Tips for Easily & Effectively Cleaning Car Air Vents
How to clear your car's air ducts of dust and allergens
Your car’s air vents might not look dirty, but they’ll filled with dust and particulate that blows into your lungs every time you run the air conditioning. If the air ducts are filthy and neglected, they’ll fill the cabin with pollutants and irritants that could be harmful to your lungs.
When you’re cleaning your vehicle’s interior by vacuuming the seats and dusting the dashboard, make sure you’re also cleansing the car air vents following these steps every six months.
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Spray compressed air into the vents
Just like cleaning a keyboard or other sensitive electronics, a can of compressed air will stir up any dirt sticking to the air duct surfaces.
First, spray it into the exterior air intake vents, located by the windshield, running the car and air circulation system as you do. Then, turn off the engine and A/C completely and spray into the cabin air vents. Only use an aerosol product that’s safe for vent and duct cleaning, like Armor All FRESHfx or A/C Pro Vent & Duct Cleaner.
Use a strong vacuum
To suck that loose dirt out of the vents, grab the hose of a powerful wet/dry vacuum and hold it against the vent cover. Run the vacuum to pull the filth out and carefully
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Wipe the vent slots
Swap any remaining dirt and dust off the vent slots by using a cloth. The best way to reach between them into all the nooks and crannies is with a slotted brush or vent cleaner. It costs only a couple bucks and is a must-have tool for anyone who’s sensitive to dust or has breathing problems.
Change the air filter
When’s the last time you or your mechanic changed the cabin air filter in your car? This item should be replaced every 15,000-25,000 miles. The more frequently you run the HVAC system, the more often you should change the filter — or if you live in an area with high air pollution levels.
If your car has foul embedded odors, like cigarette smoke, coming from the vents, you’ll need to take further measures. You can spray the aerosol cleaner into the interior and exterior intake vents to cycle it through the system as you run it. A professional auto detailer can also steam clean the vents to safely wash them.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.