Updated at: 09-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Most window air conditioners use Styrofoam to keep out dust and debris, but this material can soon become soiled. Fortunately, there are a number of simple methods for cleaning the Styrofoam in your window AC unit, including soaking it in chemicals or plain old drinking water. When it comes to cleaning the Styrofoam in your air conditioner, there are a variety of methods.

Central air conditioning isn’t always an option, no matter how much we’d like it to be. Purchasing a window air conditioner in a pinch can allow you to breathe in cool, crisp air. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using these devices.

Dirt can build up on the Styrofoam that comes with the unit, which serves as a barrier to the outside world. Turn off the appliance, remove the Styrofoam, and use a chemical cleaner to get the job done quickly. However, things can get a little more difficult.

Cleaning The Styrofoam of a Window AC

Step 1: Turn Off and Unplug the Air Conditioner

The first step is to switch off and unplug your air conditioner from the wall. When it comes to electronics, safety is of the utmost importance, and window air conditioners are no exception.

That way, if any of the cleaner you use ends up getting into the internal components, it won’t start up abruptly or cause any electrical shocks.

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Step 2: Take Out the Styrofoam

For the window air conditioner, the Styrofoam is there to seal the space between the window frame and the air conditioner itself. As a result, the unit may have to work much harder to cool the space without the Styrofoam insulation.

Make a point of removing the Styrofoam so you can fully clean it. Styrofoam should not be cleaned in its place since you won’t be able to get complete coverage and the grime will conceal and spread.

Step 3: Clean the Styrofoam Thoroughly

Most of the time, the Styrofoam will only be covered in a layer of dust and debris. It’s not difficult to get rid of this. To remove the dust and debris, all you need is a damp cloth and a cleaning spray.

However, keep an eye out for any signs of mold growth (more on that later). Getting rid of mold involves more than a quick wipe off.

Step 4: Soaking the Styrofoam

If you haven’t cleaned the Styrofoam in a while, this step is for you. Find a strong cleaner or even an industrial cleaner and create a mixture with water in a container. If you have any questions, consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Keep it submerged long enough to break away the filth that has accumulated on the Styrofoam surface. Depending on how dirty the Styrofoam is, you may need to repeat this step one or two more times. Wipe it down thoroughly once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness and allow it to dry for a few minutes.

Step 5: Put the Styrofoam Back

Place the Styrofoam back between the window and the unit once you’re satisfied with its cleanliness. Ensure that it is properly attached between the window frame and the air conditioner unit. In some cases, this can lead to moisture buildup, which in turn increases the amount of energy your air conditioner has to expend.

Why Is There Mold on the Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is one of the least likely places for mold to form on an air conditioner. Mold can’t connect to Styrofoam since it doesn’t absorb moisture and doesn’t have any nutrients. On the other hand, mold can still grow on it.

You’re most likely to find mold growing on the Styrofoam because it’s filthy and either rain or water droplets are providing moisture to it. Mold can thrive in a Styrofoam environment because of the lack of light that penetrates the material.

Remember that dirt will find its way into the machine and onto the Styrofoam over time. Mold can thrive in conditions like these, especially when combined with the space’s low lighting and high humidity.

Standing Water in the Air Conditioner

A source of standing water is a frequent breeding ground for mold. Condensation is generated by the cooling coils and is intended to drop on the machine’s outside. As a result, even when the machine is covered in condensation, it remains dry.

However, the drip hole of the air conditioner is prone to becoming blocked with debris. In order to prevent the formation of standing water, it’s important to clear out the drip hole first. And one of the most common causes of mold is standing water.

Mold growth on Styrofoam can also be attributed to a buildup of standing water. Moisture and darkness are the two necessities for mold to grow; black mold in particular needs a long-term supply for its growth.

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Cleaning Mold Out of Your Air Conditioner

If you see mold developing in your air conditioning unit or on the Styrofoam that comes with it, there is a way to get rid of it. Dish soap, bleach, and hot water are all you’ll need.

Use caution when making this mixture because bleach is extremely toxic. Using 3 gallons of hot water, 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap, and half a cup of bleach, mix the ingredients together. If you can, put on gloves and goggles to protect your eyes.

Scrub the moldy spots using a sponge, brush, or cloth soaked in your mixture. It may be necessary to use more than one application to completely remove all of the mold. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to totally remove the mold. If you clean thoroughly, you may not be able to entirely eradicate all mold spores.

Can You Use an Air Conditioner That has Mold Growth?

Though the air conditioner may not be affected, it is not recommended to operate the device when you are aware of mold growth. Stop the unit immediately and properly clean it before resuming use, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, an expert in the field.

It’s important to avoid using an air conditioner if you suspect it has mold development since the spores will spread throughout the room. These spores can cause long-term damage to your lungs and respiratory system if breathed.

Here’s What You Need to Know: How to Recognize Black Mold

What Kills Mold?

White vinegar, undiluted, has long been a common household cleaning. Mold can be killed using this product when applied to hard surfaces, such as those found in the bathroom or kitchen. As the smell can be fairly strong on its own, you must dilute it.

Bleach, as previously discussed, is an excellent method for killing mold. To get rid of the mold and clean the affected area, combine it with a small amount of dish soap and a large amount of water. Always proceed with caution while working with chemicals that have the potential to cause harm. The use of proper eye and hand protection is essential, as is the use of a respirator mask.

Turn Off And Take Out Air Conditioner

After turning off the air conditioner, disconnect it from the power source and remove it from the wall, the next step is to inspect the unit. When it comes to electronics, safety is of the utmost importance, and window air conditioners are no exception. That way, if any of the cleaners you use end up on the internal components of the device when cleaning, you won’t risk an electric shock.

Check If The Styrofoam Is Dirty

Take your time and pay attention. Because the Styrofoam inside your window air conditioner is unclean and there is rain or moisture causing humidity, mold is likely to grow on the Styrofoam. Mold thrives in a dark, moist environment. The outside of the window air conditioner is exposed to the weather.. The Styrofoam in the machine will collect dirt over time. Moisture and soil nutrients will combine in the future. Mold thrives in an air conditioner because of the dampness and total darkness. Basically, that’s the only way mold grows, but it’s not easy to remove it. In order to avoid any health risks, it’s best if you follow some specific cleaning guidelines when it comes to mold. As a result, having ac repair and service professionals do a check is highly suggested.

Why Is There Mold On The Styrofoam In The Air Conditioner?

Clean Mold From Inside The Grill

Consult your owner’s handbook to find out how to identify and disassemble the outer cabinet or grill so you can have access to the interior of your air conditioner. Assemble your equipment and supplies and put on your dust mask, safety glasses, and gloves before starting any project. Now, if you find any evidence of mold, use the following items to clean it up: Garden hose, dish soap, bleach, a large plastic bucket, and a scrubbing sponge are all you’ll need to clean an AC coil. If you don’t know where to begin cleaning, a video tutorial is a good place to start; otherwise, you should hire a professional.

Cleaning The Grill And Filter

Remove the filter from the air conditioner’s front grill. If a filter becomes too dirty, simply replace it with a fresh one. A professional can tell you if you need to change your filter. Almost all window filters are washable. If yours is, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and put it back to good use. Spray laundry detergent on the filter and place it in the sink. In order to protect the filter, fill the washbasin with enough warm water to do so. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the filter to absorb the water. Scrub both sides of the filter using a scrub brush. Hang the filter to dry after rinsing it with clean water.

Cleaning The Metal

Unscrew the metal cover behind the grill of your window air conditioner and raise it. Vacuum the inside of the appliance with a vacuum cleaner and any attachments. Clean up any mold that is visible. Stir up 3 gallons of boiling water and 1/2 cup bleach solution in your bucket. Be extremely cautious not to breathe in the bleach, which should not come into touch with your skin, clothing, or eyes at any point throughout the process of use. Using it can cause serious damage. Before using the bleach, put on a pair of long gloves.

Scrub the moldy portions of your air conditioner thoroughly using a cloth, brush, or sponge dipped in the solution. If the air conditioner’s front grill contains mold, it should be cleaned as well. To remove the solution, blot the affected areas with a damp cloth and run water over them for about 10 minutes.

Thoroughly Clean The Styrofoam

Dust and dirt are usually simply a thin layer on the Styrofoam. Cleaning this isn’t that difficult. With a damp cloth and a cleaning spray, you should be able to get rid of dust and filth. More than just cleaning is needed to get rid of mold. Ask for aid from an air-conditioning company if there is too much mold present.

Dip The Styrofoam In Water Mixture

If you haven’t cleaned the Styrofoam in a while, this step is for you. Create a solution by combining a powerful cleanser with water in a container. If you’re unsure about how to use a product, see the manufacturer’s instructions. A few minutes of soaking will remove any dirt from the Styrofoam. If the Styrofoam is particularly filthy, you may need to repeat this process. You should pat it dry and let it sit for a few minutes until you are satisfied with the cleanliness level.

Put The Styrofoam Back In Air Condition

Replacement of Styrofoam between window and unit can be done after you are comfortable with cleaning it. Make sure the air conditioner and window frame are properly fastened together. Excess humidity might be created and your air conditioner will have to work harder if there is any open space.

A professional air conditioner repair in Miami can help you if you are concerned that the mold has not been fully removed and cleaned. Hire them, and they’ll take care of the difficult work for you. Remember that mold is a health hazard, so get rid of it as soon as you can.

Steps To Clean A Window Air Conditioner Styrofoam (With Molds)

The process would be a lot simpler if molds weren’t present. Styrofoam that hasn’t been checked in a while could be poisonous and odorous.

There is a risk of mold formation if there are stranded leaves and water that has not been drained. So, these are the measures to take in order to remove mold from Styrofoam.

Step #1. Observe

See whether there are any black spots or an off-putting scent on the outside of your Styrofoam.

An abundance of mold is possible due of the Styrofoam’s optimal location.

Step #2. Prepare cleaning mixture

Make sure you have plenty of dish soap, bleach, and water on hand before you begin. It would be helpful to have a brush and some safety gear, like goggles and gloves.

Pour 3 liters of water into a container and add 5 drops of dish soap. Add a half-cup of your favourite bleach to the mix, too.

Please be careful when handling it. Instead of bleach, you may also use pure vinegar. It’s more secure this way.

Step #3. Clean

For 1-2 minutes, soak your Styrofoam in the chemicals. Scrub the moldy areas with a brush. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary to remove all of the mold from your Styrofoam.

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Soak the excess for a few minutes and replace them with new, clean ones if necessary. It’s better for your AC and your house if you do it this way.


And that’s how to clean a Styrofoam window air conditioner. Call a specialist immediately if you suspect that your apartment is infested with mold.

Using it while potentially harmful organisms are present puts your health at risk. You and your loved ones deserve to be safe, and so does your home.