How to Clean Your AC Air Filters
Cleaning your air filters regularly keeps your lungs, HVAC system, and home healthy. Dirty filters circulate dust and allergens throughout your home, which can irritate family members with asthma and allergies.
Disposable filters have cardboard frames that can’t be cleaned and must be thrown away; reusable, electrostatic filters can be rinsed clean. Start with a vacuum with a bristled attachment to suck up as much debris as possible. Click here now
Keeping up with changing and cleaning filters can be hard. Energy Star recommends changing your filter every three months, but that time frame can vary based on the amount of dust and dirt in your environment.
Vacuuming your filter is the first step to keeping it clean. Use a vacuum hose without a brush attachment to remove as much of the stuck-on debris as possible, then sit it on a hard surface and allow one side to air dry for at least three hours.
If you have a washable, electrostatic air filter (check your manual to see if this type of filter can be washed), fill a sink with water and white vinegar and soak your filter for an hour. Then rinse and let it dry completely before returning it to your air conditioner unit. Make sure to shut off your AC unit before starting. That will prevent unfiltered air from circulating while you’re vacuuming or washing your filters.
Whether you have an air conditioner or central HVAC system, there are easy ways to clean your filters. A simple cleaning solution of water and vinegar can help you remove grime, sanitize the filter, and remove unpleasant odors. You can also purchase a commercial cleaner made for the purpose at your local hardware store.
To start, open your vents to expose the filters. Vacuum the filters with a brush attachment to remove as much loose dirt and dust as possible. If your filter is washable, rinse it off with warm running water. Allow it to dry completely before reinserting it into your vent.
If your filter is very dirty, soak it in a mixture of water and vinegar for an hour. Be careful not to bend the filter during the process, or you could ruin it. Rinse it well, and let it dry in a sunny spot for an hour before reversing the steps to install it.
When vacuuming doesn’t get rid of the dirt and dust on your filter, you can use a mixture of water and vinegar to wash it. Make sure the AC is turned off before attempting to clean the filter. Using the air conditioner with a dirty filter can blow the debris and pollutants, including allergens and mold spores, throughout your home.
Start by washing the filter frame and removing any large chunks of dirt. Mix equal parts of warm water and distilled white vinegar, dip a sponge or soft-bristled brush into the solution and gently wipe down the filter.
Let the filter dry before reinstalling it in your appliance or vent opening. If possible, place it outdoors in the sun to speed up the drying process. You should clean your filters at least once a month, but more frequently if you live in an area with high pollution or participate in a dusty hobby like woodworking.
Using water to wash your AC filters helps them stay clean longer. You can use your sink, a bucket or any large container to soak electrostatic filters in a solution of warm water and white vinegar for an hour. You can also dip the filter in a mixture of mild detergent or soap for deeper cleaning.
After rinsing, you should let the filter dry completely before putting it back in your AC unit. You can use a towel or a soft-bristled brush to get rid of any caked-on grime.
It’s important to regularly clean your filters because a dirty one can block air flow, leading to your AC system overheating and expensive repairs. It can also reduce indoor air quality and increase your risk of respiratory issues. Whether you have a whole-home AC system or a window unit (see this TikTok cleaning hack), you can easily clean your filters by following these simple steps. Just remember to read the manufacturer instructions for your appliance before you start.