How to Clean, Disinfect and Deodorize Your Air Cooler

An evaporative cooler is a powerful, efficient and fantastic cooling solution in a hot, dry climate, but in order to enjoy its maximum benefits, it is crucial to adhere to the maintenance guidelines. One key factor in maintaining a cooler is to prevent mold and/or a musty smell. This is completely preventable, and treatable, and there are some fantastic hassle-free cleaning and deodorizing steps you can take to do so.

The two parts of the evaporative cooler that require your attention the most for these tasks are the honeycomb pads and the water tank—both of which have 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. Product manuals may not always include all of the methods for cleaning these items.

Honeycomb Pads

It is important to replace your 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. This will disinfect the pads and also keep away any odors. Once the pads are washed, rinse them with water and allow them to dry before placing them back inside the cooler. Make sure to leave the pads out of the cooler till they are completely dry and 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, sponge 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 pads. The solution must run through the cooler for 30 seconds and 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 a 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 have already rinsed out the clean tank, then 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. You always have an option to purchase a product like this one on Amazon, which appears to have great ratings, or you can try a couple of do-it-yourself options.

According to this resourceful website you can add some Dettoll/Lizol, which is a brand of disinfectant floor cleaner, as seen here. This particular one has a jasmine scent, but you could probably just look for similar products at your local grocery store.

One innovative woman has taken the tried and true vinegar component and mixed it with an essential oil of her choice. With the two products mixed together in a handy spray bottle, she says that this combination has eliminated the musty smell from her cooler, and has left her house with a nice fragrant smell

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!

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