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How to Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter in 5 Easy Steps?

Writen by Dane Heldt

Fact checked by Robert Clark

how to clean rv air conditioner filter

Air conditioning is important to keep your motorhome cool, especially when the days get excessively hot on your road trip. However, the evaporator coils can build too much dirt and grime from the outside air over time. To avoid this issue, you need to know how to clean RV air conditioner filter as part of the routine maintenance for an efficient AC system.

Cleaning RV AC filter is simple once you know the right steps. Continue reading to learn the correct cleaning process of dirty AC filters.

What You’ll Need


Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum is an effective tool in loosening the nasty stuff from the RV air filters. Use a model with a hose attachment to make the cleaning job more precise and efficient. This type of vacuum can suck all the dirt in all nooks and crooks of the filter.

A handheld vacuum also makes the suction easy to do with its miniature construction. This type is easy to handle and lightweight to use. To make yourself truly independent from power outlets, use a cordless model.

Detergent Solution

Most of the time, the detergent solution is enough for deep cleaning, just like what I did with my Jayco air conditioner filter. For this mixture, you need to combine mild detergent with warm water. The detergent will loosen the particles or dissolve the dirt that’s embedded in the filter.

You want to use the mild type because it contains no strong components that might damage the filter. Best of all, mild detergents are very foaming, providing more contact on the soiled surface. Examples of mild detergents are dishwashing liquids and baby shampoos.

The water should be warm because the heat makes the detergent better at lifting dirt. Compared to cold water, warm water can dissolve more material.

Large Bucket

This is where you’ll be putting the detergent solution to soak the dirty filter. Find a bucket that’s big enough to submerge your filter in the detergent solution. You can use any type of bucket, plastic or metal.

If you can’t find a bucket, consider using a basin that’s big enough to soak the filter completely. Again, any material will do. If a basin is still hard to find, you can use the bathtub of your RV. The tub is more than enough to immerse the filter fully.

Soft Brush

When the air conditioner filter is terribly filthy, you might need to use a brush to remove any remnants of dirt. The beauty of using a brush is that you get more control over how much pressure is applied to the sensitive filter.

Cleaning brushes aren’t built the same, so you need a special brush for the fragile nature of the AC filter. A soft brush fits this job perfectly because it scrubs the grime while protecting the filter from scratches.

Water Hose

A water or garden hose will come in handy when it’s time to rinse the RV air conditioner filter. You’ll be rinsing the filter two times- one to remove the soap and another to remove the smell of vinegar.

It’s more convenient to use a hose when rinsing the filter because it’s very easy to handle. The pressure from the hose will also remove the most difficult stains. If you can’t find a hose around, use your RV showerhead.

Vinegar Solution

You’ll need equal parts of lukewarm water and vinegar to make a vinegar mixture. The acetic acid found in white vinegar can work as a disinfectant to kill some viruses and bacteria in the filter. Dilute the vinegar with equal parts of water to counterattack the strong smell.

When I do my regular Dometic AC filter cleaning, I prefer to use this natural solution over a harsh chemical antibacterial solution because it doesn’t harm my family’s health.

Spray Bottle

The spray bottle serves as the container for the vinegar solution. It makes it a lot easier to spritz the solution into the filter because you only need to pull the trigger pump. Best of all, it adheres to and spreads more evenly onto the treated surfaces.

A good spray bottle should have leakproof nozzles and adjustable triggers to make hands feel comfortable. A plastic bottle is more cost-effective, but it tends to break down when it gets in contact with specific cleaning ingredients. On the other hand, glass is more sustainable and preserves the quality of ingredients much longer.


A rack comes in handy when it’s time to dry the filter outside of the RV. You need a good-sized rack because this is where you’ll place the filter on top. Other racks even allow you to hang the filter, which is even better.

If you can’t find a rack around, use newspapers to protect the filter safe from the dirty ground. Make sure to put the newspapers against a wall so that they don’t fly together with the filter.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Step 1: Remove The AC Filter

Find the RV air filter location- it’s usually behind the air conditioner cover. Make sure to carefully remove the cover while the AC unit is off to prevent damage.

Check the AC’s user manual to know how to remove the air conditioner filter. You probably have washable filters, but you should check just in case. If your AC unit uses a disposable filter, refrain from cleaning as the process will only severely damage it. Instead, perform an RV AC filter replacement.

Step 2: Vacuum The AC Filter

The easiest step to clean the filter is to use a vacuum cleaner. Using the hose attachment, suction the dust, dirt, and other debris from the air conditioner filter. Put the setting from between light to moderate to remove the sediments efficiently.

When the dirt buildup is only minimal, this particular might be enough. However, when you still see some filth on the RV air conditioner filter, you need to do a deep cleaning on the next steps below.

Here’s how to clean Dometic RV air conditioner filter with a vacuum unit.

Step 3: Soak And Brush The filter

Now, soak the AC filter with the detergent solution in the large bucket. Wait at least 10-15 minutes to disintegrate all the dirt. Filthy filters might need a longer time to clean completely.

Some debris might be left on the filter after soaking, so you can reach for a brush to remove them.

Step 4: Rinse And Sanitize

Once the filter is thoroughly cleaned, rinse with water to remove any soapy residue. Use your water hose to make this task easy.

Next, sanitize the filter to prevent any bacteria buildup. Spray the filter with the vinegar solution and let it sit for around 15 minutes. After the time has elapsed, rinse once again to remove the vinegar odor.

Step 5: Dry And Put It Back

Finally, air dry the filter for several hours under indirect sunlight. Air conditioner filters take time to completely dry because they have thick, dense fibers. Put the filter on top of a rack or a bunch of newspapers against the wall to dry the filter safely.

Once done, put the filter back to the AC unit. Refer to the owner’s manual to know the exact instructions for putting the filter back.


Did you find the tutorial on how to clean RV air conditioner filter helpful? Cleaning RV air conditioner is easy if you follow the steps above. You need to clean the filter because dirt buildup can reduce the cooling capacity and cause allergens to be released into the air.

Let us know what you think about the cleaning process above in the comment below. Also, if you like the article, please share it with your friends.

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