How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

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Before embarking on a cross-country vacation, ensure your RV is in good working order. One of the aspects many people tend to ignore is cleaning or changing your RV air conditioner filter, although it is easy. Keep reading to find out how to clean an RV air conditioner filter.

How to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

The air conditioner is one of the most important components that offers home-like comfort during your trip in your RV. The weather can fluctuate when traveling across states, you may find yourself using your RV AC rather frequently.

White and brown RV on road during daytime

To ensure that it is supplying the cooling capacity that it is supposed to give, you must perform some maintenance on your air conditioner regularly. The most important aspect, in particular, is to ensure that the air conditioner’s filter is clean.

Steps to Clean an RV Air Conditioner Filter

One thing to remember about filters is that they can only be washed if they aren’t throwaway one-time-use filters. Your RV’s air conditioner most likely contains washable filters, but you should double-check that they can be cleaned just in case.

If your air conditioner’s filters aren’t washable, then you will have to change them. Do not attempt to wash a disposable filter because it will most likely be destroyed in the process. And it is unlikely to recover its prior efficacy.

1. Remove The Filter

Turn off the power to your air conditioner and remove the protective cover. You may need to remove screws from your RV’s AC unit, or you may only need to push tabs to open the cover. You don’t have to remove the lid fully since you may securely remove the filter while it’s half unscrewed.

When removing the filter, you should refer to your air conditioner’s user manual for specific instructions. Also, bear in mind that before inserting the filter, you should not turn on your conditioner. This is because unfiltered air will enter your RV, and debris will most likely cause major damage to your AC equipment.

2. Vacuum The Filter

Remove the filter from the RV to prevent dirt and dust from polluting the inside. Then, using a vacuum on a medium or low setting, remove visible dust and filth from the filter’s surface. Make cautious not to push too hard on the filter, or it can crack or dent.

When vacuuming the filter, it may appear that there isn’t much dirt coming off of it. This is likely if the filter hasn’t been significantly polluted. You should still vacuum the filter thoroughly to make the subsequent stages simpler.

On the other hand, don’t expect to be able to remove all of the dirt from the filter if it is too unclean. Before going on to the following phase, suck up as much as you can. You may be able to vacuum the filter without doing any major cleaning regularly. However, this will only work if the filter is free of difficult grit.

White and gray RV parked near the sea

3. Wash The Filter

If you believe that vacuuming your filter has not sufficiently cleaned it, you should wash it. Begin by filling a jar halfway with lukewarm water and a little amount of mild detergent. To get a thick lather, combine the water and detergent. In some cases, you may choose to use the bathtub in the RV shower as a container. However, avoid using strong cleaning solutions since they can easily harm the filter.

Submerge the filter in the cleaning solution and move it about to ensure that it is thoroughly coated by the soapy solution, then allow it to soak in the water for 10-15 minutes. If the filter is really dirty, let it soak in the solution for 1-2 hours, or longer if required.

You may also use a soft brush to gently remove the gunk from the filter. However, cease using abrasive instruments since they can easily harm the sensitive surface of the filter. Alternatively, you can hose both sides of the filter until only clean water drops out but avoid using a pressure hose nozzle since it could destroy the fragile filter.

If you’re washing it in the RV shower, you may rinse the filter with the detachable showerhead.

4. Deal With Bacteria

After you’ve cleaned the filter of dirt and grime, it’s time to get rid of the germs that are most likely flourishing on it. Prepare a vinegar and water solution with the components in equal quantities. Fill a spray bottle halfway with the solution and spray both sides of the filter.

Allow the filter to settle for approximately 10 minutes before rinsing it with running water. If you have the necessary equipment, you may hose down your filter. This process can also help clean tinted house windowstile countertopsfish tank graveland brick floors.

5. Dry The Filter And Place It Back

Reinstalling the filter in the AC when it is wet is a poor idea. Allow it to air-dry for several hours before reinstalling it in the AC. If you have a rack, you may position it outside the RV in a clean area and place the filter on top to dry. If you don’t have a rack, throw some dry newspapers outside the RV and position the filter on top of them against a wall.

After a few hours, when you are certain that the filter is dry, replace it in the AC and replace the lid. You should now be able to enjoy clean, uninterrupted airflow in your RV.

People sitting on a chair outside the RV

Why Should You Clean the RV Air Conditioner Filter?

An air conditioning device operates by drawing warm air in from the outside, often through an input aperture. The outside air brings with it the dust, pollution, allergies, and particles that it contains. Even the purest mountain air contains dust and pollen.

Most unpleasant materials from the outdoors are kept out of your camper by air conditioner filters. These particles accumulate within the filter while it performs its function. The screen will eventually reach a breaking point. If it is never cleaned, the filter will produce one of two outcomes.

  • The screen becomes blocked to the point that no air can pass through it.
  • The air conditioner flow will be feeble and ineffective, or the filter will not be completely clogged but will become saturated to the point where it will no longer be able to keep the undesired materials out. In this case, the air conditioner is still operational, but it is pushing dirty air through your RV.

Failure to maintain your RV’s air conditioner filter results in not only health problems but also its ducting and the air conditioner itself. At best, you’ll notice an accumulation of particles in the ducts. At worst, it might cause the AC unit to malfunction or worsen health problems such as allergy or asthma symptoms.

Tips on Maintenance of an RV Air Conditioner Filter

After cleaning your air conditioner filter, do not put it back in and forget about it for several months. You should keep the filter in good condition before your next cleaning session to ensure that it lasts as long as possible and that the air conditioner provides the required cooling performance.

Here are some pointers on how to care for your air conditioner’s filter in between cleanings.

Use the AC’s Automatic Cleaning Function

Use the auto cleaning function on your RV’s air conditioning unit if it has one. AC units with this feature employ an internal brush mechanism to clean the filter. The dust is then collected in a tiny chamber and eventually blown outside.

However, you should not rely on your RV’s air conditioner’s built-in auto cleanup feature to replace routine cleaning. It will only assist the filter to stay clean for a longer period, but it will not be able to handle difficult contaminations.

White and green RV on a brown field

Regularly Clean Your AC Filter

This is a self-evident tip. You should clean your air conditioner’s filter regularly. Consult the user handbook for your air conditioner to determine how frequently you should clean the filter.

Some manufacturers recommend cleaning AC filters every 30 days, while others advocate cleaning them every two weeks. You should clean your RV AC unit more often if you have pets or allergies.

Replace the Filter If Necessary

Every RV AC filter has a limited lifespan, and you won’t be able to clean it indefinitely. There will come the point when the AC filter is no longer usable.

In most cases, it is simple to detect wear in AC filters. Replace your filter if you see any holes, rips, or other damage to it. It’s a good idea to bring a couple of spare filters with you on the trip, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one at a nearby home appliances store.

Run the AC Only When Necessary

Finally, only use your RV’s air conditioning equipment when necessary. Not only will this reduce the rate of pollution in the AC, but it will also help you to save RV electricity. Even if you have lots of spare electricity, turn off the air conditioner while not in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Cleaning AC Filter Make The RV’s Airflow Colder?

A clean air filter does maintain a cool airflow. A clogged filter causes poor cold airflow in your RV’s air conditioning system as a result of the buildup.

What is the Best Alternative for Cleaning RV AC Filters?

If you don’t have access to a commercial cleaner, a moderate detergent and warm water solution would suffice. All you have to do is combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, hand sprayer, or garden sprayer and apply them to the RV’s air filter.


If you are unfamiliar with basic HVAC systems, you may have been unaware of the air filter until now. If it is your first time buying a contemporary recreational vehicle, you should know how to clean an RV air conditioner filter to make every voyage more pleasurable.