How to Clean a Chrome Radiator

Individual holding cleaning product

Chrome radiators are a firm favourite among Brits and truly stand out from the traditional aesthetic of white painted horizontal heaters. Chrome radiators differ from standard painted appliances in several ways, but they accumulate dust and dirt over time just like any other. As a metal finish, chrome radiators can, if not properly maintained, rust. This isn’t just unattractive visually but also unhygienic to have on a unit that circulates hot air around a home.

The best ways to clean chrome radiators vary from standard radiators because it’s important not to leave behind any residual moisture that could, over time, develop into rust on the surface. If this has already happened, there are plenty of tricks that can help with how to get rid of rust on chrome. Don’t despair – read on; we’ve got you covered no matter your chrome radiator cleaning requirements.

Step-by-step guide

The highly polished and almost luxurious look of chrome radiators is one of their biggest selling points, so it’s no surprise you want to keep yours in tip top condition. Chrome looks tough, because it’s metal and we often assume all metals to be, but remain careful – chrome is not as durable or resilient as stainless steel, so it doesn't need scrubbing.

If your chrome radiator doesn’t have rust, follow these steps to clean it:

  • Use a microfiber cloth across all external surfaces of the radiator to remove any excess dust, dirt and grime
  • Make up a mild detergent of diluted white vinegar and use sparingly across the exterior
  • Use the microfiber cloth from before to wipe over and dry
  • To finish, use some paper kitchen towel and wipe in circular motions to remove any residual moisture and avoid water stains
  • If the chrome finish still looks dull, use a fresh microfibre cloth to buff.

If your chrome radiator already has rust in place, the following steps can help remove it. Please note that the level of cleaning required and the best chrome cleaner for rust will both depend on the level and age of the rust present. If this basic clean doesn’t help, you may need to seek the advice of a professional or consider replacing the radiator entirely.

  • Get some strips of tin foil and dip in water. Shake off any excess and then rub the damp foil up and down the chrome. This will remove light rust without too much friction
  • If rust remains even after a couple of minutes of light foil scrubbing, dilute some white vinegar half-and-half with warm water. Apply to a cloth and wipe over the rust. The acid in the vinegar should eat into the rust and dissolve it. Rub in using the cloth, but not too hard
  • When the rust is cleared, use a clean and dry microfiber cloth to remove any residual dust or dirt, and if you’ve used vinegar, pop this straight in the wash on it’s own
  • To finish, rub paper kitchen towel in circular motions to thoroughly dry.

If you’ve followed these tips on how to remove rust from chrome and find it’s still present, now may be the time to consider replacing your radiator with a newer model. Of course, we know where you can find some great ranges!

If you find that the rust on your radiator is too heavily developed and can’t be removed using conventional home cleaning options, but don’t have the budget for a new appliance, you may be quickly googling “can I paint a chrome radiator?”. The short answer is: yes, you can, but it’s not an easy job and it’s not a great long-term fix. Painting over rust may only last for a couple of weeks before it cracks. It’s thought that the paint could also force the rust further in to dissolve the chrome, so it is not generally recommended.

When it comes to maintaining your chrome radiator as part of a standard cleaning routine, nothing needs to be done hugely different to other models. After each clean, simply buff a microfibre cloth over the surface again to ensure it’s completely dry and to keep the finish shining. Towel rails are often chrome, so if you’ve got one, simply rub across with one of your (dry, clean) towels once in a while for an extra boost to its sheen!

If chrome radiators aren’t your style and you’re looking for a different look, Great Rads has plenty of other options to choose from – spanning colour palettes of 50+ shades. Radiators can come in just about every finish and tone you could imagine, and if you need help choosing the right one for you and your home, get in touch.

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