How to Clean Mold from Air Conditioner Vents

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Updated July 25, 2022

Even the best air conditioner you can buy won’t last long if you aren’t keeping up with preventative maintenance. This can cause multiple problems, including mold growth, which can cause various adverse health effects and pose a general health hazard. And if you’re here reading up on how to clean mold from air conditioner vents, it’s a sure sign that you’ve neglected to carry out regular maintenance on your AC.


  • Mold spores can cause potential health risks and physical symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, or even headaches.
  • The first step is cleaning the vent cover. You simply allow it to soak, spray it down with a hose, and then dry it.
  • The second step is treating the interior of your air ducts using soapy water and other products used to treat mold.

But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

How to Treat Mold in Air Conditioner Vents

Whether you have a mold allergy or not, mold in your AC can lead to serious health complications, especially if you have a black mold infestation. One of the first signs you have a problem is a stale, moldy, or mildewy smell from your air conditioning unit. If this happens, it’s time to open the vent cover and see if you can spot visible mold in your system.

Insider Tip

Wear protective eyewear and a mask when cleaning mold out of your air conditioner unit to avoid potential irritants from getting into your eyes and lungs.

Mold can also attract insects that feed on decaying matter, so keeping your system mold-free is integral to preventing bugs from coming through your window air conditioner. A common source of mold in air conditioner vents is stagnant water and organic debris, so be sure you know how to drain water from a window air conditioner and how to clean leaves out of your air conditioner. Another thing you can do is use mold growth inhibitor products.

Of course, if you’ve already got mold issues, just follow these steps.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: 15 minutes
  • Total Steps: 7
  • Tools Needed: Screwdriver


First, turn off the power to your air conditioning unit.


Take your screwdriver and unscrew the vent cover. Put this outside in a tub of soapy water and allow it to soak for a while.


Use a vacuum cleaner to suck out debris inside your vents.


Spray the air ducts with soapy water and a bleach solution. Allow the mixture to soak for at least 10 minutes.


Use a hose to spray the vent cover with plain water, then let it dry thoroughly.


Mold can severely affect indoor air quality and cause physical symptoms, such as coughing, runny noses, respiratory issues, and more.


Wipe the interior duct surface with plain water and then dry it thoroughly. If you have mold removal products, use those following their directions.


Replace the vent cover.

STAT: The most populated U.S. states such as Florida, Texas, and New York had over 7,000 plumbing and HVAC contractor establishments in 2019. (source)


Is mold on air vents dangerous?

Mold is never a good thing. In some people, it will cause an allergic reaction. However, nobody is immune to the variety of health issues mold can cause. Mold growth should be dealt with quickly and effectively.

What does mold on air ducts look like?

While some mold may not be visible to the naked eye, you may start to notice “dark dots” in your air vents. The most significant sign of mold is a tell-tale musty smell when using your AC.

Will an air duct cleaning service remove mold?

That depends on the duct cleaning service, but most of them will. Make sure that you call and ask the company that you’re thinking about hiring for specific information on their abilities.

Why is mold growing in my AC vents?

There are several reasons mold growth may be present in your air conditioning vents. The biggest issue is too much moisture combined with poor ventilation.

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