How To Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter?

Your RV air conditioner filter works hard to keep the air inside your RV fresh and clean, keeping your health in check and making your stay in the RV comfortable.

That said, you should take it upon yourself to take good care of the unit to ensure it continues functioning well and purifying the air around your home. In other words, you’ll need to do some occasional maintenance on it.

This post will take you through the steps you should follow to properly clean the filters of your RV air conditioner.

How To Clean Your RV AC Filter

We’ve come across some folks arguing that it’s not a good idea to clean AC filters…that replacing them is the best option when they become dirty.

But that’s untrue…


These filters are made using 100% washable materials and cleaning them with water will not affect their functionality on efficiency in any way.

HOWEVER, you’d want to check if your Ac filters are the disposable type. If yes, you don’t have any other option than replacing them as this type features a non-washable material.

Follow these steps to clean your AC filters to keep them working in tiptop condition:

1. Remove the filter from the AC

With the air conditioner turned off and power supply to it cut off, locate the filter location and remove it.

If you’re not familiar with AC units, you’d want to start by studying your unit first so that you can easily tell where the filter is located.

Once you locate it, you’ll need to remove it from the unit for cleaning.

Depending on the model of AC you’re using, you might just need to push tabs to remove it or remove some screws (consult your user manual on how to remove your AC filter).

once you locate the filter, take it out of your AC completely to prevent the dirt and dust it has trapped from getting way to its interior components.

NEVER turn on your AC with the filter removed as this can give unfiltered air an easy entry into your RV and allow the debris to reach your unit’s circuit and cause damage.

2. Vacuum it

Now turn on your vacuum, set it to low or medium setting, and use it to remove any visible grime and dirt on the surface of your air conditioner filter. Avoid using too much pressure as it can dent or even destroy your filter.

Even if your filter doesn’t seem to have a lot of dust and dirt on it, vacuuming it will help make it even easier to wash, so don’t ignore this step.

If you do regular cleaning on your filter and it doesn’t have much grime and dirt on it, vacuuming must be just enough to clean it and get it back to its top working condition.

3. Wash it

If you’re doing a deep cleaning for a filter that hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, then you’ll need to wash it with water right after you have vacuumed it.

For this step, you’ll need to use lukewarm warm and a mild detergent.

Put your filter in the resulting soapy water and ensure it gets completely covered in the water. Leave it for about 10-20 minutes.

For a filter that has been cleaned for a long time and looks dirty, consider leaving it in the soapy solution for a little longer, about 1-2 hours.

After the waiting time is over, you might consider using a SOFT brush to remove any grime left on the filter.

Afterward, you can use a hose to rinse both sides of the filter. When clean water starts dripping from the filter, it means it’s totally clean and you can stop the cleaning.

4. Disinfect it

There’s no doubt that the filter for your RV air condition is also harboring some bacteria which you don’t want to find their way into the air you breathe inside your RV.

So, how do you get rid of them?

It’s simple, you disinfect your filter. Prepare a solution of water and vinegar in equal portions. then, put the solution on a spray bottle and spray it on both sides of the filter.

Leave the filter around 10 minutes and then rinse it with clean running water.

5. Put it right back!

Having vacuumed, washed, and disinfected your air conditioner filter, now it’s time to put it back to its place.

BUT pause!

Before you do that, you’d want to give your filter some time to dry completely (this will take several hours). You can place it on a drying rack if you have one or place it on clean newspapers outside your RV to dry.

When the filter is completely dry, put it back right where it was and place the unit cover.

The filter is now ready to filter the air entering your RV with maximum efficiency!

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your AC Filter?

If you don’t think it’s really necessary to clean your AC filters, think again!

The filters that come with the best RV air conditioner play a crucial role trapping any contaminants, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens that might otherwise end up inside your RV and cause health problems.


Here’s a quick outline of the main reasons why you need to clean your AC filter:

  • Dirty AC filters can greatly reduce the efficiency and cooling capacity of your AC. As the dust and grime build up on the filter, it restricts the proper flow of air through your AC. this not only reduces the amount of air flowing from your AC but also causes the unit to draw more energy in order to hit it regular cooling capacity.
  • Apart from purifying the air in your RV, the AC filter also helps protect your air conditioner’s interior components from getting damaged debris. This means the filter should remain at its best at all times.
  • As the filters go uncleaned for a long time, they’ll start accumulating dust in your AC ducts. This can easily cause respiratory problems inside your RV, especially if you have someone with respiratory issues on board
  • Prolonged periods of using you air conditioner with a dirty filter can cause the entire unit to go bad and send you back to the stores for a new model. Replacing an air conditioner is costly, and you would want to avoid it by all means.

How Often To Clean Your Air Condition Filter?

Now that you have cleaned your filter, that doesn’t mark the end of cleaning. remember it continues trapping those contaminants when your AC is running… and that means you’ll need to clean it regularly.

Some manufacturers recommend you clean your AC filter after every 30 days (monthly) or after every 2 weeks. Check your user manual to see what the manufacturer recommends for your specific unit.

If you have any pets or allergies on-board your RV, you should make the cleaning more frequent.

It’s also worth noting that Ac filters have a limited lifespan, meaning it’ll reach a time when it’ll become totally non-functional. This prompts you to replace it with a new one to keep your unit working well.

Signs that you need to replace your AC filter include the presence of tearing or any other damages to the filter.

TIP: Consider taking spare filters with you for your own convenience when the need for replacement arises.

Also, make sure you RV air conditioner-specific filter. You might not know that your ordinary home AC filters aren’t the same as the RV AC filters. The latter is designed for a completely different environment…fitting residential AC filters on your RV unit will not carry out the job well.

The Bottom Line

The above guide outlines the key steps to follow to clean your RV air conditioner filter. This part of the AC maintenance routine is crucial to ensure your unit works excellently to purify the air around your RV and keep it clean and fresh.

To keep your AC in top working condition, be sure to conduct this maintenance exercise on a biweekly or monthly basis (or as recommended by your AC manufacturer).

if you have a pet or allergy onboard your RV, then you should consider doing the cleaning more frequently.

  • Updated January 27, 2020
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