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How to Clean Your Car AC Vents and Switches

Ways to clean your car ACCar AC vents and switches are the guardians of your car airways sanitation but because they are so subtle, it is easy to overlook them in your car cleaning process. With tons of contaminants released everyday and floating around in our airspace; the chances of it escaping via your air-condition system and vents then into your auto cabin is high, if you allow it.

Why risk you and your family’s well-being and comfort by exposing them to pollutants such as exhaust, dust, foul odor and soot that often accumulate in these AC vents. It definitely takes more than a quick swipe but once you know how, and with practice, you will breeze through it with optimal results.


It is easy to make the proper cleaning of your AC vents and switches a regular exercise by doing so whenever you get your car cleaned. To ensure the best results, check that you have the tools and supplies listed below handy before you start.

Tools To Help Clean Your Car AC Vents and Switches

  1. Pliable brush with long handle – Simplest solution is to use pliable, flat and long brushes designed for interior detailing that can reach into narrow crevices like the air vents. These will help to take out surface dirt but if you want to reach deeper, you will have to opt for the following tools.
  2. Air Cleaner sprays – These sprays usually come with a spray tube that can reach further into your intake vent or grill. Each product is used in a similar way and will require you to spray in the cleaner and let it work its way through the system for about 20 minutes or as instructed by the manufacturer. Thereafter, you will need to turn the fan and air condition on for a few minutes to get rid of any excesses or lingering smell.
  3. Should you be wary of strong and lingering odors from the air cleaner sprays, you may be better off to use a steam cleaner for your car AC vents instead. Steam cleaners are a popular alternative as they are odorless and effective. By directing their steam nozzle at the vents, they will dispense steam at a controlled temperature and pressure at and into the vents and dislodge the micro-sized organisms and air pollutants that are lurking in its passageways.
  4. For your switches, you can go over them with a gentle stream of mild steam from your steam cleaner and quickly wipe them down with a clean microfiber towel. This way they are guaranteed to be clean, rejuvenated and non-greasy to the touch. Alternatively there are interior care and protection products for your dashboard that are water-based and oil-free that can be used to clean your switches which also provides durable protection against UV rays.
  5. When both car AC vents and switches are done, you will have to vacuum your car interior to pick up the bits that have beenVent cleaning forced out.

There are also many fresheners and odor removers in the auto shop shelves designed to remove foul odors but more often than not, they are temporary and do not get to the heart of the problem. If the smells persist, chances are you have air sanitation issues and it’s likely your air condition system, cabin air filter and car AC vents are at fault.

In case you are not comfortable to take on this task or feel there are other more serious issues involved, why not schedule an appointment with us. We have been in the auto cleaning and detailing industry many years and have many happy customers who turn to us to help them iron out a variety of air sanitation and other issues for their automobiles.

6 Responses to “How to Clean Your Car AC Vents and Switches”

  1. […] turn to them when the air becomes too musty, smelly or when they do not function as they should. Cleaning your air vents do not only improve the quality of the air inside your car; when vents are working properly, […]

  2. […] thrive? Steam clean the areas where the backrest and the seat meets, under the carpet and air vents to discourage the growth of pests and bacteria which may cause asthma, allergies and other […]

  3. […] that may be thriving in the deepest nooks and crannies of your vehicle, even those inside your car vents and switches. Here’s how steam does a better job when cleaning your car’s […]

  4. […] services, both as package deals and individually. These services include mobile detailing, air sanitation, tire detailing, engine cleaning, headlight rejuvenation, etc. Many of these services, especially […]

  5. […] found in newer car models (check your car maintenance manual for this feature). Its function is to purify the air inside the car by trapping pollutants such as dust, exhaust, bacteria, etc. In time, the air filter will become […]

  6. […] your car interior has a bad odor and you cannot locate its source, then it is an indication of dirty air vents. Dirty vents will blow air contaminated with a number of dangerous germs and bacteria. Steam is […]


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