Using A Natural Antibacterial Solution For Cleaning Your Air Conditioner

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While running your air conditioner during the summer months, the humidity in the air plus the heat could cause a buildup of bacteria and fungi inside your system. If you are worried about the effect this could have on your family's health, use the following natural, homemade antibacterial solution to clean out your air conditioner unit and vents

What You Will Need

Before you begin, gather the following supplies and ingredients.

  • One-gallon bucket
  • Lint-free rags, such as cloth diapers or mechanics cloths
  • One quart of water
  • One-half cup of castile soap
  • One-half cup of oxygenated bleach
  • 20 drops of tea tree oil
  • New air conditioner filter

The castile soap in this solution cleans away any grime or dirt that can trap bacteria and fungal spores. The oxygenated bleach kills germs but does not have the same harmful, toxic fumes as chlorinated bleach. The tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal that will kill the germs and fungi living in your system


Now that you have your supplies, follow the directions below to make and use the antibacterial cleaner.

  1. Mix the ingredients in the bucket.
  2. Turn off the air conditioning unit and remove the access panel.
  3. Remove and empty the drip pan, then wipe it with the cleaner. Set it aside to allow it to air dry.
  4. Take out and throw away the filter.
  5. Wipe the inside of the air conditioner unit. Be careful around any wires and try not to get the cleaner on them.
  6. Clean the fan, interior vents, and outer ventilation grooves with the cleaner. Do not rinse. The castille soap will stick to the surfaces and leave a slight residue, forming a protective layer that will prevent future growth.
  7. Keep the air conditioner open so it can air dry.
  8. Replace the drip pan and put in the new air filter. Do not turn on the system yet.
  9. Inside your home, remove the vents on the ducts. Vacuum them and wipe them down with the cleaner.
  10. Vacuum the inside of the ducts.
  11. Wipe the ducts as far as you can reach, being careful not to cut yourself on any protruding sheet metal or screws.
  12. Let them air dry. 
  13. Replace the vents and turn on the system. You may detect a slight odor from the cleaner, but this will dissipate after a few cycles.

Even after using the above to clean your air conditioner, you may still be concerned about the quality of your home's air. If so, you may want to contact an air conditioning contractor (such as Wightman Mechanical) to request an air quality test. They can then recommend available options based on the results.