How to Clean Behind Radiators

Whether you’re a weekly house cleaner or prefer to keep on top of the mess on a daily basis, there is often one area that gets forgotten about. We’re talking about radiators.

Often disguised behind sofas (not advisable), hidden by tables or simply at the back of your mind, it’s easy for these heating essentials to become a playground for dust and bacteria. But how exactly do you clean something that’s not so easy to reach? And why is it important? We explore all about how to clean radiators in this guide.

Why is it important to clean your radiator?

As with any surface in your home, if left dirty, bacteria and germs can accumulate. This can also make it begin to look unsightly. In practical terms, a dirty and dusty radiator could also stop it from working properly as the buildup of dust and dirt covering your radiator will make it harder for heat to escape. This, in turn, will make it harder for your radiators to work and keep your room warmer for longer, sending heating bills soaring.

By carrying out regular radiator cleaning, even just for a few minutes each week, you could bring your energy costs down and ensure your radiators can perform optimally. This is especially important if your household spends a lot of time at home, for example, if you work at home or have children and it’s during the school holidays.

Why is my radiator getting so dusty?

If you’re spending more time at home and with the windows open, it’s likely that you’ll have noticed that your radiators are dustier. This is because most of the dust in our homes actually comes from outside. It’s also made up of dead skin cells and hair, which we naturally shed.

As the dust floats in from outside and around the home, it will eventually begin to settle. The smooth, flat surfaces of radiators is the perfect place. The circulating flow of hot and cold air produced by a radiator also naturally draws dust to its surface. It’s for this reason that cleaning behind radiators is crucially important for a healthy and happy home.

How can I clean my radiator?

Cleaning radiators can seem tricky but by following these quick and easy steps, your radiator will be dust-free and working efficiently in no time. 

  1. Turn off the heating
    Before beginning the cleaning process, ensure that your radiators are turned off and cool to touch. As well as being safer by reducing the risk of burning yourself, it also means they won’t attract more dust while you’re cleaning them. The easiest way to do this is by turning the valve off on the side of your radiator. Turn the valve until it reads ‘0’ and wait for it to cool down. This may take several minutes.

  2. Use your vacuum cleaner
    You might usually consider reaching for a duster in this scenario but it’s a good idea to remove large clumps of dust first. Use your vacuum to clean in, around, behind and under the radiator. If your vacuum cleaner has smaller attachment nozzles these will make reaching those hidden areas even easier.

  3. Use a radiator cleaning brush
    Once the larger areas of dust have been removed, it’s time to use a radiator brush to deal with the remaining patches. If you haven’t got one, simply attach a microfibre cloth to a stick or long item. A ruler with a duster taped around it will do the job. With the duster, glide over the surface of your radiator as well as those hard-to-see areas.

  4. Get your hairdryer out
    While you might think your radiator is dust-free, some dust is probably still trapped and lurking in places you can’t see. Using a hairdryer is an effective solution. Simply turn it on to a cool setting, then angle it over the top of your radiator. Any remaining pesky bits of dust will fall down, where you can sweep away.

  5. Wash and clean with soap and water
    Next, it’s time to remove all of that bacteria. Fill a bucket with water and soap, submerge a sponge and then wipe down the exterior surface of your radiator. Afterwards, dry your radiator fully to ensure the metal doesn’t rust. You may want to place a towel on the floor below the radiator to protect your flooring or carpet from any water drips and spillages.

  6. Finish off with your skirting boards
    With your radiators clean and sparkling, why not check the surrounding skirting boards? Occasionally, dust from your radiator may fall down and stick to the wall, so use a microfibre cloth or duster to wipe this away.

Cleaning your radiator does not have to be a tough job. Small, regular periods of cleaning are the best way to stay on top of the dust and prevent it from building up. By following these tips, you can keep your radiator working efficiently and looking great.

If you have any questions or would like some advice about an existing or new radiator, the team at Great Rads are always here. Simply drop us a message and we'll get back as soon as possible.


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