How to clean dust from your radiators

Cleaning the dust from a radiator with a radiator brush

It's quite easy to forget about cleaning your radiators when going about your regular housework. Hot surfaces often attract dust and dirt and this definitely applies to radiators, especially down the back of them.

While you might think that dirt behind your rads is a case of 'out of sight, out of mind', dusty radiators could actually be preventing heat from escaping into the room and pushing up your heating bills. In this article we'll look some simple ways to keep your radiators free from dust and dirt.

Turn off your central heating

Before attempting to clean your radiators, it's advisable to switch off your central heating system first. As you're already aware, touching a radiator that is on full blast runs the risk of burning your skin, so allow about 30mins after switching off your heating before starting to clean.

Not only is switching off the heating safer, but it also makes the job of cleaning easier. A hot radiator will continue to attract dust if you leave it on while cleaning and it can be very frustrating if you're working hard but getting no results!

Bust out a radiator brush

You might be surprised to learn that there are brushes specifically designed for cleaning radiators. Radiator brushes are typically long and thin, with bristles that protrude 360°. They are normally bendy and flexible which makes them perfect for getting into all the nooks and crannies of radiators, especially down the back among the convector fins or between the bars of a classic column radiator.

Radiator brushes are not expensive but they are definitely worth investing in as they make keeping radiators dust-free very simple. If you've got an implement that makes the job easy then you're much more likely to keep on top of the situation and clean dust off your rads more frequently.

Get out the vacuum cleaner

Once you've displaced the dust from behind or between the compartments of your radiator, you might find that some large chucks have dust have either got trapped somewhere on the rad or fallen in a pile on the floor. Many vacuums come with a variety of attachments that make cleaning up dusty radiators extra easy.

If you have a long, thin attachment then you can use this to suck up any remaining dust and dirt from your radiators that the radiator brush may have missed. Some vacuums also have little brush attachments which would also be of great use in shifting dirt from flat panels, ridges or grooves on the surface of your radiators.

Clean with soapy water

Once you've removed as much dust as you can with a radiator brush and a vacuum, wiping your radiators will get rid of any additional stains, marks or fingerprints that would be missed by dusting.

When giving your radiator a wipe down, it's best to use a soft cloth or sponge and something mild like soap and water. If you use a scourer with a household detergent then you run the risk of it being too abrasive and damaging the surface of your radiator. If one of your motivations for cleaning your rad is to make it look better, the last thing you want to do is inadvertently harm the finish by improper cleaning.

It's important to ensure the cloth is damp rather than sopping wet, otherwise water could get trapped in tiny crevices and eventually cause some discolouration or surface rust. Use a dry, microfibre cloth to remove any excess water once you've finished wiping your radiator down.

Check your wall and skirting boards

Once you've got your radiator looking sparkling again by following the previous cleaning instructions, don't forget to complete some final checks before moving onto the next radiator.

Because of the heat emitted by radiators, dust can often be attracted to the areas around the rad like the wall and skirting boards. These are easy to overlook as they are not attached to the radiator but have a look and give them a wipe down if necessary.

With the radiator and surroundings areas looking great, you'll be pleased with the effort you've put in and can treat it as a good job well done. Not only will the radiators look much smarter, you'll have ensured that heat is transferred into your room more quickly and efficiently, and may well see lower heating bills as a result.

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