How To Clean Your Radiator Like A Professional?

How many times have you attempted to clean your radiators? Many, I guess! Me too! Every now and then  I try to collect the dust, lint and pet hair (since I have a lovely cat) that has accumulated at the back and between the panels, but with no result. It’s a waste of time! And if you imagine the amount of dust that can be found in a living room, then you can also imagine what’s happening on the radiator!

A woman cleaning a radiator with a soft cloth

Whether you use electric heaters, electric or oiled-filled radiators, they’re all part of the house, they need to be cleaned as well; otherwise,  problems might occur for both your health and their efficiency. So, it’s time to get into action! Grab your feather duster and give your radiators the best cleaning ever! Turn them shiny again. Just like new! Keep on reading our guide to find some useful tips to clean them (including chrome ones) on your own without the need for a professional. 

Why do I need to clean my radiator?

Radiators are an essential part of our lives since they keep our house and us warm. However, you should know to take good care of these household devices to keep working at their best level. You need to know how to bleed a radiator without a key, how to fix a leak but also how to clean a radiator. There are two reasons why you need to clean the inside and the outside of the radiator; efficiency and your health. Cleaning dust from inside and outside your radiator will save money, energy and maximise the output of your heating system. If there’s dust buildup, then the heat can’t escape, and radiators have to work harder to keep you and your house warm. And this applies to all types, electric radiators as well.

If the heat output isn’t as it should be, then you’ll feel cold in your house. The rooms won’t be heated evenly, and heating costs will be higher. Plus, moisture problems will start to appear. Dust buildup in the inner parts of your radiator will cause dampness in your house!

What’s more, radiators create the perfect conditions for dust mites and other allergen particles to grow. Do you know what dust mites are? They’re 0,1-0,5mm arachnids that live on every single surface inside the house, including your radiators, and aren’t visible with naked eyes. Cleaning and dusting aren’t enough, though. You need to know how to get rid of dust mites. These tiny creatures circulate in the air through the heat convection, decreasing the inner air quality. That’s why there are more allergy symptoms during winter when radiators are on. So, do you need anything else to be convinced and start cleaning your radiators?

Why does my radiator get so dusty?

It’s so annoying how quickly radiators get dusty! And that’s happening due to the way the radiator system works and how air circulates in your space. Hot air tends to rise. When hot air rises, cold air goes to the areas where hot air used to be, filling in the “gaps”. While cold air does so, it pulls in, at the same time, dust, pet hair and all sorts of other particles that exist in the air. Who would have thought about it? Even if you clean your house every day, these particles do exist and the only thing you can do is fight them efficiently.

Cleaning a radiator using a radiator duster

How to clean my radiator?

Before starting the radiator cleaning process, you should turn off the central heating system for your safety but also block up the convection current to avoid attracting more dust to the back of your radiator while cleaning. Get ready for some DIY stuff! Let’s see the following cleaning tips:

Here’s what you’re going to need to clean radiators.

  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A bucket
  • Hot water
  • Washing up liquid
  • Sponges
  • Soft cloths
  • An old towel
  • A radiator cleaning brush (if you don’t have one use a long piece of wood or a  yardstick)
  • Sellotape

To ensure the best results, follow these simple steps.

Use a vacuum cleaner

Start with vacuuming to clear as much amount of dust as possible all around your radiator. You better use the right attachments of your vacuum cleaner to trap those little particles that can be found between the fins, if you want to get the best out of your central heating. However, if you don’t have the right tools, there’s no need to worry! There are more ways to clean your radiator inside-out. 

A man cleaning a radiator with a vaccum cleaner

Place a towel

Place an old towel underneath the radiator. This way you’ll catch any dust, debris and anything else that might fall during cleaning.

Use a radiator cleaning brush.

Grab your cleaning brush and start pushing it at the back of it from top to bottom. If you don’t have that handy tool, you can take a long stick, like a yardstick, place a cloth at the end and secure it with some sellotape. Act similar to each part of the radiator, to clean most of the grime. 

Wipe with soapy water

Fill a bucket with warm water and dissolve some washing up liquid. Stir the water till you get a fair amount of suds going, soak a sponge into the warm water and wring it out, so it’s damp. Now you can start cleaning carefully.

Clean the wall above

After wiping the exterior part of the radiator with the damp sponge, don’t forget to clean the wall above it as well. Most of the time, dust sticks to the wall due to the heat. So, wipe any stains with soapy water. Just be careful not to damage the paintwork.

Dry up 

Get a dry microfibre cloth and wipe dry the radiator. Always dry them to prevent rusting. Give it some time before turning it on again.

Extra tip: One ultra-simple way to clean the back and the difficult sections of your radiator, is to use a hairdryer. Point the nozzle of the hairdryer at the top of the radiator and turn it on to the highest setting. This way you’ll be able to get rid of the dust that might have remained inside.

A woman drying a radiator after cleaning it with a microfibre cloth

Extra tips and advice for better cleaning

  • Add the cleaning of your radiator to your weekly cleaning routine. Regularly vacuuming is the best way to prevent dust from building up and make sure that your central heating works as efficiently as it should. 
  • If you want to deeply and thoroughly clean the radiator, then remove it from the wall. Plus, you can paint it a different colour from the rest of your walls to give a complete makeover to the radiators and your house too. 
  • While looking to buy a radiator duster, choose a long, circular one. It’s more practical for cleaning between the grooves.
  • If there are any stubborn stains, spritz them with a spray solution and leave it on for a few minutes. Then, wipe it away with a cloth or a sponge. 
  • If you have radiators with too tight panels, then you’ll probably have problems cleaning them with a duster. However, there’s a solution. You can use compressed air to blow dust away from all grooves and crevices
  • The best season to clean radiators is summer because you don’t use them. If you clean them in winter, be sure to turn them off first, and let them cool down completely.
  • Don’t use abrasive materials, like metal scouring pads, because they can damage the radiator. Opt for non-abrasive materials like a soft cloth or a sponge. They can get the job done.
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