How to Clean Radiator

Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020

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Maintaining your radiator is not only key to it lasting but it provides efficient heat whenever you need it - and cleaning can be an important part of this.

Cleaning is an easy but overlooked way of making sure your radiators last and remain efficient. There are a number of ways to clean a radiator, of course, but where do you get started? How often and why do you need to?

Trads is here to explain everything about cleaning your radiators, including the methods you can use at home for a simple DIY job...

Why should I clean a radiator?

Apart from preventing your radiator from being dirty, keeping your radiator clean from dust or dirt can actually help to keep your heating costs down.

Dust between the fins of a radiator can prevent heat from escaping, which will mean your radiators have to work harder to warm your room.

It’s important to take the right steps and to give your radiators a thorough clean at least once a year. You should also keep on top of any dust that builds up by making it a part of your weekly cleaning routine. A few minutes of removing dust will add up and could lead to a big saving on your home heating costs.

Why does a radiator get dusty?

There’s no specific reason, dust falls on all surfaces in a home because it’s in the air all the time.

The reason dust and dirt clumps together and gets trapped in and around your radiator is because of the current of air that helps to circulate warmth around your room. Warm air rises and cool air falls. As the air sinks, it takes dust with it and it gets drawn up through the radiator. So your radiator is actually part of the problem, unfortunately.

It could be that you haven’t even noticed it before, not many people do consider the radiators an area to clean. If you don’t peer in-between the fins on the back of your radiator or look at the surface, chances are you’ll come across a fair amount of dust.

How can I clean my radiator?

There different ways you can clean your radiator, some are as simple as blowing or brushing dust off to a thorough cleaning. We’ve highlighted each one below.

Hairdryer Method

Yes, you can use a hairdryer to get the dust out from the inside and down the back of the radiator. It’s also useful with column radiators, such as our cast-iron models.

This will help you as part of a larger cleaning method, as you will have a lot of the leftover dust on the top, in between the columns and behind your radiator. The hairdryer will blow the dust into the air or onto the floor, so have your vacuum cleaner ready, too.

Thorough Cleaning Method

This method will give your radiator a full cleaning and one you should do at least once a month.

What you will need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • A long brush to clean with, a duster or radiator cleaning brush
  • Bucket of hot water
  • Sponge Cloth
  • Washing up liquid
  • An old towel or sheet

The Process

Preparation & Vacuuming

  • First, turn your heating off, this is a safer option than trying to clean a hot radiator, but a cold radiator will also stop the convection current from drawing more dust.
  • If you have any stains, spray them with cleaner and wipe them away.
  • Vacuum under and around the radiator to pick up any dust. If you have an extension or hose attached to your vacuum, try to vacuum behind the radiator, too.

Dusting & Brushing

  • Grab your brush or duster and clean as much of the back of your radiator and in the grooves as possible.
  • For columns, it's important to get in between them and clear the dust.
  • Like the method above, get your hairdryer and use it to blow any remaining dust off or from the back of your radiator.


  • Mix some washing up liquid inside your bucket of hot water.
  • Important: While it would be ok to use washing up liquid on our painted cast iron radiators, this would damage highlighted, antiqued, polished and other specialised finishes on our cast iron radiators.
  • Grab your sponge and wipe down the outside of your radiator, pipework, and valves.
  • Be careful not to splash too many drips on the floor or carpet, it will help to put an old towel underneath the radiator while you wash it.
  • Wipe the radiator off with a dry cloth to avoid any potential rust.

Final Cleaning Tips

  • Be careful with the materials you use. For example, avoid using abrasive materials like Brillo pads they may scratch and damage the surface.
  • Leave a cleaning spray on for a few minutes to remove stubborn stains on your radiators and wipe it away.
  • Check your skirting boards to see if any of the dust has fallen down and give them a clean.
  • You should also check your walls around the radiator as dust and dirt can stick to it due to heat. Lightly wipe away the dirt with a soapy sponge.
  • You may have to remove the radiator altogether for a thorough cleaning or if you are decorating behind the radiator.

Is it time you updated your radiators? Here at Trads, we have an excellent range of beautiful cast iron and steel radiators to update your home with!

Shop Online here

Feel free to contact us if you need any help choosing a radiator

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