How To Clean Your Radiator & Why It Is Important
When it comes to the weekly clean, radiators are one element of the home that are often overlooked. With tight angles, dusty grills and fiddly parts, radiators are one of the most long-winded and time consuming things to clean, and frankly, we have better things to do! Like cleaning oven ranks and deep-cleaning fridges, there are so many better uses of our time.
However, a clean and dust free radiator will not only make your home look and smell better, it will work more efficiently. If you have convector radiators, dust getting trapped in between the fins inside the radiator will prevent heat from escaping, so your radiators will have to work harder to heat your room.
That new home feeling is worth the time and effort and your energy bills could improve!
If you are just as guilty as us of neglecting your radiators, now is the perfect time to give them a good clean. Giving your radiators a good, deep clean every 6 months or so will prevent dust from building up and keep your home healthy and clean.
A quick once over in your weekly clean will keep dust from amassing and complete your cleaning routine. The energy savings are not astronomical from this tip, but all pennies eventually make pounds!
Why is my radiator dusty?
The air is filled with dust, from inside and outside your home. This dust and other debris (think pet hair, nicotine residue) will enter your radiator due to the circulation of air in the room. As warm air rises and cool air falls, the cool air will take the dust with it, and draw this dust into the radiator, settling nicely in the fins and panels.
You may not have noticed the dust build up before, as we don’t typically spend a lot of time staring intently down a radiator, but we bet if you checked now, you’d find it. You will need:
- Bucket or washing up bowl of soapy water
- Sponges & clothes
- Towel or dust sheet
- A long stick – like a yardstick or the handle of a telescopic feather duster
- Rubber gloves on and ready to clean!
Turn your heating off first. There are two reasons to do this. Most importantly, you will not have to deal with hot metal and will be safe from burning yourself.
Secondly, cleaning your radiator when it is cold will stop the convection current from drawing even more dust into the radiator for you to clean. Always ensure your radiator is fully cooled before you begin cleaning.
Hoover time! Hoover thoroughly underneath your radiator and the surrounding areas to clear as much dust from the room as possible – it’s a great time to give the whole room a good hoover, moving furniture and using the hose attachment for tricky corners.
If you can get underneath your radiator and hoover up the dust from the bottom of it, this is perfect.
If you hoover has a long, slim hose attachment which will allow you to get down and inside the fins of your convector radiator, now is the time to give it a go.
For designer radiators constructed of tubes or columns, if you can get a hoover attachment through the gaps, you can safely remove dust this way.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a perfectly sized hoover attachment that seems like it was manufactured specifically for radiator cleaning purposes, not to worry. You definitely do not need to buy one, or spend needless money on a special radiator cleaning brush.
Using the long stick, a yardstick, metre ruler or even the handle of a telescopic feather duster, wrap a cloth around one end of it and secure with a Sellotape, a rubber band or hair tie.
Place your towel or dust sheet underneath the radiator to catch the dust, then push the stick down the back of your radiator from top to bottom, pushing dust and dirt out section by section. This method is also ideal for designer radiators that are column style or constructed from tubes.
Still got dust?
It’s time to bring in the big guns – you will need a hair dryer. A really easy way of getting the dust out from inside and down the back of your radiator is to blast it out with a hairdryer. Just point your hairdryer into the grooves at the top of the radiator and let it blast on the highest setting. The dust will be swiftly blown out of the radiator ready to be collected on your towel or dustsheet.
Time to grab your soapy water and sponge. Fill a bucket or washing up bowl with warm water and your favourite mild cleaner – a washing up liquid or mild all purpose cleaner will be perfect. Swish the water around until you’ve got nice soapy water and get your sponge wet then wring out until it is sightly damp.
Use the sponge to clean the exterior of your radiator, ensure your towel or dustsheet is nearby to catch any water spills. Use your dry duster or clean cloth to dry the radiator and avoid rusting.
Top Tip: check the wall above your radiator for any dirt or dust stuck to the wall, using your slightly damp sponge, gently clean this off then wipe dry with your clean cloth.
Never use abrasive cleaning products like Brillo pads, as these will scratch and damage the surface of your radiator.
If you have stubborn stains on your radiator that will not come off, spritz a spray cleaner solution onto the stain and leave for 5 minutes or so, and give it a good scrub with a damp cloth.
Never remove panels or parts from your radiator apart from the top grill – you do not want to damage the radiator in the cleaning process.
Any wet cloths or sponges must not be soaking wet, ensure they are wrung out and only damp to avoid spills.
If you are not convinced the radiator is fully clean, you may find removing the radiator completely to clean the front and back properly may be the way to go. Remove all radiators safely and ensure they are reinstalled correctly before using again.
If you are concerned about the level of dust or the age of your radiators, maybe they do not heat up properly or have hot and cold spots – it may be time to consider a Powerflush.