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How To Clean A Radiator

Your radiator, like lots of other things in your home, will become dirty over time. This will not only look unpleasant, but can also affect the efficiency of your radiators. In this guide, we will outline how you can easily clean your radiators to keep them looking great and working at their best.

How To Clean Your Radiator:

  1. Turn off your heating
  2. Vacuum the dust
  3. Clean inside the radiator
  4. Clean the outside
  5. Clean around the radiator

Turn Off Your Heating

Before attempting to clean your radiator, switch off your central heating, turn the TRV to 0 and allow your radiator a couple of hours to cool down. This will not only stop you burning yourself, it will help prevent the convection currents radiators create drawing anymore dust into the radiator as you clean.

Vacuum The Radiator

The next step is vacuuming as much of the dust from the radiator as you can. For this you’ll need to use (if you have one) the extendable hose attachment on your hoover. Once you’ve cleaned the outside, try and get your vacuum hose inside the radiator and clear out as much of the dust as you can. If your radiator has a cover on the top, you’ll need to take this off first.


Clean Inside The Radiator

Once you’ve removed as much of the dust as you can with the vacuum, you’ll need to clean the rest using a radiator brush. This is a long tool with a brush on the end which allows you to get to the hard to reach places of your radiator and remove any dust. 

If you don’t have a radiator brush, you can create your own. Find a long piece of wire, or something similar such as an unravelled wire coat hanger, and attach a duster to the end. This should allow you to clear out most of the dust from inside the radiator.

Whilst you’re doing this, you may want to place a towel or dust sheet underneath the radiator to catch any dirt.


Clean The Outside

With the inside of your radiator clear, you can now turn to cleaning the outside:

  • Mix some washing up liquid inside a bucket of hot water until it's sufficiently foamy.
  • Dunk your sponge and wring out excess water until damp.
  • Wipe down the outside of your radiator, pipework, and valves.

If you want to give your radiator a complete deep clean, you can remove it from the wall. Or, if you want to breath some new life into it, why not paint it?


Clean Around The Radiator

Once you've got your radiator sparkly clean, the last step is to clean up the area around it.

If you live in a home with smokers or moulting pets, then the heat of your radiator can sometimes cause the smoke, dirt, and hair to stick to your walls. If so, you can wash the walls with the same sponge and soapy water.

It's likely you'll have pulled a lot of dust and dirt out from behind the radiator, so make sure you clean the skirting boards and the floor around it too.

Why Does My Radiator Get So Dusty?

When your radiators heat the air, that hot air rises. When hot air rises, cold air rushes to fill the space where the hot air used to be, pulling in all that dust, hair, and other particles with it. This means your radiator is essentially a big vacuum.


Why Do I Need to Clean My Radiator?

Every room has a calculable BTU rating, which is the amount of heat output that it needs to be sufficiently heated. If the output of your radiator drops too much, then you won't just feel uncomfortable, your home will begin to accumulate moisture. Moisture that is being allowed to cool to a liquid state.

It's unlikely that collected alone will cause your home to be riddled with mould, but if you have a build up of filth inside your radiator then you risk inviting a damp problem that will only get worse. So you need to know how to clean a radiator.


Flushing The Inside

Old radiators need flushing, obviously, but even new radiators might have sucked up a clump of rust from your central heating systems. Cold spots and higher heating costs are the unfortunate result 

Check out our article on flushing your radiator to clear out any corrosive sludge to learn how to clean a radiator on the inside.

That concludes our guide to cleaning radiators. If you've followed the steps above and you're still not happy, maybe it's time to purchase a new radiator.

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