Updated at: 20-04-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

It is necessary to perform routine maintenance on your RV air conditioner in order to keep it in peak working order.

Cleaning the A/C unit’s filter is the most important step.

The following instructions will walk you through the process of cleaning the RV air conditioner filter in five simple steps. You’ll also get maintenance advice and commonly asked questions at the end of the guide.

We can begin now, shall we?

Why is it important to keep your AC filter clean?

There’s a steady flow of air through your RV’s air conditioner (or any other type of AC, for that matter). In order to limit the intake of impurities, air conditioners use a filter system because the air we breathe isn’t always pure.

AC filters physically capture the impurities, and, of course, if you don’t clean the filter on a regular basis, it will become clogged with all kinds of unpleasant stuff. This isn’t a good idea for several reasons.

First and foremost, the filter serves to keep outside debris from damaging the AC’s internal components. As a result, maintaining a functional filter necessitates regular attention.

Secondly, a clogged air filter will greatly reduce the efficiency of your RV’s air conditioning system. Reduced airflow from the AC might be caused by dust or grime collecting on the filter. Your AC’s airflow will be reduced, but it may also begin to require more power in order to maintain its normal cooling capability.

Eventually, the dirt will build up in the RV ducts, causing respiratory problems, especially for those with preexisting respiratory disorders.

How to Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter

Last but not least, a clogged air conditioner filter can cause your complete system to fail if left unattended. In addition, replacing an air conditioner isn’t the cheapest or easiest thing to accomplish.

Importance Of Cleaning An RV Air Conditioner Filter

In order to cool a room, an air conditioning machine draws warm air from the outside in through an intake port. As the outside air moves in, it brings with it all of the dust, smog, allergies, and other particles that come with it. Even in the purest alpine air, dust and pollen can still be found.

Filters in your air conditioner prevent the most noxious elements from entering your camper through the chilly air you’re bringing in from the outside. As it performs its function, the filter accumulates these particles. The screen will eventually reach its breaking point.

Depending on how often it’s cleaned, the filter will either provide one of two outcomes.

  1. Because of the clogged screen, no air can get in or out. Weak and inefficient air conditioner flow is the result.
  2. Filters can become saturated and incapable of stopping undesired components from entering, or they might become completely clogged. Even if the air conditioner is still working, the RV is being contaminated as a result.

Neither of these options is good for your health or the ductwork or the air conditioner in your RV when you don’t maintain your air conditioner filter.

At worst, you’ll notice a buildup of debris in the ducts. The worst-case scenario is that the AC unit will stop working or that health problems like allergy or asthma symptoms would worsen.

Steps To Clean RV Air Conditioner Filter

These methods are only applicable to washable filters. If you’re using one-time-use filters, check out the FAQs below for help. Do not take these actions.

1. Prepare The AC Unit

Begin by turning off the AC unit and unplugging its power source. Remove the filter’s cover to reveal it. When removing the screen, be careful not to injure yourself or damage the device.

If you don’t know how to remove your RV’s air filter, see the owner’s manual.

While the air filter is out, do not switch on the air conditioning. This can cause serious damage to your air conditioning machine, as well as a buildup of dirt particles in your RV.

2. Use A Vacuum To Clean The Filter

Sucking in air from a vacuum cleaner causes it to dislodge and remove any remaining particles from the filter. Be careful not to damage the screen with too much suction. Find the screen’s sweet spot of force that gets the job done without creating new problems.

A vacuum cleaner may be all that is needed to clean your air filter at times. It’s fine to put it back in after this step if you don’t see much accumulation on your screen.

A more thorough method may be necessary for unclean filters and those that haven’t received regular attention. If that’s the case, the rest of the instructions below will help you thoroughly clean your filter.

3. Soak And Scrub The Filter

Warm water and a light detergent should be used to clean your RV’s air conditioner filter. Submerge the screen in water for at least 10-15 minutes for optimal results. Use your RV’s shower or a huge bucket as a substitute.

Filters that are frequently clogged may need extra care. They’ll be able to stay in the solution for a longer period of time, perhaps for a few hours. To clean the filter, you can use a soft brush, such as a toothbrush, but take care not to damage the fibers in the brush as you go through the screen.

Rinse the filter when you’re finished inspecting it and are certain it its cleanliness. To remove all soap residue from the filter and any remaining debris, use the detachable showerhead (or hose) in your RV.

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4. Use A Vinegar Solution To Prevent Bacteria Growth

This mixture is a natural antibacterial cleaner that doesn’t harm the fresh air supply of your RV by putting harsh chemicals into the air.


  1. Fill a spray bottle halfway with vinegar and the rest with water, then shake to combine.
  2. Spray the vinegar solution on both sides of the filter and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. To avoid the RV smelling like vinegar when you turn it on again, rinse the screen a second time.

5. Be Sure The Filter Is Completely Dry, Then Put It Back In Place

Filters in air conditioners are made of thick, dense fibers. As a result, drying the filter can take several hours.

Allowing the filter to dry in the sun will help destroy bacteria and speed up the drying time.

As soon as you’ve cleaned and dried the filter, gently put it back into place. Reconnect the power and replace the air conditioner cover. Then it’s time to switch on your air conditioning again!

Routine Maintenance for Your RV Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning the A/C filter on a regular basis can help your RV air conditioner work more smoothly and save you money on expensive repairs.

After every two weeks of use, most air conditioner manufacturers recommend that you clean your filter.

Those who just travel on the weekends would have to clean their screens every two months. The air filter must be cleaned on a regular basis if you want to travel for an extended period of time or reside in a motor home.

People who suffer from allergies or other health issues may need to have their homes cleaned even more frequently. Rather than dreading your vacation, it’s best to wipe the vent screen.

Replacing an RV Air Conditioner Filter

Re-filter when you notice any wear on the filter. As you might assume, a clogged filter does little to keep contaminants out of your home’s air supply. Do not wait to have an old, worn screen replaced.

Tips on RV air conditioner filter maintenance

Following a thorough cleaning, don’t forget about your air conditioner filter for several months. The filter should be well-maintained prior to your next cleaning session in order to prolong its lifespan and ensure that the air conditioner performs as expected in terms of cooling performance.

Between professional cleanings, here are some pointers for maintaining the filter in your air conditioner.

Use the AC’s automatic cleaning function

If your RV’s air conditioning unit has an auto-cleaning feature, use it. An internal brush device is used by AC units with this feature to clear the filter of dust. Afterwards, the dust is collected and stored in a small chamber, from which it is finally blasted outside.

Though the RV air conditioner’s built-in auto-cleaning feature is convenient, it isn’t a substitute for regular cleanings. It will only extend the life of the filter, but it won’t be able to remove the most difficult contaminants.

Regularly clean your AC filter

This is a blatantly apparent piece of advice. The filter in your air conditioner should be cleaned at least once a month. Keeping an eye on the AC’s maintenance schedule will help you determine how often you should change the filter. Every 30 days or every two weeks, some manufacturers recommend cleaning the AC filters, while others advocate doing it every 30 days. Allergy sufferers should clean their RV air conditioner more frequently.

How to Clean or Replace an RV Air Conditioner Filter

Replace the filter if necessary

You won’t be able to clean RV AC filters indefinitely because they have a limited lifespan. The AC filter will eventually need to be replaced.

AC filter deterioration is usually obvious. Make careful to replace your filter if it has holes, tears, or any other damage. Bringing a few extra filters with you on the trip is always a good idea, but if you forget, you can easily pick up one at a nearby home appliances store as well.

Run the AC only when necessary

Finally, you should only use your RV’s air conditioner when necessary. In addition to lowering the AC’s contamination rate, this will also save you money on your RV’s electricity bill. The AC should be turned off whenever possible, even if you have a lot of spare power.

FAQs About Cleaning An RV Air Conditioner Filter

Can I Clean A Single-Use Filter?

No. Filters designed for single usage are called single-use filters. Don’t even think about trying to clean them and re-use them.

Once it’s been washed, a disposable filter will lose its efficiency and may not operate well when it’s replaced. Don’t spend your time or put your family at risk. Buy a new filter instead.

Can I Prevent Contamination From Building Up On My Air Conditioner Filter?

The longer time you spend running your air conditioner, the more particles will accumulate in the air filter. Maintaining low levels of airflow will help prevent accumulation on the screen.

Keep an eye on the cleanliness of your air conditioner filter by only running it when necessary. With less air being drawn into your cooling unit, the filter is less likely to become clogged. Filters need to be cleaned every few months, even if they are only used sporadically.


Surely no one would have predicted that a simple air conditioner air filter would play such a significant role in ensuring the system’s long-term viability. For those who aren’t familiar with basic HVAC systems, the air filter may be new to you.

It’s important to know how to clean an RV air conditioner filter if you’ve never owned one before. This will make your trips more enjoyable.