The tools needed to clean an air conditioner include a vacuum, a can of aerosol coil cleaner, cloths, a cleaning brush, a screwdriver and a can of compressed air. Window units and exterior air conditioners also benefit from pressure washing.
Vacuuming removes dust and loose debris from the exterior of the air conditioner. A small vacuum is also helpful for cleaning the interior of the air conditioner and the back sides of the access panels. Vacuuming every three to six months removes surface dust before it moves inside the air conditioner.
Compressed air cleans the coils and other areas that cannot be reached with a cleaning cloth or brush. Spray coil cleaner removes stubborn grime, and it should be applied after dusting. Coil cleaning typically involves spraying on the cleaning agent, waiting several minutes and then wiping the coils with a cloth or brush.
Pressure washing removes dirt, bird droppings, pollen and other accumulated material from exterior air conditioners. This procedure involves shutting off the air conditioner, unplugging it, and spraying the interior and exterior with the pressure washer. Pressure washing is also effective on metal mounting brackets and sleeves. It is unsafe to operate the air conditioner until it is completely dry.