How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter

hand holding remote for air conditioner
Photo: Getty
Cleaning the filter can help keep your space cooler, your air cleaner and your wallet fuller. Read on to find out how to do it.

An air conditioner works by pulling all of your room's air into the unit, cooling it, and then blowing it back into the room. If your air conditioner's filter is in good shape, your air will also get a little cleaner in the process. If not, your energy bill will increase, as your A/C has to work harder to push out clean, cool air amid all the gunk. So be sure to clean your window unit's filter at least once a month.

Almost all A/C filters are washable. Simply pull the filter out (but be careful not to damage the delicate aluminum vent behind it), and rinse it in your sink or tub. Then use a little dishwashing liquid, and scrub with a soft-bristled brush to get any additional dust or grime out. Finally, once the filter is dry, run a vacuum cleaner hose or dust buster over it to grab any additional dust. When the filter is clean and dry, just snap it back into the unit.

If you have central air conditioning, be sure to use a high-quality filter and change it out at least every three months to keep your energy bill down, your home cooler and to reduce the amount of dust, dander and allergens in the air.

Nestpert: Home expert Danny Lipford is the host of the TV show Today's Homeowner and the radio show Homefront. His website,, features thousands of home improvement articles and videos.