For anyone concerned about their indoor air quality, an air conditioner unit proves to be rather indispensable, especially if you live somewhere with scorching summers (New Jersey, I’m looking at you!)
However, as convenient as air conditioners are, they do require some maintenance to keep them in good working condition. Air conditioner coils are essential to the cooling process, so cleaning them periodically should be a priority.
Today, I’ll be helping you find the best air conditioner coil cleaner with reviews of the top 4 products on the market and a detailed buying guide.
Table of Contents
What is an Air Conditioner Coil Cleaner?
When you put your air conditioner to use for a long period, wearing down and accumulating debris becomes inevitable. This can compromise the efficiency of the unit’s performance when it comes to cooling the incoming air.
An air conditioner cleaner is a solution or substance specially formulated to clean your air conditioner coils by removing any buildup of dirt, dust, grease, or other unwanted residues. Typically, air conditioner coil cleaners come in small spray bottles so you can apply the detergent substance directly on the coil surface.
As you let the product sit for several minutes, it’ll loosen or dissolve the deposited dirt so you can wipe it off or rinse it down easily. Consequently, the performance of your air conditioner is enhanced.
Why do You Need to Clean Air Conditioner Coils?
As I mentioned above, the extended use of your air conditioner is going to cause an unwanted buildup of scum and grime. You may not realize this right away, but you do need to clean your air conditioner coils if you want to keep enjoying fresh, cool air out of it.
You see, various consequences can result from leaving your air conditioner coils dirty. For starters, the unit’s performance efficiency will decrease because the accumulated dirt will reduce its power, so you won’t be receiving as much cool air as you need.
Also, the air conditioner is likely to run at a notably higher level of noise and become annoying to be around whenever you turn it on.
Moreover, since the inefficient performance of the air conditioner will hinder adequate air circulation, your energy bills will probably increase because you’ll have to set the unit to utilize more power.
It doesn’t stop there, dirty coils may end up costing you hefty money for repair jobs. The fact that your air conditioner isn’t working properly will affect its components with a high possibility of malfunctioning over time.
Not to mention, having dirty coils can cause foul odors when you turn on the air conditioner. The accumulation of grease, oil, debris, and other dirt particles will have the air conditioner blow air that smells musty or moldy, making it unpleasant to use.
If you don’t want to deal with any of these horrible scenarios, you’ll need to use an air conditioner coil cleaner for your unit.
That being said, many people do wonder whether or not cleaning air conditioner coils can be a DIY job in the first place. To that, I say you can definitely perform it on your own, but the process does require a lot of care.
You want to avoid bending the fins of the coils, paying extra attention not to move, bend, or break any of the tubes around. It also goes without saying that you must shut off the power to your air conditioner first to prevent the risk of getting electrocuted.
How to Check Air Conditioner Coils?
To check if your air conditioner coils require cleaning, you should know how to easily access them for visual inspection. Please be sure to first shut off the power to your air conditioner for safety.
If you’re working with a window unit, you should take it out of the window and lay it on a flat surface for cleaning, preferably outdoors. While you can usually clean a window unit just like a central unit, you’ll be able to access the coils easier if you remove the air conditioner out from the window.
Then, proceed to remove the cover from the air conditioner using the right size screwdriver or socket depending on your unit. Once you remove the screws or bolts securing the cover, make sure to set them aside in a safe place.
Now, simply pull the lid off your air conditioner to expose the coils. Some units feature a grill with a fan mounted on top, in which case you need to support the cover as you remove it to avoid leaving the fan hanging by its wired electrical connections.
Either way, you should be able to access the coils for cleaning or to determine if there’s an issue. As a rule of thumb, you should check your air conditioner coils every season and clean them at least once a year.
What to Consider When Buying an Air Conditioner Coil Cleaner
To make sure you buy the best possible air conditioner coil cleaner, you need to consider the following features before completing a purchase.
Air conditioner coils come with a fair share of hard-to-reach spots, so you want a coil cleaner that’ll be able to maneuver its way around such tricky areas. For this reason, you need a 360° coil cleaner that you can use in any position, including upside down.
As I mentioned earlier, the buildup of dirt and grease on coils can cause a foul odor that just sticks to the circulating air. This is why the best coil cleaners are formulated to remove both dirt and odors. Some can even neutralize the smell immediately.
An air conditioner coil cleaner with corrosion inhibitors is crucial if you care about the longevity of your unit. This way, you won’t have to worry about the integrity of any metal or nonmetal component in the unit.
If a coil cleaner is biodegradable, this means that it doesn’t have a harmful impact on the environment. You also won’t have to worry about breathing any toxic chemicals as it doesn’t produce fumes upon spraying.
The best air conditioner coil cleaners come with a self-rinse option, which means that the product will rinse itself without your intervention. This can really cut your cleaning session short.
Kicking off this list with a widely popular product, the AC-Safe Air Conditioner Foaming Coil Cleaner is a heavy-duty detergent-based cleaner that effectively removes stubborn stains, dirt, and oil from air conditioner coils.
Reliable and versatile, you can use it to clean most coils including window air conditioners, auto radiators, central HVAC units, and fan blades. The AC-Safe coil cleaner is also very easy to apply since it comes as a sprayer can.
What’s more, you can use the spray in any position and it’ll still work thanks to the 360° valve design that helps you tackle hard-to-reach areas. The aggressive foam will then liquefy unwanted dirt and grease residue while preserving the condition of metal since the formula is enhanced with corrosion inhibitors.
Additionally, I very much like that the product is self-rinsing so I don’t need to worry about rinsing it down. The AC-Safe Foaming Coil Cleaner has a pleasant lemon scent which will help remove the musty odors that typically accompany air conditioner coils after being left for prolonged periods.
To top it off, this foaming cleaner is actually pretty affordable, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re on a budget.
- The formula contains metal corrosion inhibitors
- No rinsing required
- Has a nice scent
- Budget-friendly option
- Needs repeated use for heavy buildup
If you’re dealing with stubborn dirt buildup on your air conditioner coils, this professional-grade foaming solvent is definitely up for the job. The WEB Condenser Coil Cleaner will help you get rid of unwanted dirt and in simple steps without the usual hassle of coil cleaning chores.
This coil cleaner utilizes foaming action to help loosen dirt and grease buildup on your air conditioner coils, which makes it easier for you to remove. All you have to do is: shake the can well, spray its contents on the coils, then let it sit for several minutes to break down the residue and finish up with spraying water to rinse it off.
What I particularly appreciate about the WEB Condenser Coil Cleaner is the featured biodegradable formula. This means it doesn’t produce any fumes, so it’s rather safe for you and the environment. I also like the 360° spray nozzle design, which allows you to hold the can upside down and still have it work.
Thanks to the convenient design of the WEB coil cleaner coupled with the fact that it’s a spray, you’ll be able to easily reach tricky spots for thorough cleaning.
- Doesn’t produce harmful fumes
- Works even when you hold it upside down
- Its scent isn’t too harsh
- The foam spray isn’t very consistent
If you’re not a fan of foaming coil cleaners and, at the same time, you’re looking for a spray cleaner that offers lots of value for money, then you may want to consider wrapping up your search right here.
Also manufactured by WEB, the AC Flow Coil Cleaner comes ready to use so you can start cleaning once it arrives. The product doesn’t require any sort of mixing or diluting before use, which makes it that much more convenient thanks to its specially engineered formula.
One thing I find to be quite impressive is that the AC Flow is non-acid. Instead, the product contains degreasers and surfactants in an alkaline formula.
This allows it to effectively clean and deodorize your air conditioner coils without damaging the metal of the coils. It also helps prevent further buildup of dirt, grease, and scum, so future cleaning sessions should be quicker and easier to complete.
The bottle comes with a 36-inch flexible sprayer to maximize your reach in tricky places. If you can’t rinse the product after a few minutes of application, the WEB AC Flow offers a no-rise option where you turn the system for half an hour and let the conversation do the rinsing.
- Doesn’t require mixing or dilution
- The non-acid formula prevents metal damage
- Includes long flexible sprayer
- Great value for money
- The solution is a bit heavy, trigger spray maybe tiring
Last but not least, this is another excellent coil cleaner manufactured by WEB. The Pro Coil Cleaner is often used by HVAC professionals who realize the importance of keeping air conditioner coils to avoid expensive repairs later on.
Not only does applying the WEB Pro Coil Cleaner during the heavy air conditioner season help your unit run more efficiently, but it’s also very economical to use as it provides twice the amount of cleaning solution than ready to use products.
So how does the Pro Coil Cleaner work? Well, the bottle contains concentrated detergent that adopts advanced technology to remove a wide range of soils quickly and easily.
The recommended dilution ratio is 1:6 for condenser coils, 1:10 for evaporator coils, and 1:20 for general degreasing. You can apply the diluted solution with a sprayer, sponge, or cloth, and you can wipe or rinse it with clean water.
The formula is non-foaming, but you can obtain foaming action if you use a foaming nozzle. It’s also 100% biodegradable non-acid, non-alkali, solvent-free, and contains no butyl compounds.
The Pro Coil Cleaner is safe to use for inside or outside coils, as well as food processing facilities. Also, it won’t cause damage to aluminum (or other non-ferrous metals such as copper), rubber, or polymeric roofing.
- 100% biodegradable with a neutral PH
- Safe for use with food processing facilities
- Doesn’t damage aluminum or rubber
- Easy to follow instructions
- Economical choice
- Requires dilution before use
Choosing the best air conditioner coil cleaner can be a challenging task, especially with features like rotation, odor removal, and self-rinsing to look out for.
However, I think the AC-Safe Air Conditioner Foaming Coil Cleaner is today’s winner. Not only is it extremely easy to use, but it also comes with a special 360° valve for thorough cleaning. It even works to neutralize odors almost immediately, all the while being an affordable option for any budget.