How You Should Be Cleaning Your Radiators

No matter where you are in the world, there’s a good chance these last few months have seen you spending more stuck indoors like ever before. If you’re like and can’t let yourself sink into the couch to binge a TV show, you’ll have taken this time to do some serious cleaning around the house.

Maybe you’ve emptied out the bedrooms and moved cabinets to get the hoover in there. You might have cleared out your cabinets and given everything a good wipe down for the first time in years. If you have been cleaning a lot, there’s still a good chance that there is one object in every room you’ve avoided going near, or if you have, you don’t know where to start with cleaning it.

I’m talking about your radiators. I think it’s fair to assume that most of us don’t even realise we should be cleaning them, or know where to start with cleaning. That’s all about to change, as I dish out the tips that will help show how you should be cleaning your radiators, as well as the benefits of cleaning. It all starts with knowing why you should clean.

Why should you clean a radiator?

Air will always circulate around a room. When you have a radiator in there, the cold air at the bottom will travel (heat rises) through the radiator before hitting the roof and cooling down again. It’s such a simple concept, but when you have a radiator that is all dusty inside, you’re stopping that flow in its tracks.

Not cleaning your radiator isn’t just going to keep it looking nice, it will help your radiator work optimally.

How to clean the “inside” of your radiator

When I say the “inside”, I’m not talking about figuring out a way to split the radiator open and clean the pipes. I’m referring to the gap in your radiator. Most convector radiators will have two panels with fins in the middle, or a single panel with fins attached. Dust loves to gather here, which makes it annoying to get at. Even if you have a hoover with a bunch of different nozzles and brushes, you can never quite get in there to brush them away correctly.

So what do you do to empty the back? Instead of trying to suck it out, blow it all away. Swap your vacuum for a hairdryer. They’re usually more accessible at getting above and below the radiators, and you’re able to attack dust from all angles. You’ll be surprised how effective they are at getting dust in those hard to reach areas right in the middle where cloths and brushes can’t get to.

My only advice here, which is all too easy to do by accident, is not to look down in the radiator as you use the hairdryer, or you could end up with dust in your eyes.

How to clean the front of your radiator

Most people will fear cleaning their radiators because they think they need a special cleaner or cloth to avoid chipping the paint. Radiators are a tough old cookie, and there’s a reason why they get thick layers of paint or polish on top; they’re resilient and easy to clean.

Take something like a chrome radiator (you can see some examples of this colour here at Trade Radiators). They’re quite shiny and look like stainless steel, so you might think you need polish to keep them clean. You don’t. A little bit of soapy water, a gentle clean, and a good cloth can keep them looking brand new for years.

How not to make mistakes

Before you clean, make sure you’ve done the following:

  • turned the radiator off
  • not lifted any abrasive brushes for wiping (or else you’ll ruin paintwork)
  • not tried to unscrew around valves to clean off grime or signs or rust
  • not tried to pull the radiator to get more room or a better angle to clean

Always use common sense and never try to adjust the radiator in any way; otherwise, a simple cleaning job could lead to a buster radiator or damaged pipes.

Would you rather avoid cleaning altogether?

You can relieve yourself from having to do any thorough panel cleaning by getting yourself a nice new vertical radiator. Don’t believe me? Then you’ll want to read about these 5 Good Reasons To Choose A Vertical Radiator.

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