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How to Clean Your Japanese Air Conditioner

Fight off dirt and mold with our guide to cleaning your Japanese air conditioner to keep your home at the ideal temperature year-round.

By 5 min read

Japanese air conditioners are essential home appliances because of their cooling, dehumidifying and heating functions. But unlike other appliances, which you can shine up with elbow grease, cleaning an air conditioner requires a little more technical know-how. While removing and cleaning your air conditioner’s filters is easy, giving your unit a deep clean requires careful preparation.

It’s ideal to deep clean your air conditioner before periods of high use, like the summer and winter seasons. A deep clean is also necessary if you see dust or mold on the rotating fan blades inside your unit.

Here are Japanese products, search terms and tips for cleaning air conditioners yourself. For those who lack the time or don’t quite feel comfortable tackling the deep cleaning themselves, we provide a list of trustworthy cleaning professionals you can contact.

Cleaning Your Japanese Air Conditioner

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Here’s a simple breakdown of how to clean your Japanese air conditioner.

While there are many models and levels of intensity when it comes to cleaning, here is an overview of each step and some places to start. We’ve broken down the process into the following steps:

  • Preparation
  • Cleaning
  • Post-cleaning

Preparation

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Get to know some basic vocabulary about cleaning your air conditioner.

Before you tackle your big cleaning project, here are a few things you should prepare, from researching your specific air conditioner to the products you need to purchase to get started on your deep clean.

Japanese Air Conditioner Vocabulary

Research online to gather information on the process, products and general tips. You can find some information in English, but you’ll find much more in Japanese. Here are some search terms in Japanese and English to give you a head start.

Japanese Romaji English
エアコン 掃除 自分で eacon souji jibun de Cleaning an air conditioner myself
エアコン本体 eakon hontai  Air conditioner unit
エアコン本体(外側) eakon hontai (sotogawa) Air conditioner outdoor unit
フィルター firutaa Filters
エアコン 掃除 用品 eacon souji youhin Air conditioner cleaning supplies
(brand name) エアコン 掃除 方法 (brand name) eacon souji houhou How to clean (brand name) air conditioner

Air Conditioner Cleaning Tools and Products

Once you’ve done the initial research, it’s time to do some shopping. Here’s a list of some of the most popular items and some Amazon Japan links to the more specialized AC cleaning products to get you started.

Japanese Romaji English
お掃除棒(割り箸、キッチンペーパー、輪ゴム) osoujibo (waribashi, kicchin peepaa, wagomu) DIY cleaning stick made with disposable chopsticks, kitchen paper, rubber bands
除菌用アルコール jokinyou arukooru Antibacterial alcohol spray
掃除機 soujiki Vacuum cleaner
歯ブラシ・スポンジ haburashi and suponji Toothbrush and sponge
中性洗剤 chuusei senzai neutral detergent
つまようじ・綿棒 tsuma youji and menbou Cotton balls and swabs
新聞紙 shinbunshi Newspaper

Recommended Specialized Cleaning Products

Recommended Specialized Cleaning Products Romaji What is it?
エアコン洗浄カバー eacon senjyou kabaa  A plastic bag that covers your AC and collects dirty water
エアコン洗浄剤 eacon senjyouzai A specialized AC detergent
噴霧器 funmuki A pressurized sprayer with a tank and nozzle to clean the inside
養生テープ youjyou teepu  Water-resistant adhesive tape used for securing the plastic cover
クロスマスカーテープ kurosu masukaa teepu A cloth masking tape to cover and protect electrical components

Tips before starting:

  • Do research on your specific unit’s brand and model
  • Check your user manual or watch some videos online about how best to clean your unit.
  • Refer to the professional air conditioner cleaning company Osouji Honpo’s website for a visual guide.

How to Deep Clean Your Japanese Air Conditioner

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Deep clean your air conditioner in ten easy steps.

Keeping your air conditioner clean is essential for maintaining efficiency and ensuring healthy air quality. Follow these steps to deep clean your Japanese air conditioner.

Step 1: Unplug Your Air Conditioner

Before starting, unplug your air conditioner to ensure your safety.

Step 2: Open the Front Panel

Gently pry open the front panel of the unit. Take a moment to assess how dusty or moldy it is inside.

Step 3: Remove the Air Filters

Carefully remove the two air filters that become visible once the front panel is open. Be careful not to bend or damage the delicate metal coils behind the filters.

Step 4: Clean the Air Filters

Rinse the filters thoroughly in your shower. If they are filthy, use a cleaning brush and detergent.

Step 5: Remove and Clean the Plastic Mounting

Unscrew and remove the plastic mounting around your AC unit. Wash it in the shower just as you did with the filters.

Step 6: Attach the AC Cleaning Cover

Using water-resistant adhesive tape, secure the AC cleaning cover around the unit. This will help contain the mess during cleaning.

Step 7: Protect Electrical Components

Cover the sensitive electrical components on the right side of the unit with cloth masking tape to protect them from water damage.

Step 8: Set Up for Water Collection

Prepare a large bucket or garbage bin to collect the dirty water. Secure it to the bottom end of your AC cleaning cover.

Step 9: Use a Pressurized Sprayer

Fill a pressurized sprayer with a mixture of AC cleaning detergent (see above)  and water, following the detergent’s instructions for the correct ratio. Thoroughly spray the inside of your air conditioner with this solution.

Step 10: Dry and Reassemble

Leave your air conditioner open for a few hours to allow it to dry completely. Once dry, reassemble all the components.

Post Deep Cleaning

After you have deep-cleaned your air conditioner, you can keep it clean by cleaning your air filters at least once every two weeks. If your unit has a self-cleaning function (labeled as 内部クリーン/naibu-clean), run it regularly to reduce dust and mold build-up.

Hiring Professional Cleaners

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Be sure to book them in advance.

Deep cleaning your air conditioner can be challenging and time-consuming. It requires the right products and knowledge to avoid damaging your unit. If you’re unsure about doing it yourself, consider hiring professional cleaners. Remember that you may need to book them weeks in advance as many people schedule cleanings before summer.

Here are some nationwide AC cleaning services and independent providers. On average, it costs around ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 to clean a single unit if you go with a company and from ¥7,000 up if you choose an individual provider. Discounts are often available if you have multiple units cleaned simultaneously. Additional services, like mold-prevention coating or exterior cleaning, can also be added for an extra fee.

Nationwide cleaning companies:

Independent cleaning services:

Have you ever cleaned your air conditioner? Let us know your experiences and tips in the comments below!

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