Air Conditioner Deep Cleaning Vs. Regular Cleaning: Which is Best for Your Cooling System?

With the scorching heat of summer in full swing, your air conditioner (AC) has probably become your best friend as it works tirelessly to keep you cool and comfortable.

That said, continued use can shorten your unit’s lifespan, especially if you do not give it some care.

So, to maintain its performance and its longevity, constant maintenance is needed.

This is where regular cleaning and deep cleaning, also known as aircon chemical washing, come into play.

But what is the difference and which one does your unit need?

Let’s dive in and explore!

What is Regular Cleaning?

Regular cleaning typically involves routine tasks like dusting and cleaning the external components. This is something that you do frequently.

That said, this process includes cleaning the air filters, and the condenser coils, and removing any debris around the outdoor unit.

You might ask me: How can I clean the air filters?

  • Cleaning it is relatively easy! You should locate the filters of your unit, remove them, vacuum the dust and dirt that accumulated on both sides and then wash the filters using lukewarm water with a mild detergent. Once it is dry, you can place it back into your aircon.

You might also be asking: How can I clean the condenser coils?

  • This one can be a bit tricky to do. So, get a professional if you can. That said, if you wish to do it by yourself, here is what you need to do. First, you need to access the condenser coils located in the outdoor unit of your air conditioner. You must remove the outer casing to access them. Then, like the filter, you should vacuum the dust and debris. After that, you should use a coil cleaner to clean the coils then rinse them with water. Make sure not to use a high-pressure setting so you won’t damage the fins. After everything is dry, replace the casing or access panel.

Regular cleaning aids in maintaining your air conditioner’s overall performance, ensuring that it runs efficiently. So, make sure to do this as much as you can!

That said, it is important to note that regular cleaning only addresses surface-level grime. It doesn’t tackle the internal components that may be clogged or heavily soiled.

This is where deep cleaning comes into play.

What is Aircon Deep Cleaning?

Air conditioner deep cleaning, or aircon chemical washing, involves a detailed cleaning of your air conditioning unit’s internal components using specialised cleaning agents. That said, since this is a meticulous process, I highly suggest that this should be carried out by a professional.

Deep cleaning aims to eliminate dirt, mould, and bacteria that have accumulated in areas not typically covered in regular cleaning. This includes the aircon’s coils, drainage trays, and vents, which, when neglected, can reduce your aircon’s efficiency, lead to foul odours, or even pose health risks. In addition, it aims to improve not just the AC’s efficiency but also the air quality it provides.

Key Differences:

There are some key differences between the two cleaning methods:

Scope of Cleaning

Regular cleaning focuses primarily on external components and some easily accessible internal parts of your air conditioner. These could include air filters, condenser coils, and evaporator coils. This level of cleaning mainly targets surface dirt, dust, and debris which may hinder airflow and efficiency.

On the contrary, deep cleaning is a comprehensive process that takes a closer look at your air conditioner’s internal components. With the use of specialised chemicals, deep cleaning works to remove stubborn grime and bacteria from the parts of the air conditioner that regular cleaning cannot reach.

Performed by

Regular cleanings can be performed by you or anyone in your household. This is because it mainly just involves basic tasks like dusting, washing or replacing filters, and removing debris. These tasks don’t require special tools or specific chemicals.

However, with regard to deep cleaning, this is best left to the professionals. Due to the complexity of the task and the use of specialised cleaning agents, professional knowledge and equipment are usually necessary. In addition, improper handling of the unit’s internal components could result in damage or even pose a risk to your health.


Regular cleaning should be done frequently, about once a month, depending on your usage. Deep cleaning, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be done as often. For most units, a biannual deep cleaning is adequate.


The primary goal of regular cleaning is to maintain the aircon’s performance and prevent any significant issues. Regular cleaning can help your unit run more efficiently, reducing energy costs and preventing breakdowns.

That said, deep cleaning is restorative. Basically, over time, dust, mould, and bacteria can build up inside your air conditioner. This can cause it to work harder and reduce its lifespan. So, deep cleaning aims to tackle these issues head-on, restoring your unit’s full functionality, eliminating foul odours, and even preventing potential health hazards.

The Importance of Both

While it may be tempting to stick to regular cleaning and forego deep cleaning, both are integral to the health and longevity of your aircon unit. Regular cleaning helps maintain the unit’s performance and prevents the buildup of dust and dirt. However, it doesn’t have the capacity to eliminate the dirt and bacteria that accumulate in the hard-to-reach internal components.

That’s where deep cleaning comes in. By thoroughly cleaning the internal parts of the unit, it helps restore the aircon’s efficiency, eliminate any foul odours, and prevent potential health risks associated with bacteria and mould growth.

Skipping deep cleaning can lead to a myriad of problems, including higher energy consumption, frequent breakdowns, poor air quality, and ultimately a shortened lifespan for your unit. So, while the upfront cost may be high, deep cleaning is important. You’ll also get your return on investment in the form of lower electricity costs and prevention of costly repairs or replacements.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the difference between aircon deep cleaning and regular cleaning can help you better maintain your air conditioning unit. Likewise, by understanding these differences, you can learn to optimise your aircon while also extending its lifespan.

Remember, regular cleaning and deep cleaning go hand in hand.

So, treat your unit to both and it will thank you with efficient cooling and clean air, especially during the sweltering hot summer.



Denisse loves reading and writing about culture, history, and politics. Outside writing articles for The Singaporean, Denisse enjoys musicals, gaming, and Harry Potter.

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