Project Guide

How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter

Vacuum the Filter
  • Turn off and unplug your air conditioner 
  • Use a screwdriver to open the unit and remove the filter. 
  • If your central air filter has been recently cleaned and shows no signs of grime buildup, you can vacuum the surface with the hose attachment to remove any debris. 
  • If the vacuum hose doesn’t remove the buildup, you will need to wash it. 
Wash the Filter
  • Fill a sink with one part water and one part white vinegar, and then allow your HVAC filter to soak in the solution for one hour.
  • Rinse it off with fresh water and let it fully dry before returning it to your AC unit.
  • If the filter is too large to fit in your sink, you can also wash it with a garden hose outside. Be sure to lower the water pressure, so you don’t accidentally damage the filter.
Replace Worn Filters

Air conditioner filters become worn or damaged over time and need to be replaced.

  • To check for signs of damage, turn your unit off and remove the central AC filter while wearing your rubber gloves.
  • If your air filter shows signs of damage, like tears, holes or excessive grime, it’s time to replace.
  • When you replace an AC filter, read the packaging carefully to see how long the manufacturer guarantees its effectiveness. Make a note on your calendar to change the filter again according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
AC Filter Cleaning Tips
  • Clean your AC filter monthly for optimal efficiency. 
  • The method you choose for cleaning the filter depends on the type of filter you have. Review the manufacturer instructions to confirm the best technique.
  • Check to see if you have an electrostatic air filter and make sure it’s washable. If not, you will need to replace it when it wears out.
  • Also make sure to regularly clean the coils and fan using a canister of condensed air to blow away dust and buildup.