How to Safely Remove Mold from an Air Conditioner

Written by: Paul Cathro

Updated on: December 23, 2022

We explain how to remove mold from an AC unit in a safe way. Read on to find out how.

how to safely remove mold from an air conditioner 1

Mold is one of the biggest problems and worries homeowners and renters face.

The repercussions of having mold inside the home can extend to structural issues to health problems.

Some places in the home are easy to spot the growth of mold such as basements, near windows and bathrooms in particular.

Although the site of mold is a real concern, it is mostly very easy to spot, and you can act swiftly to protect the building and your family’s health.

why your air conditioning unit smells 2

However, there is one place where mold growths may not be so visible every day – but is even more important to get rid of.

Mold in air conditioning unit may not be spotted early but the unit may be blowing these mold spores around your home ready for your family and family pets to breathe in.

Not to forget the damage it could do to your expensive unit. This is why you need to check your air conditioning regularly and know how to remove mold from it if you see any.

How to Remove Mold in Air Conditioning Units Safely

Below you can find all you need to know about removing mold in AC units. Starting with what you need to have at hand to do the job well.

What You Will Need

  • Protective eyewear
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
  • Laundry detergent
  • Vacuum cleaner and attachments
  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Bleach
  • Cloth
  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Screwdriver
  • Scrub brush

how to safely remove mold from an air conditioner 2

Recommended: Don’t miss our guide to the top tiny AC units on the market.

Top Tip Before Getting Started

Before starting the steps to removing mold from your window AC unit below, it is strongly recommended to only do it if the room is well ventilated.

This will avoid you breathing in mold spores and putting your health at risk. Furthermore, proceed with caution when handling bleach.


15 Quick and Easy Steps

Follow these steps to get rid of mold from your air conditioning unit while also staying completely safe.

If you are unsure of any stage or you believe something isn’t quite right, it is always best to consult with a trained professional such as the company you bought the air conditioning unit from.

  1. Stay safe by putting on all your safety accessories. This includes a mask, safety goggles, and safety gloves.
  2. Switch off the AC unit and keep it unplugged from the mains throughout this process.
  3. Take the unplugged unit to an area that has great ventilation, such as a room with a lot of windows, a garage with an open door or a veranda.
  4. Remove the front of the AC grill. Modern units enable this easily by pushing down on it and sliding. Some units may require you to remove it by taking out the screws with a screwdriver.
  5. Remove the front filter and clean it. If this filter is replaceable and it needs replacing, then do not hesitate to grab a new one.
  6. Washable filters can be thrown into a sink and washed using detergent.
  7. To wash the filter best, place it in a full sink of hot water and leave it there to soak for around 15-20 minutes.
  8. Next, use a scrubbing brush to give a thorough clan to both sides of the filter. Then rinse it and hang it to dry.
  9. Go back to the AC unit and unscrew the cover that was directly behind the front grill.
  10. You may find mold in this area and it should be cleaned or wiped away thoroughly. Afterward, take the vacuum and extract as much debris and blockages as possible.
  11. Take the bucket and add one tablespoon of mild dish soap with half a cup of bleach and three gallons of hot water. Use caution when handling bleach and do not get it on your skin, clothes or in your eyes.
  12. Attack the areas with mold using this solution and let the solution rest on any areas that had mold for around 10 minutes.
  13. Rinse the solution away with a clean damp cloth.
  14. Allow all areas of the unit to dry completely before putting it back together.
  15. Your AC unit is now free of mold and ready to be plugged back in for use!

If any of the above steps are not possible with your AC unit model, it is best to talk with your AC unit provider.


Related: How do you know when it’s time to replace your AC?


how to safely remove mold from an air conditioner 3

How to Prevent Mold in Air Conditioners from Forming

The above advice is really effective at ridding your air conditioner of harmful mold spores and keeping the family home safe.

Yet, none of this will be needed if you prevent the air conditioning unit from harboring mold in the first place.

There are different ways that you can prevent mold growth in an air conditioning unit – and here are the best:

  • Check the unit regularly – it is easy to let little jobs like these fall down the to-do list but try and make more of an effort to check the unit consistently. Sometimes you will encounter a musty smell near the unit, meaning it likely has a build-up of mold.
  • Services and maintenance – Another way of keeping up with checks is by booking in regular air conditioning services with a professional company, likely the one you bought the unit from who could provide additional advice.
  • Clean it! – the most obvious answer to preventing mold is not just checking it but cleaning it too. Make sure you dry the unit after cleaning it to prevent moisture from accumulating that can lead to mold. You may also need to clean or replace filters frequently.
  • Look at the air intakes – these pull air in and could be blocked with bird droppings or other obstacles. Make sure this isn’t the case.

Overall, give your air conditioning unit the attention it deserves to prevent mold from forming, and get rid of it quickly if it does!


About the Author Paul Cathro

Paul is an ex-HVAC engineer with 5 years 'in the trade'.

He acquired in 2022 and aims to make it the internet's most comprehensive HVAC resource for small homes in the next few years.

You can learn more about Paul's story here.

Browse his published work on the website here.

Connect with me:

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}