How do you clean a car AC system?

What’s the best way to clean my car’s air conditioning system? The cabin is getting musty, and it smells even worse whenever I turn on the AC. I think the time has come for me to clean it out, but I don’t know where to start.

The smell of your car can have a big impact on your driving experience. Unfortunately, cleaning your car’s air conditioning system is a big chore. If you want to save some time, consider bringing your vehicle to a professional.
If you’d rather save some money, follow these steps to clean your AC system:
  • Step 1: Clean each vent slat with a foam paintbrush dipped in your cleaner. Since the AC will spread the cleaner you use throughout the car, consider using a mixture of white vinegar, water, and lemon juice for a pleasant natural smell.
  • Step 2: Replace your cabin air filter. Simply remove your glove compartment by moving the tabs that keep it in place or unscrewing it. Once it’s out, reach into the empty slot and pull out the old air filter before replacing it with a new one.
  • Step 3: Clean out the intake vents on the outside of your car. Make sure the vents are free of dirt and leaves. Then, spray an enzymatic disinfectant in the vent to kill any mold, bacteria, or fungi that may be growing inside.
  • Step 4: Liberally spray the vents with a disinfectant cleaner to ensure they’re clean and fresh.
  • Step 5: Turn your air conditioner to high, roll down the windows, and let the car air out for five to 10 minutes.
If you’re still having problems with the AC, see a professional cleaner or detailer. While a musty smell might not seem like a major issue, breathing in dust or other contaminants can be unhealthy.
Luckily, you can offset the price of a professional cleaner by saving on car insurance with the Jerry app. As a licensed broker, Jerry helps you compare personalized quotes from over 50 top providers in minutes. When you find a better rate, Jerry can help you switch policies and even cancel your old one!
Joshua Levy
Answered on Nov 23, 2021

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