Aircon – as Malaysians, we practically can’t live without the refreshing, cool air it provides.

But have you ever wondered why your air conditioner seems to be losing its cool? Dust is almost always the cause – clogging up your aircon filter and restricting the flow of air through your home.

Enjoying the luxurious coolness an air conditioner provides means being responsible for the upkeep of your unit. In this article we will cover how dust builds up in your aircon, how it affects your unit and how to perform simple aircon DIY cleaning to keep your device running smoothly.

Let’s jump right in!

How Dust Forms in Air Conditioners

How Dust Forms in Air Conditioners

dusty air filter closeup

Dust can come from many places, but one thing they have in common is that they are often unnoticeable until it builds up to form layers or clumps.

They are often airborne particles that are present in our environment, originating from various sources including:

  • Skin cells – We shed them naturally, and they float around in the air.
  • Pet dander – Tiny flakes of dead skin from furry companions contribute to the dust problem.
  • Pollen – Especially during allergy season, pollen travels indoors through open windows and vents.
  • Fabric fibres – Clothing, carpets and furniture all shed tiny fibres that become part of the dust.
  • Soil particles – Tracked in from outside on shoes or blown in through open windows.

These dust particles can easily enter your air conditioning system through vents and the return air intake, which are trapped by an in-built dust filter. Over time, more particles get trapped in the dust filter and start building up to form clumps.

Another factor to how dust forms – and how much enters your air conditioner – is how often you clean. It’s simple: the cleaner you keep your home, the less likely there will be dust flying around your living space.

Including regular vacuuming, dusting and wiping down surfaces in your cleaning schedule significantly reduces dust buildup in your aircon filter.

Fail to do so, and that’s when the problems start rolling in.

Why Clean Air Conditioners Filters

Why Clean Air Conditioner Filters

Dust buildup in your air conditioner isn’t just a matter of aesthetics; it can have a significant impact on your comfort and wallet.
A clogged dust filter creates a double whammy:

reduced airflow

Reduced Airflow and Efficiency

As dust accumulates on the aircon filter, it acts like a barrier, restricting airflow through the system. This forces the air conditioner to work harder to cool your home, leading to decreased efficiency and higher energy bills.

If left for too long, it could even cause breakdowns or water leakage in your aircon which is not another expense you want to add to your credit card.

woman sneezing

Dirty Dust Filter Equals Riskier Health

A clean aircon filter not only keeps your home cooler but also provides significant health benefits. 

By trapping dust particles, pollen and allergens, a clean filter helps improve indoor air quality. This is especially important for people with allergies and asthma, as it reduces their exposure to triggers that can cause itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. 

Additionally, a dirty filter is less effective at filtering out bacteria and germs from entering the living space, which runs the risk of causing disease and illness.

Knowing this, we recommend consistently cleaning your dust filters (at least once a month) to keep it running smoothly. 

Use the aircon DIY cleaning guide in the next section for easy, straightforward steps to keeping your filters clean.

How To Clean Aircon Filter - A DIY Guide

How To Clean Aircon Filter - A DIY Guide

removing aircon filter

First, you’ll need the following equipment:

vacuum cleaner icon

Vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment

water icon

Warm Water

Mild Soap

sponge icon

Soft Cloth or Sponge

water tub icon

Sink or Bathtub
(Big Enough To Fit Filters)

rags icon

Clean Rags

Once you’re prepared, here’s what you need to do to clean your aircon filter:

1. Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

aircon remote control

Make sure your aircon is not running before removing the filter from the unit. 

2. Locate and Remove the Aircon Filter

Use your air conditioner’s manual for specific instructions on locating and removing the filter. It’s usually behind a panel on the front unit. Gently remove the filter by grasping the frame and pulling it towards you.

3. Vacuum the Aircon Filter

closeup of someone vacuuming an aircon filter

Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove dust and debris from both sides of the dust filter. Pay close attention to the netting, where dust tends to accumulate.

4. Wash the Aircon Filter

closeup of someone washing an aircon filter

For soiled filters or stubborn clumps, wash with warm water, a sponge and a mild dish soap (if recommended by your filter manufacturer). Rinse the filter thoroughly in the sink with clean water to remove any soap residue.

5. Dry the Aircon Filter Completely

aircon filter drying in shade

Never reinstall a damp filter! Allow the filter to air dry completely in a shaded area before placing it back in the air conditioner unit. Alternatively, you can use the rags to pat them dry.

6. Reinstall the Aircon Filter

Place the filter back into the aircon unit and turn it on to test it out. Voilà! You should be able to enjoy cool, refreshing air again! 

Also, don’t forget to factor in cleaning frequency. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to clean your filters more often, such as:

  • Usage: During peak cooling seasons (summer months) when the AC is running more frequently, you’ll need to clean the filter more often, ideally monthly.
  • Household factors: If you have pets or live in a dusty environment, you may need to clean the filter more frequently (every 2-3 weeks).
  • Filter type: Some high-performance filters are washable and reusable, while others are disposable and require replacement every few months. Check your filter’s specific instructions for cleaning or replacement recommendations.

But sometimes, a regular vacuum and wash for your dust filter may not be enough to keep your aircon in its best working condition. For example, you may notice that your unit may start leaking water or the air flowing takes a long time to cool.

That’s when you need to start thinking about hiring a cleaning service to deep clean your aircon.

Aircon Cleaning Service - Why You Need It

Regular DIY cleaning of your aircon filter is a great way to maintain basic functionality and efficiency.

However, there are limitations to what you can achieve with a simple cleaning. Dust and debris can build up deep inside the unit’s components, impacting performance and potentially leading to more serious issues.

That’s where AC cleaning by professional cleaning services comes in, covering all the deep cleaning that needs to be done when DIY is not enough.

For example, WonderKlean’s air conditioner cleaners provides the following SOPs with all their aircon cleaning services:

  • Industrial-standard Powerful Cleaning Agent that removes traces of microbes and dust for all parts of the air conditioning system.
  • High Pressure Spray to remove stubborn clumps, mould and mildew buildup.
  • Steam Sterilisation to destroy any microorganisms lingering in the unit.


These deep cleaning practices not only improve your air conditioner’s efficiency and lifespan but also contribute to better overall indoor air quality.

By removing dust, allergens and potential mould spores from the system, WonderKlean helps create a cleaner and healthier breathing environment for you and your family.

Make AC Cleaning a Priority!

If you’re a consistent aircon user, making sure your unit is clean should be kept as a consistent housekeeping chore. After all, it affects the very air you breathe!

Cleaning your aircon filter at least once a month will effectively ensure your unit continues to run smoothly and continues to provide clean, cooling air into your household.

If you suspect your aircon requires deep cleaning, get in touch with WonderKlean today to discuss your options.

Our professional cleaning service provides full cleaning coverage for your AC unit while also offering options for regular services.

Get in touch with us today!