How to Clean Sludge From a Portable Air Conditioner

What You'll Need
Garden hose
Spray nozzle
Latex gloves

A portable air conditioner is easy to move from room to room. They can be a handy piece of equipment to have for a homeowner in need of cooler conditions in a particular room without the hassle of installing a window unit or purchasing an expensive central air system.

From time to time sludge and other particulates will collect in the drain tray located inside the portable air conditioner. In order to clean this machine, here are a few steps for you to follow.

Step 1: Place Portable Air Conditioner on a Hard Surface

Take the portable air conditioner unit and place it on a hard, firm surface. The best surface to place the unit on is either a wood or a concrete surface. Never place the surface on the ground or grass, since that will only allow additional dirt and debris to get inside the air conditioning unit.

Step 2: Remove the Housing Cover

In order to get access to the drain tray, typically located near the coils inside the portable air conditioner, remove the housing cover using a screwdriver. Place the cover to the side, with any screws that you remove, in order to keep them from getting lost.

Step 3: Place Bleach inside the Drain Tray

Place about a cup of bleach inside the drain tray and allow it to sit on top of the sludge build up between 5 to 10 minutes. Once this is done, use a garden hose to spray the inside of the portable air conditioner.  Use a spray nozzle and apply a medium pressure when rinsing the inside of the unit. Allow the air conditioner to dry completely.

Step 4: Wipe Clean the Drain Tray

Wearing latex gloves use the sponge to wipe clean the drain tray and remove any remaining sludge remnants inside the unit. Place another cup of bleach inside the drain tray and again allow sitting for 5 to 10 minutes. Wash the unit with water and allow it to sit until it dries.

Step 5: Replace Housing Cover

After the portable air conditioner is allowed to dry, place the housing cover back on the unit and screw it together. Take the air conditioner back inside and plug it into a wall socket to test it operation. 

The process of cleaning sludge and other debris inside a portable air conditioner should be done at least once a year or every time you notice a build up of sludge.