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      07-23-2019, 08:17 AM   #17
Private First Class

Drives: 2018 BMW X1 xDrive
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: United States

iTrader: (0)

Possible under $30 DIY solution - I cleaned my AC evaporator this past weekend and eliminated the musky smell I was having on initial start up.

Products used: (1) Armor All FRESHfx Vent & Duct Cleaner Odor Neutralizer-Tranquil Skies (5 oz.) (, and (2) nextzett 96110515 Klima-Cleaner Air Conditioner Cleaner - 10 fl oz ( Also, there's a newtis service instructions on this problem here:

The beginning is the same procedure as changing the cabin air filter. Once the 2 filters are out, the evaporator will be on the side towards the interior of the car, not the firewall. I had a electronic endoscope, so it was easy for me too see where I needed to spray. The evaporator is essentially slightly smaller than the size of the 2 cabin air filters stacked on top of each other. Also, remove the door flap as it'll make life much easier - you push up on the door flap slightly and it should slip out of the grooves.

If you get Klima Cleaner, use the included spray lance. From the very top, aim the tip towards the interior and spray in a left to right, top to bottom fashion. Empty the entire can and wait 20 minutes before reinstalling clean cabin air filters. Run the AC in fresh air mode and footwell vents open only for at least 5 minutes. Basically, this cleaning step is a combination of the Klima Cleaner directions and newtis service info steps.

The FRESHfx may not be necessary, but I got it for peace of mind. I used this for the vents only to eliminate any possible bacteria between the evaporator and vents. Do NOT run the fan/AC after spraying the FRESHfx into the vents. Follow the instructions on the can.

I'm happy to say the smell is gone (for now). To help prevent this problem, I'm not going to run the AC in recirc mode anymore unless necessary, avoid having the AC button clicked on all the time, and clean the cabin air filters more frequently (have K&N ones). Hopefully it'll prevent the nasty smell from coming back.

Hope this helps anyone that decides to tackle the funky AC smell issue.