How to Clean, Disinfect, and Deodorize Your Air Cooler

An evaporative air cooler is a powerful, efficient, and fantastic cooling solution in any hot, dry climate, but it is crucial to maintain your air cooler properly so you can enjoy its maximum benefits. One key reason to take care of your cooler is to prevent mold or a musty smell from developing. These problems are completely preventable and treatable, and there are some effective, hassle-free cleaning and deodorizing steps you can take to ensure your cooler stays in good working order.

The two parts of the evaporative cooler that require the most of your attention here are the honeycomb pads and the water tank, both of which need to be cleaned regularly. The cooler must be completely drained at least once a week, and the honeycomb cooling pads should be removed, washed, and air-dried at the same time. Note that product manuals may not always include the methods for cleaning these items.

Honeycomb Pads

It is important to replace the honeycomb pads with new ones at least once a year, but for regular maintenance it is advisable to clean them once a week.

The most thorough and safe way to clean the cooling pads is by combining water and vinegar in a 50-50 ratio solution. You can rinse or soak the pads in the solution, which will disinfect the pads and keep odor away. Once the pads have been thoroughly washed, rinse them with water and allow them to dry completely before placing them back inside the cooler. Don't place the pads back in the cooler until the water tank is clean and ready to reassemble.

Water Tank

The water tank should be emptied and then wiped gently with a soft cloth and warm water to eliminate moldy residue that may have built up since the previous cleaning. You can also wash the tank with mild, soapy water and then flush it out with clean water.

Once the tank has been cleaned, the next step is to clean the pipes to ensure that they are free of mold. This can be successfully achieved by using the same 50-50 water and vinegar mix that was used to clean the cooling pads. The solution must run through the cooler for 30 seconds, which should be rinsed with clean water after you are done. Whether you use vinegar or soap to clean the tank, allow the cooler to run on fan mode on high speed for 10-15 minutes while the tank remains empty. This will ensure that the smell of vinegar doesn’t get absorbed into the honeycomb pads.

Once this is finished and you've already rinsed out the clean tank, fill it with clean water and allow the water to run through the tank for a couple of minutes to eliminate all the vinegar.

Deodorizing Options

There are a few options for deodorizing your air cooler. According to this resourceful website, you could use any decent-brand floor cleaner disinfectant

One innovative woman has taken the tried-and-tested vinegar solution and mixed it with an essential oil of her choice. She says that by putting the new mixture in a handy spray bottle, the combination eliminates the musty smell from her cooler and leaves her house with a nice fragrance. 

Here is her recipe, which is listed on her website:

  • Vinegar
  • 10 drops of Purify Oil. This oil is known for eliminating odor and cleansing the air
  • 15 Drops of Citrus Bliss

It’s important to know that there are options to enhance your experience with evaporative coolers, and knowing how to disinfect, clean, and deodorize them is a great start!


Reply to rose sonja
“how do I get into the tank to clean it?”

Hi Rose,

For EACs that don’t have a detachable tank you can still follow the guide to add some vinegar into the tank the same way you would add water normally (through the water fill door). You simply unplug the drain plug to drain the vinegar solution after. The vinegar itself can help reduce the grime inside without having to scrub it physically, when the tank is not detachable.

- Team Myhomeclimate

Disha October 13, 2021

how do I get into the tank to clean it?

rose sonja October 13, 2021
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