Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Ducts

It is necessary to regularly clean the air conditioning ducts in your home so that they can perform as efficiently as possible. Dirty air passages can harbor some types of virus, bacteria and other germs that can affect your health. In addition, dirt and the accumulation of dust that flows through air ducts can circulate particles that can potentially dirty and damage your furniture, appliances and clothing.

Prepare a cleaning bucket. Use a small bucket. Fill it with warm water and dishwashing detergent. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar. Just in case, have a household spray cleaner that can on remove mold on hand. Gather several rags, prepare your vacuum and look for a flashlight. Put all these items close by so you can easily use them.

Locate the air ducts in your house. Some houses have conduits in high areas of walls. Others have them at the bottom of the walls or even in the floor.  Some ducts may be in unusual places. Check in each corner to locate them all. The plan is to clean each of them systematically. Check if there is any furniture located under the duct, pictures on the wall, carpets, decorative items, etc. Move them so they do not get in the way and so they do not get dust or something else on them.

Remove the cover of each duct. The method you use will depend on the type of conduit you have. Some can be levered, others unscrewed, and others slide to be removed. Check the factory manual if you’re not sure.

Use a firm surface where you can climb if the duct is in a high place. A ladder, a bench, a firm chair, etc. Make sure that what you use is firm on the floor and does not wobble with your weight.

  • Use the vacuum cleaner’s nozzle to remove dust, lint, particles, etc. that have accumulated in the passageway of the conduit. If your vacuum is heavy and the duct is too high, ask someone to pick it up so you can concentrate on grabbing the nozzle and cleaning.

Use a rag and clean the inside walls of the duct with the mixture of warm water and detergent. Use a flashlight to see if there is mold. If there is, clean it with vinegar and if that does not work, apply the mold remover spray (be sure to follow the instructions). Use a paper towel to clean what is left after using the cloth and let it dry.

Re-cover the conduit. Continue with the next duct until you have cleaned them all.


It would be good to have a notebook where you can keep track of cleaning and maintenance work. In the list, it includes the cleaning of the conduits and the affected rooms. If for some reason you cannot clean the ducts of any room, the next time you clean them, start in that room.

  • If you care about having good air quality, cleaning the ducts is a task that should be done quarterly.
  • Not all houses have air ducts like houses that do not have central air conditioning.
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