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How to Clean Your Car's Air Conditioning System

 
By Max. D Gray. September 14, 2023
How to Clean Your Car's Air Conditioning System

Are you tired of breathing in stale, dusty air every time you get in your car? Do you worry about the health risks of breathing in mold and bacteria that can build up in your car's air conditioning system? If so, you're not alone.

Many people don't realize that their car's air conditioning system needs to be cleaned regularly, just like their home's air conditioning system. In fact, a dirty air conditioning system can be a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants.

In this article by oneHOWTO, we'll show you how to clean your car's air conditioning system in just a few simple steps. We'll also provide some tips for preventing bad smells from happening in the first place.

You may also be interested in: How To Remove Musty Smell From Your Car

How to clean and disinfect my car's air conditioning ducts

Your car's air conditioning system can get dirty and smelly over time, especially if you live in a humid climate. Here are the steps on how to clean and disinfect your car's air conditioning ducts:

  1. Clean the vents: use a foam brush and a mixture of warm water and vinegar to clean the vents. The vinegar helps to kill bacteria and fungi, and the warm water helps to loosen the dirt and dust.

  2. Dehumidify the vehicle: turn the heating on to maximum power with the car on for five minutes. Then, turn off the car and let it sit for at least six more minutes. This will help to remove the moisture from the air conditioning ducts.

  3. Apply a disinfectant: apply a disinfectant product that is specifically designed for air conditioning systems. This will help to kill bacteria and fungi and prevent them from growing back.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dirt or debris from the vents before you start cleaning.

  • If you have a dehumidifier, you can use it to help remove the moisture from the air conditioning ducts.

  • Be sure to wear gloves and a mask when cleaning the air conditioning ducts, as you may be exposed to dust and chemicals.

  • Allow the car to air out for several minutes after cleaning before getting inside.

By following these steps, you can keep your car's air conditioning system clean and disinfected, ensuring that you and your passengers enjoy fresh, healthy air every time you drive.

Be sure to read this other article that explains the different types of air conditioning systems.

How to Clean Your Car's Air Conditioning System - How to clean and disinfect my car's air conditioning ducts

Why does my car's air conditioning smell bad?

There are a few reasons why your car's air conditioning might smell bad. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Bacteria and fungi: the air conditioning system of a car is a nest of microorganisms, since thousands of bacteria and fungi accumulate. The risk of bacterial growth generally occurs in the evaporator, that is, the place where the humidity is very high, thus causing a bad smell in the air conditioning.

  • Smoking and pets: Another reason why your car's air conditioning may smell bad is from smoking inside it or from transporting animals on a regular basis. These are very strong odors and difficult to eliminate from car upholstery, since they remain impregnated for a long time, even in the cracks and air conditioning ducts.

  • Dirty air filter: The air filter in your car's air conditioning system helps to remove dust, pollen, and other pollutants from the air before it enters the cabin. If the air filter is dirty, it can allow these pollutants to pass through, which can cause a bad smell.

  • Leaky hoses: if there are any leaks in the hoses that connect the air conditioning system, it can allow moisture to build up, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.

Do not miss this other article where we explain how to clean the car roof lining.

How to Clean Your Car's Air Conditioning System - Why does my car's air conditioning smell bad?

How to prevent bad smells from your car’s air conditioning

There are a few things you can do to prevent bad smells from your car's air conditioning:

  • Perform regular maintenance: have your air conditioning system serviced by a professional at least once a year. This will help to remove any build-up of bacteria and fungi, and it will also help to ensure that the system is working properly.

  • Change the air filter regularly: the air filter should be changed every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. This will help to prevent dust, pollen, and other pollutants from building up in the system and causing bad smells.

  • Avoid smoking in your car: smoking can leave a lingering odor that is difficult to remove. If you do smoke in your car, be sure to air it out thoroughly afterwards.

  • Don't transport pets in your car on a regular basis: the same goes for pets. Their fur and dander can also cause bad smells. If you do transport pets in your car, be sure to clean it thoroughly afterwards.

  • Check for leaks: if you notice any leaks in the hoses that connect the air conditioning system, have them repaired as soon as possible. This will help to prevent moisture from building up and causing problems.

Be sure to check this other article on how to clean fabric seats in cars.

How often should the air conditioner be cleaned?

Your car's air conditioning system should be cleaned regularly to remove dirt, dust, and bacteria. This is especially important before spring and winter, when the risk of allergies and diseases is higher.

If you frequently transport different people in your car, such as in a taxi, VTC, or private driver service, you should clean the air conditioning system even more often.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Change the air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.

  • Have the system professionally cleaned once a year.

  • Use a disinfectant spray to clean the vents and evaporator.

  • Run the air conditioning on high for 10 minutes once a week to help circulate the air and remove moisture.

By following these tips, you can keep your car's air conditioning system clean and running smoothly, ensuring that you and your passengers enjoy fresh, healthy air every time you drive. Do not miss this other article where we tell you how to remove old car smell.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Clean Your Car's Air Conditioning System, we recommend you visit our Car Maintenance and Repair category.

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