Best AC Coil Cleaners Reviewed

Tony Case
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Don’t you hate it when your air conditioning unit’s coils get coated in dust? The first thing that happens is it looks disgusting and second, it is not cooling the air down the way it should. That’s why cleaners for AC coils are very helpful.

The primary function of the coil is to provide air with the necessary cooling effect. When you don’t clean it regularly, the hot air will have a hard time getting out and it will accumulate inside your room. This will result in a lower efficiency of your cooling unit.

Although the coils are placed in different areas of the unit, the main parts are usually in the return air compartment. That’s why a lot of professional cleaners focus on that part of the air handler.

If you want to eliminate all dust particles from your coils and keep them clean, investing in a good AC coil cleaner will do the job quickly and easily.

NameCategoryProduct
Nu-Calgon 4291-08 Nu-BriteBest OverallNu-Calgon 4291-08 Nu-Brite
Air Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk BrushBudget PickAir Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk Brush
Ivation Multipurpose Portable Spray Washer w/Water TankUpgrade PickIvation Multipurpose Portable Spray Washer w/Water Tank

1. Nu-Calgon 4291-08 Nu-Brite

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nu-Calgon 4291-08 Nu-Brite

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Pros:

  • Leak-resistant
  • Biodegradable
  • Effective in both hot and cold water
  • Will not harm lead pipe
  • Tested free from phosphorus

Cons:

  • Not easily available
  • Has not been proven safe

Heavy Duty Degreaser & Cleaner for Coil Cleaning.

2. Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner

Our rating: 9 / 10

Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Easy to disperse
  • Safe to use once the coil is dry
  • Non-toxic
  • Won’t leave corrosive residues behind
  • Won’t cause any harm to your family, pets, or plants
  • Can also be used on humidifiers
  • Maintains quality of the unit
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent quality
  • Effectively prevents mould that would otherwise form on humidifiers and other cooling systems

Cons:

  • Leaves white residue behind
  • Can leave an icky taste if not rinsed off properly
  • Isopropyl alcohol clouds over if sprayed on a warm surface

We’ve tested and used many coil cleaners and we’re happy to say that the Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner is one of the best in our opinion. The Frost King brand of cleaners in general are our top picks, and we have yet to find one we don’t like from this collection.

3. Nu-Calgon 4171-75 Evap Foam No Rinse Evaporator Coil Cleaner

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nu-Calgon 4171-75 Evap Foam No Rinse Evaporator Coil Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Non-toxic recipe
  • Works in all temperatures and weather conditions
  • Simple to use: just spray and let dry
  • Time-efficient

Cons:

  • Foam is suitable for cleaning only coils, not heat exchangers
  • May be hard to find in stores
  • Instructions on the bottle have been claimed to be inaccurate when used

The Nu-Calgon 4171-75 evap foam is a no-rinse evaporator coil cleaner that's simple to use. It only takes seconds to spray on your coils, clean and let dry. As the instructions state on the bottle:

Soak coils for 10–15 minutes in a bathtub of warm water. Use a stiff bristle brush to loosen any heavy deposits (not required). Pour off water into the tub by slowly turning taps to reduce splashing. Spray the coils liberally, using a foaming action. Allow a foam to develop. Agitate gently to remove all yellow stains. Rinse with a hose.

If you have more time, you can let it sit over night. It helps to break down the deposits and loosen them. The instructions state that it can be used in all temperatures and weather conditions. That is certainly true for me. I use it frequently during the winter months. Unlike other cleaners that work well in high temperatures, this one also works quite well in the cold months as well.

4. Air Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk Brush

Our rating: 8 / 10

Air Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk Brush

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Pros:

  • Very sturdy design
  • Extra cleaning heads for different purposes
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Only suitable for smaller areas
  • No exact-length tube

The air conditioner condenser coil cleaner from Crestware is a very handy tool for cleaning dirt, dust, and other nasty residues from your AC and refrigerator coil. It's extremely affordable, so you can even use it for commercial purposes. The holding tube also allows you to reach difficult spots of the AC.

The tube is extendable to cover a length of up to 6 feet, while the cleaning brush has the standard size of 3 inches. The cleaning heads are also replaceable and are color-coded according to their use – for example, one cleaning head is used for cleaning AC valves while another cleaning head is for cleaning electric wires. The double-ended cleaning heads are easy to clean and are also made from sturdy plastic. With that said, they’re also highly-durable in the long run.

5. Ivation Multipurpose Portable Spray Washer w/Water Tank

Our rating: 5 / 10

Ivation Multipurpose Portable Spray Washer w/Water Tank

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The Ivation spray washer is a handy little tool to have around the house and is a must for anyone with older vehicles or retaining walls that need regular cleaning. This device can be used around the house, saving you time and effort often wasted on cleaning duties and tasks. This unit is easy to use, especially since you don’t need to plug it in or use gas, and you don’t have to assemble anything before using it.

It is made from plastic and it does have a nozzle that may get stuck. Another point to note is that the watertank is rather small, so you’ll need to refill it often. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t have to clean huge areas, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best AC coil cleaner?

There are several different brands of coil cleaners on the market. All of them have their benefits and their weaknesses. Comparing them will help narrow down your options.

IntelliClean, a soft bristle brush 14” long, designed for cleaning and drying coils on refrigerator condensers, window air conditioners and swamp coolers. Its flexible, coiled design, with sponge strips every inch or so, it great for scrubbing small coils on AC units.

Presto 06301 Squirrel Cage Style Air Cleaner, is a less expensive alternative to the IntelliClean. It’s ideal for home use because it has a 16-foot power cord. This model is less durable than the IntelliClean, but it’s great for cleaning large condenser coils.

How often should AC coil be cleaned?

A dirty AC coil not only strains the unit itself, it also raises your energy bills and increases your risk of having AC coil problems. The properties of copper get oxidized when they are exposed to heat over extended periods of time. This leads to decreased heat transfer efficiency, higher energy bills, and risk of excess ozone emissions.

A dirty coil also means poor indoor air quality. Dust also prevents the coil from functioning properly. This leads to mold and mildew growth, which can also lead to lower indoor air quality.

What can I use to clean my AC coils?

There are a wide variety of methods and products used to clean your AC coils depending on the particular make and model. However, as powerful, heavy-duty AC coils are often hard to reach and therefore difficult to clean, the question of what cleaning products make sense for these coils is a tricky one to answer.

If you tend to use your coils in the summer, you’ll be able to use commercial products such as paper towels to wipe down the coils. Some customers recommend running a thin-walled aerosol can through the coils to clean them out. This is not recommended for longer coils, but may work for shorter, exposed ones.

Is AC coil cleaner safe?

Yes. These products are made from ingredients found in household cleaning products like vinegar, borax, and baking soda. They’re generally used to clean the coils because they break down the dust and debris trapped inside.

They’re generally safe, as long as you make sure you don’t directly spray them on the fan blades. Spray the solution at least 3-4 feet away from the fan blades, and make sure to cover or remove nearby furniture and electronics. When cleaning, always be careful and follow all safety precautions.

Conclusion

If you own an air conditioner in your home, then chances are it is one of the most expensive items in your house. So it’s imperative that you give it the care and maintenance it deserves, especially during the hot summer months. With our review of the best home air conditioner coil cleaners, you’ll have a much better idea of what to look for and which models are worth your consideration. You’ll also better understand the different types of air conditioning coils and cleaners available.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Nu-Calgon 4291-08 Nu-BriteBest OverallNu-Calgon 4291-08 Nu-Brite
Air Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk BrushBudget PickAir Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk Brush
Ivation Multipurpose Portable Spray Washer w/Water TankUpgrade PickIvation Multipurpose Portable Spray Washer w/Water Tank