power supply. It is never wise to clean or touch or use any form of cleaner on any electronic appliance when it is still connected to the power source.

✦ Check where the air conditioner filter is located in the unit. They usually required just removing a couple of screws. Split air conditioner filters are along the return duct’s length. You can take it down easily.

✦ If your split ac unit has a disposable air filter that needs to be discarded, do so and replace it with a new one.

✦ The reusable air filter can be cleaned using any hardware store air conditioner cleaner or spray. You can also do that with the things you have at home.

✦ Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust build-up as the first step. Mix 1 part vinegar in 1 part water. Pour the mixture into a wide tub that can accommodate the air filter.

✦ Soak the filter in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also use liquid dish wash or detergent that has been well diluted in water. A strong acting agent will ensure that the filter is completely free from germs, bacteria, mold spores, and other harmful particles.

✦ Use a hose to spray off the soap or vinegar mixture. Follow a zig-zag motion to spray the filter. This is to make sure that you have covered every nook and corner of the filter.

✦ Now, allow the filter to dry off completely before you place it back into the unit. You can either allow it to sundry or to dry under the fan. The reason that sun drying is recommended is to kill the microbes naturally.

✦ Once all this is done the filter can be placed back into the AC unit and the power source can be turned on. Before you begin to clean any filters for that matter, remember to check the information on the manual and take assistance if required.

How to clean split ac indoor unit?

How To Clean Split AC indoor Unit

Cleaning a split ac indoor unit can take a couple of hours. Hiring professional service with experience is advised if you are not equipped to do it on your own.

Here are the steps that are followed while cleaning the indoor ac unit.

1. Turn on the ‘Fan Mode’ on the air conditioner and let it run for 30 to 40 minutes. This mode will help the water or moisture that is inside the unit to evaporate.

2. Dry off the outside body of the unit completely. Use a damp cloth to wipe the dust off the unit.
Disconnect the AC from its power supply.

3. A cleaning bag can be used to cover the unit. This will prevent the dust from messing up the floor while cleaning. You can use any large-sized plastic bag or garbage bag to cover the unit.

4. Remove or detach the front panel to reach the inside of the unit. Most AC units have tabs or latches that hold the front panel in place. Press and push the tabs or undo the latches to take the panel out. If the panel is fixed, hold it using 1 hand while you clean the inside.

5. Remove the air filter and clean them. You can follow the aforementioned method to go about cleaning the AC filter.

6. Some split air conditioner models have bacterial filters. You can clean them the same way you do the filters. You can also use any anti-bacterial cleaning spray. It will also act as a deodorizer.

7. The cooling fins can be cleaned next. They will be visible when you remove the filter, as metallic lines. Use an air blower to dust them off, or spray them lightly and allow them to dry off. Cleaning the cooling fins will guarantee a better cooling process and fresh air inside the room.

8. The coils have to be cleaned next. The coils will be at the center of the split AC unit. To clean the coils a no-rinse evaporator spray can be used. You can purchase this online or from any hardware store in your locality. Allow the spray to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes when you clean the coils, and then wipe off.

9. Use an antifungal spray to prevent the growth of mold and unpleasant odor in your air conditioner. You can use the antifungal spray to sanitize the coils and the fins. You can wipe the spray off after 5 minutes.
Fit the air filters back once they are completely free from water. Use a dry cloth to wipe any remaining dampness off. Latch back the front panel.

10. As the next step, the drain lines have to cleaned. The drain pipe that connects the indoor unit to the outdoor unit can be detached and cleaned.

11. Now connect the device back to the power source and let it run on maximum cooling. After a period of 20 minutes, the unit will discard all the dirty water as a result of cleaning.

You can visit any split air conditioner cleaning site on YouTube to find more videos on how they go about cleaning. These videos can give you a fair idea of how professional services carry out air conditioner unit cleaning.

How to clean split AC outdoor unit?

How To Clean outdoor Unit

An unclean split AC outdoor unit will affect the performance of the appliance. For you to feel the cooling inside the room, the outside must also be clean. The outdoor unit is responsible for dessipating the heat sent out from the inside. If it is going to be covered in layers together of debris and dirt, the heat is not going to be able to escape. Make sure you schedule to clean the unit outside at least once a year.

→ To start, turn the thermostat off and find the electrical disconnect.
→ On this, find the switch that turns off the air conditioner and switch it off.
→ Vacuum the condenser fins gentle using a soft brush attachment. You can use a water hose spray to clean off.
→ Now, spray the unit with a coil cleaner. Once the coil foams, wait for 15 minutes and then rinse off.

Does cleaning AC filter make it colder?

Yes! Cleaning the AC filter will make the room cooler. When there is clogging in the AC filters, there is going to be a hindrance in the performance naturally. You have to remove all blocks and make way for the cool air to blow out. That is why you will notice a significant increase in the cooling after you have cleaned or replaced air conditioner filters.

How to clean split AC drain pipe?

Cleaning the drain pipe can be done using a pressurised flush kit. This will have a pressurized nozzle that can flush out all dust accumulation or clogs within the drain line. Once this is done, air dry or sun dry the pipe for at least 1 hour before you fix it back.

1. How to clean AC filter in apartment?

Be it an apartment or a mansion, the procedure to clean an AC filter is the same. As aforementioned, the filtered can be removed, washed, dried off with a sponge gently and allowed to air dry completely; and then replaced. If your air conditioner has replaceable air filters, you can simply replace them with new ones.

2. How do I disinfect my split AC?

Disinfecting a split AC can be done by cleaning the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal filters. You can also use a good anti-fungal spray on the coil before you turn the machine on. This will make sure your AC is disinfected and protected.

3. Can I use vinegar to clean air conditioner coils?

If you plan on using vinegar as a coil cleaner for your AC, remember to do so in the ratio 1: 1. Mix 1 part vinegar in 1 part water. Now, this mixture can be used as a natural coil cleaner. You can check out any video online or on YouTube to get this method and proportion correctly.

4. How much does AC service cost in India?

Data available says that AC service in India can cost anywhere from Rs 300 to Rs 700. However, it depends on what issue the AC has. It can turn out to be expensive to fill gas that has leaked or to replace coils, or other pieces in the AC.

Wrapping Up

With this we have reached the end of our post. Share with us what are your views on cleaning split air conditioner air filters and let us know how do you go about filter cleaning at your home.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.