Best AC Coil Cleaners – 2021 Guide

AC coils are an essential part of your HVAC system. If your AC coils are dirty, your air conditioner won't work efficiently or effectively.

Cleaning your AC coils is a crucial part of taking care of your AC unit and ensuring that you're keeping your home and family safe.

This article will provide you with important information to understand why you should clean your AC coils and the best AC coil cleaners.

Comparison of the Best AC Coil Cleaners

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Apply it without the need to rinse it off
  • Very strong formula for an easy cleaning
  • Just spray on and it will easily evaporate in the environment
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  • Safe to use indoor for cleaning evaporator
  • Available in different denominations of 1 gallons
  • Product is biosafe and will not harm environment
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  • Best for the Money
  • Can be used for cleaning fins and coils
  • Will help to save you money on electric bills
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  • Best Foaming AC Coil Cleaner
  • Will easily dissolve stains with heavy-duty formula
  • Safe to use on reusable air filters as well
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  • Best No Rinse AC Coil Cleaner
  • Apply it without the need to rinse it off
  • Can be used for a wide range of surfaces
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  • Best RV AC Coil Cleaner
  • Will help to remove odors from car AC
  • Provides a fresh smell for up to a full year
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Why Did These AC Coil Cleaners Make Our List?

When you're looking for the best AC coil cleaners, there are a few things that you should search for. There are over a hundred brands and off-market AC coil cleaners that all claim to clean your coils effectively.

You want to make sure that you get a cleaner that has been proven to work and contains the right ingredients so you can get the job done the first time around.

Alkaline Based

AC coil cleaners that are alkaline based have little to no odor, which is perfect for anyone who has sensitivities to smells. They're also well-known for their cleaning abilities.

Alkaline-based AC coil cleaners can quickly and easily loosen smoke residue, grease, and other messes. These cleaners are the best for AC coils because they can become coated in all of these messes.

Usability

You want to find an AC coil cleaner that's easy to use. Some cleaner options come in spray cans, which means you have to be a certain distance from your HVAC system to use it.

 If you're too close, the spray will be way too powerful and go through the AC coils instead of creating a cleaning foam on them.

You may need to dilute other cleaners before applying it, use a brush to apply it, or other requirements you might not want to deal with.

Frost King ACF19

USDA Authorized

The chemicals found inside AC coils can be corrosive to mucous membranes, hair, skin, and metal; you must buy a cleaner that has been USDA approved.

If the federal government doesn't approve or hasn't tested it, there's no way to know what's inside.

No Harmful Additives

If you have pets, sensitivities, or allergies, you need to find a cleaner that doesn't have harsh chemicals or additives in the ingredients list. If you can't use the cleaner directly on your skin, it probably shouldn't be used in the home.

Review of the Best AC Coil Cleaners

Below is a list of the best AC coil cleaners that you can buy on the market today. Hopefully, this list will give you an idea of what you should be looking for when searching for the best AC coil cleaner.

Best Overall:
Nu-Calgon 416808 Evaporator Power

Nu-Calgon 416808 Evaporator Power, 1-Gallon

PROS

  • Easy to dilute
  • Has a nice smell
  • High concentration
  • Exceptional cleaning quality
  • Cleans the coils, the drain line, and the pan

CONS

  • Takes a while for the product to work
  • You do need to use a toothbrush to get rid of built-up dust gently

What Recent Buyers Report

The first thing that recent buyers say about this product is that it's highly efficient and effective at cleaning your AC coils. It does a great job of getting rid of built-up gunk from the coils and even cleans the drain line and pan. While it claims to be a no-rinse coil cleaner, you might have to use water to get rid of the built-up gunk.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Nu-Calgon 416808 Evaporator Power coil cleaner works effectively and efficiently at removing built-up gunk from your AC coils. It's USDA approved, which means that it's entirely safe for use.

While this product does take a while to work, and you might have to use a toothbrush and water to get rid of built-up gunk, it does a great job at cleaning your AC coils. After using this product, you'll notice right away that your AC is working better because of how cold it will run.

Bottom Line

The Nu-Calgon 416808 Evaporator Power coil cleaner is a great way to clean your AC coils. It might take a while to clean your coils, and you might have to rinse using water, but you'll notice a big difference in the operation of your air conditioner after using this product.

Runner-up:
Comstar 90-298 Coil Safe

ComStar Coil Safe, External Neutral pH, Non-Toxic, Self-Rinsing Evaporator Coil Cleaner Compatible with Commercial & Residential AC & Refrigeration, Made in USA, 1 Gallon (90-298)

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Alkaline-based
  • USDA authorized
  • No rinsing required
  • Can be used on indoor and outdoor coils

CONS

  • Strong scent
  • Might require you to scrape off stuck-on messes

What Recent Buyers Report

When using Comstar 90-298 Coil Safe cleaner, the first thing you'll notice is that it has a strong scent, so you need to use it in a well-ventilated room.

To use this product, you dilute the product, spray it on the coils, and let it sit for a few minutes. It does a wonderful job of getting rid of dust and grime from the coils, so they look brand new after using this product.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Comstar 90-298 Coil Safe cleaner is safe to use on both indoor and outdoor coils. It's self-rinsing, so it doesn't require you to rinse off the coils with water after using it. After using this product, your coils will look brand new, and your air conditioner will be colder than ever.

It's also alkaline based and doesn't use any unsafe harsh chemicals. It also comes with a metal "comb" that you can use to scrape off any built-up dirt, dust, and other grime that the cleaner doesn't remove.

Bottom Line

This USDA authorized product is a quick and easy way to clean your AC coils without the hassle of having to rinse after using it. It does have a strong odor, and you may have to scrape off stuck-on dust and dirt. Even with these cons, it's still one of the best AC coil cleaners on the market today.

Best for the Money:
Lundmark Coil Cleen

Lundmark Coil Cleen, Air Conditioning Fin & Coil Cleaner, 32-Ounce, 3226F32-6

PROS

  • Easy to apply
  • Made in the USA
  • Promotes efficient airflow
  • Doesn't have a strong smell
  • Safe to use on AC condensers, fins, and coils

CONS

  • Leaves odors from the AC
  • Can take multiple applications

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that this product does an exceptional job cleaning the gunk out from your AC coils. It's straightforward to use because it comes in a spray bottle. It may take a couple of applications before your AC coils are completely clean, but there's enough in the bottle that this isn't an issue. Recent buyers bring up that while it doesn't have a strong odor, it doesn't do a good job at getting rid of odors that come from your AC unit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It comes in a handy spray bottle and contains enough cleaner that you can use it more than once. The Lundmark Coil Cleen does a great job of getting rid of all the gunk on your AC coils, no matter how dirty they are. After using this product, you'll notice an instant change in how your AC runs and how cold it is. You can also use it to clean more than just the coils; use it on AC condensers, fins, and coils.

Bottom Line

For the money you spend on this product, it does an amazing job at cleaning your coils. You don't need to work hard to get them clean; simply spray, let it sit, and then rinse it off. You'll notice a big difference in the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.

Best Foaming AC Coil Cleaner:
Frost King ACF19

Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner, 19Oz, 19 Ounce

PROS

  • Non-corrosive
  • No scrubbing or rinsing
  • Gets rid of unpleasant odors
  • Gets into every nook and cranny of the coils
  • Can be used on both the condenser and evaporator

CONS

  • Strong scent
  • Can come without the spray nozzle

What Recent Buyers Report

With the Frost King ACF19 coil cleaner, you only need to do one application to see a huge difference in your AC coils' cleanliness. You can safely use it on both the evaporator and condenser coils, making it one of the most versatile coil cleaners on the market.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out to us because of how well it works for the price you pay. You can quickly and easily clean your AC coils in a single application without having to scrub or rinse the coils because the foam dissolves on its own.

It also does a great job at getting rid of any unpleasant smells that your AC might have (i.e., mold). Additionally, you can use this product on more than just the coils. For example, you can also use it on the fins of your air conditioner.

Bottom Line

If you want something that will work effectively and efficiently without having to do a ton of work, this is the coil cleaner for you. You'll be able to clean your AC unit in no time with a single application, and you'll find that your AC smells better too.

Best No-Rinse AC Coil Cleaner:
Nu-Calgon 4171-75 Evap Foam

Nu-Calgon 4171-75 Evap Foam No Rinse Evaporator Coil Cleaner, 18 oz.

PROS

  • Very versatile
  • Has a pleasant lemon scent
  • The formula is already prepared
  • Loosens all types of oil, grease, and dirt
  • Safe for metals, plastics, and painted surfaces

CONS

  • Can stain
  • Faulty cans have been sent by the company before

What Recent Buyers Report

This product will remove any smell that your AC might have, including dirty socks and mold. It's easy to use because the company has prepared the can for – no more diluting cleaners. You can use a soft brush to clean off dirt and dust, but you don't have to with this coil cleaner.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love this product. After all, it's safe to use on many materials, including metal and plastic, because it has been fortified with corrosion inhibitors. Meaning, it won't cause any damage.

It also has a very pleasant lemon smell that you won't find on any other coil cleaner, which will leave your AC smelling clean. You can use Nu-Calgon 4171-75 Evap Foam coil cleaner on refrigerator coils as well.

Bottom Line

If you want something that will take away any smell that your AC leaves behind, this is the coil cleaner for you. You're getting a product that will work over time to get rid of any debris inside your AC coils. You can also use it on different types of coils, including refrigerator coils.

Best RV AC Coil Cleaner:
DWD2 Clean Air

DWD2 CLEAN AIR Premium Automotive Foaming AC Evaporator Coil Cleaner & Refresher (Unscented) Renew your air conditioner!

PROS

  • Non-toxic
  • Gets rid of smells
  • Instructions are easy to follow
  • Cleans dirt, dust, mold, and other debris
  • Comes with a cap for any holes you might have to drill

CONS

  • A bit pricey for the amount you get
  • You may have to drill a hole in the dash of your car

What Recent Buyers Report

The DWD2 Clean Air AC coil cleaner does a great job at breaking down any mold, dust, and other debris that might be lurking in your AC unit. It also gets rid of any unwanted smells that your AC might be giving off. The instructions are very clear, but you need to be careful when drilling a hole into your evaporator's plastic case.

Why it Stands Out to Us

DWD2 Clean Air was made to wash away, break down, and disinfect mold and bacteria in your RV or car's evaporator. It's non-toxic and non-corrosive, making it very safe to use.

It comes in an aerosol can that comes with a 12-inch tube to help you spray the foam directly onto the evaporator. It's by far the best product you can use to get rid of any nasty smells from your RVs or car's air conditioner.

Bottom Line

This is the best AC coil cleaner for vehicles. You can quickly clean your AC unit by spraying the foam directly onto the evaporator of your AC unit without having to scrub or rinse it. This product's creators designed it to leave behind clean smells and get rid of any mold your AC might have.

How Often Should I Clean My AC Coils?

If you want your air conditioner to work efficiently at transferring heat from inside your house to the outside, you need to clean your AC coils.

A coating of dust, dirt, or other debris on your AC coils can prevent your unit from working effectively. To lower the energy usage from your AC unit and reduce your electricity costs, you must clean your AC coils at least once a year.

You should perform this maintenance promptly when you start to notice a shift in your energy bill or your AC running longer and working harder. When your AC does this, you'll find that it uses more energy, and parts will start to wear and break down easily. Additionally, dirty coils can become corroded, which can lead to refrigerant leaks.

Benefits of Cleaning Your AC Coils

Inspecting and cleaning your AC coils regularly is one of the most energy and cost-efficient things you can do. Here is a list of the top three benefits of cleaning your AC coils:

Helps You Save Money

Air conditioners that have dirty AC coils need to work harder to cool down a room, which ultimately means that your energy usage will go up. However, cleaning your AC coils means that your air conditioner will run effortlessly, which will reduce your utility bill.

Improves Dehumidification

When your evaporator coil is dirty, it can increase the compressor airflow. This results in a degradation of the dehumidification process and reduces heat transfer. You can take care of these problems by keeping your AC coils clean, improving the air quality in your home, and preventing bacteria and mold build-up.

Promotes Better Health

Dirty AC coils can lead to contaminated air being sent into your home, leading to more allergies and sickness. When you clean your AC coils, you're promoting healthier air quality to lessen the risk of allergies and illness in your home.

Is AC Coil Cleaner Safe?

While most AC coil cleaners are safe to use, there are some things that you should keep in mind when using these products.

  • If the product isn't certified by the USDA, use hand and eye protection equipment

  • Watch out for AC coil cleaners that contain harmful additives

  • Always ensure that you're turning off the power to your AC unit before applying any AC coil cleaner

The USDA authorizes the best AC coil cleaners that are safe for you to use without safety equipment. This is the best thing to look for when you go searching for an AC coil cleaner. You should also avoid any AC coil cleaner that contains harsh chemicals. These harsh chemicals can cause your AC coils to become corroded.

Finally, before using your AC coil cleaner or even attempting to clean the coils, make sure that you turn off the power to your air conditioner. If you don't, you can get shocked by the electrical components, which can seriously harm you.

Comstar 90-298 Coil Safe

How to Clean AC Coils

After you've found the best AC coil cleaner for your needs, it's time to learn how to clean the coils. Below you'll find a step-by-step guide on using the products listed above to clean your AC coils.

1. Turn Off Your AC At the Thermostat and Shut Off the Power to the Condensing Unit

You can do this by opening the disconnect mounted to your home and removing the fuses. If you don't have a disconnect, turn off the power at the breaker panel.

2. Remove the Condenser Top

Remove the bolts holding the lid to the rest of the condenser but avoid removing the bolts to the fan. Set the top with the fan attached off to the side.

3. Remove the Caging

With the top off, it's time to remove the caging. If you have a metal cabinet or casing around your condenser, the logic is the same. Remove the bolts located near the unit's base holding the cage on, and it should come right off.

4. Clean Out the Dirt, Dust, and Debris From the Base of the Unit

Clean out any dirt and debris from the base of your AC unit where the AC compressor is.

5. Comb Out Any Smashed Fins

You want the fins to be open so you can clean the space between them. Use the coil comb that comes with most AC coil cleaners to do this.

6. Presoak the Unit

Get the unit wet using a hose, making sure you're spraying from the inside out to push out whatever your AC sucked in. Avoid spraying directly on to the disconnect and electrical components inside the unit.  

7. Spray the Coils Down With Your AC Coil Cleaner

Spray the coils from the front to back and from bottom to top. Let the cleaner sit for a bit, then hose it down if it requires it. Otherwise, comb out the dust, dirt, and other debris from the coils.

Take a look at the video below for a full overview of what was just described.

Conclusion

Cleaning your AC coils is essential annual maintenance that you need to perform right away when you first notice that your AC is running longer and using more electricity than usual.

There are so many different types of AC coil cleaners on the market today that it can be hard to find the best one. Use the list provided earlier in this article and all of the tips and tricks to help you find the best AC coil cleaner for your needs.

People Also Ask

When you start looking for an AC coil cleaner, you usually ask questions that you want answers to. We took the liberty of answering some of those questions for you to have a better understanding of everything.

How Much Does an AC Coil Cleaning Cost?

To hire someone to come and clean your AC coils can cost you anywhere between $100 and $400. This will vary by location, type of AC unit, and how much work they will need to do.

Cleaning your AC coil by yourself can cost anywhere between $20 to $100, depending on which cleaner you go with and if you need extra tools.  

Frost King ACF19

Can I Use Vinegar to Clean AC Coils?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean your air conditioner's coils. To do this, you'll need a spray bottle with half white vinegar and half water. You can also add one tablespoon of baking soda to the mixture as well for extra cleaning power. Then you spray the coils, let them sit, and then wipe them down.

Can You Pressure Wash AC Coils?

Professionals recommend that you don't pressure wash AC coils. Pressure washers push out thousands of PSI cleaning power, and you won't know the power of the machine until it's far too late. You can damage the coils and fins of your air conditioner, and those parts aren't cheap to replace.

Can I Use Oven Cleaner on AC Coils?

You can safely use an all-purpose oven cleaner to clean your AC coils.

What Happens If AC Coils Are Dirty?

Dirty AC coils make it challenging for your air conditioner to cool down your home, so the system will have to work harder and longer to compensate for the dirty coils. This can lead to higher utility bills, and you might even notice that your AC unit starts to break down.

What Would the Symptoms of a Dirty Coil Be?

If your AC coils are dirty, you might find that your AC loses cooling capacity, the AC runs longer, and a frost develops on the coils during operation.

Can I Use Degreaser to Clean AC Coils?

Yes, degreasers are safe to use on AC coils because they are non-corrosive. Degreasers are simply detergent-based cleaners that can eliminate any stains, grease, or oil from your AC coils.

Can Dirty AC Coils Make You Sick?

Your AC blows air into your home, and the air goes over the dirty AC coils, which can lead to sickness. If anyone in your family is having flu-like symptoms, asthma, allergy symptoms, or fatigue, it could be from mold growing inside your dirty AC coils.