Self-cleaning of the AC has become popular in recent years due to the lockdown and subsequent social distancing norms. They also are cost-effective as they save the servicing and maintenance charges that you might incur otherwise. Today, in this article we will give you step by step instructions on how to clean a split AC.

Air Conditioner

Before we get to the instructions, let us first understand how cleaning the AC regularly can be beneficial for the users.

Maintaining and cleaning an AC regularly is very important to ensure the optimum performance and longevity of the AC. The dust and debris accumulated on the filters and coils increase the stress on the AC and can increase the power consumption of the AC which will, in turn, hike your electricity bill.

Not cleaning your AC unit regularly will also affect your health as the moulds and bacteria growth in the coils will contaminate the air and can give you allergies.

Tools Required:

Before we get to know the procedure to clean the air conditioners, here are some of the tools you will need;

  • Leather hand gloves
  • Fin comb
  • Screwdriver of different sizes
  • A/C coil cleanser
  • Foaming house cleaner (optional)
  • Rags/ tissue papers (optional)
  • Soft-bristled cleaning brush
  • Antifungal cleaner
  • No-rinse evaporator spray

Now, as we know, a split AC has two units; one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. In this article, we will know how to clean each of the units in detail.

Cleaning the Indoor Unit

indoor unit


In the indoor unit, you will need to clean the filters, the evaporator coils and the evaporator fins.


  • In order to clean the indoor unit of the AC, first ensure that the AC is switched off and unplugged.
  • Place a cleaning bag around the entire indoor unit. This is to keep the floor and the wall clean while you are cleaning the AC. This will also catch any dirty water that might come out of the unit while cleaning.
  • Now remove the front panel of the AC, this is different in different models of AC. In some AC you simply need to press the unlock button on the side of the unit and in others, you need a screwdriver to remove the front panel of the AC.

Cleaning the Air Filters:

Air Filters

  • Once you have removed the front panel you will see the two air filters.
  • Gently, remove both the air filters from the unit and run them under room temperature water. Wash it with plain water first, if the filters are not cleaned with plain water you can add some gentle house cleaner or soap and clean them.
  • Now keep the filters in a place to dry completely.

If you have other filters such as bacteria filters or anti-fungal filters near the two main filters, then do the same with them as well.

Cleaning the Evaporator Fins:

  • Next step is to clean the evaporator fins in the unit. Evaporator fins are present just below the air filter. Once you remove the air filter you can see the evaporator fins. These fins accumulate dust and dirt easily and need to be cleaned once every 3 months.

There are multiple ways to clean the evaporator fins.

  • The first method is to use the blower mode of a vacuum cleaner and gently blow on the fins from a distance and clean the dust accumulated on the fins. While doing this make sure you have your mouth and nose covered to avoid dust irritation and allergies.
  • You can also clean the coil using a no-rinse evaporator spray which comes in a foamy solution. Just spray the foam on the evaporator fins ensuring that the entire area is covered with the solution.
  • Now, let it sit for 20 – 30 mins or till the foamy spray is completely absorbed in the fins. Now the fins are cleaned. This is an easy and efficient way of cleaning the evaporator fins.

Or you can follow the second one after you do the first in order to deep clean the evaporator fins. You can also spray some anti-fungal fluid into the evaporator to avoid moulds and bacteria growing there.

Reassembly: The next step is to put the filters back in their place and close the front panel of the AC. Plugin the AC and switch it on. Keep the AC at the default temperature of 24 degrees and now put it in the highest fan mode for 45 to 60 mins. This is important to completely clean and dry the coils. 

Cleaning the Outdoor Unit :

Outdoor Unit

  • You need to clean the fans and the condenser coils in the outdoor unit using high-pressure water. Before doing anything ensure that the AC is switched off and unplugged.
  • First, use a high-pressure water dispenser to clean the visible condenser coils of the outdoor unit. This includes the back and the side of the unit.
  • Also, clean the front fan panel of the unit. As the outdoor unit is exposed, it will be extra dirty, you need to clean it for a while until the water runs clear. This can be the basic cleaning of the outdoor unit. If you are unsure about opening up the unit, just clean the exterior and this can also improve the cooling efficiency of the AC.
  • Now, using a screwdriver removes the top portion of the outdoor unit. Once the top part is removed you can see the condenser coil as well as the fan inside it. On the other side of the AC, you will find the PCB board, motor as well as electrical wires in the AC.
  • Be extra careful to ensure no water touches the PCB board, the motor or the wires. Using a high-pressure water spray clean the condenser coil and the fan from inside. This will take some time, depending on the dirt that has accumulated in your outdoor unit. Keep spraying till the water runs clear.
  • You can use a comb fin to straighten the bent coils. This can also be done by other household objects such as the back of a spoon or a blunt knife. Be careful so that you don’t break the fragile coils.
  • Now, simply reattach the top part of the AC using the screwdriver and continue using the AC normally.


Cleaning an AC is not a difficult task if you know the basic parts and operation of the AC. If you have the correct tools you can easily clean the entire AC without having to pay for the servicing and maintenance charges of the AC. However, if you have any doubt you should always rely on the professionals to do the cleaning.