How can you clean a window air conditioner's vents?

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I live in an apartment and the window (ours are inserted into the wall) air conditioners are old. I clean the air conditioner filter every few weeks but the air still smells when I use it. The vents have had smoke, food, animal and who knows what else sucked into it over the years. Is there a safe way to clean it?


  7 answers
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Aug 30, 2015
    The best stuff is only available to licensed A/C people and what I've tried from Lowes isn't that great. I used an aerosol spray.

  • Barb Barb on Aug 30, 2015
    I would try the remote control cleaning trick. Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs or what ever will fit between the louvers. You can also use some Vanilla or drops of a favorite scent on the filter.

  • Vivian Tinder-Thomas Vivian Tinder-Thomas on Aug 30, 2015
    sprinkle some baking soda on one side let set for 30 minutes vacuum off then turn over and do the same to the other side..

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Aug 30, 2015
    There are scented filters available for air conditioners.

  • Shirley Jones Shirley Jones on Aug 30, 2015
    Within the a/c are "fins" which also get very dirty beyond the filters, The "fins" also collect dust, debris and dead insects such as moths. You could probably have a company come out and do it for you, but mine is taken out each year. So prior to the annual installation, a trip to the gas station to use the tire filling hose. An air compressor (less than $100.00) with removable tank is a very handy tool for this and more powerful than a typical vacuum cleaner.

  • Mary Gibbs Mary Gibbs on Aug 30, 2015
    I have window A/C unit that smelled very musty..I use my unit all year long in kitchen. I cleaned the filter monthly but the sticky film that covers the outside casing louvers was the problem...I took this cover off...soaked in sink and used a can of air to blow out the inner workings of the unit... time, dust, bugs, etc have away of gumming up the works... if this fails then I would hire someone to come out and clean..It would be well worth the money to get clean air...and you don't know how dirty it is till you get it clean and smell the roses.

  • Karen DeShong George Karen DeShong George on Sep 03, 2015
    My A/C unit can not be removed (I was told I would be fined if I did). I can not afford to have anyone come in and clean it for me and the office has told me that they are not required to do it either. I have put fabric softener sheets in with the removable filter but they do not last long and I can still smell a foul odor.