How to Clean & Maintain Your Radiators

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Radiators may seem like tricky business, but they can be simple to clean and maintain when you know how. There are likely to be quite a few radiators in your home, so it’s good to know how to tame them! We’ve put together a guide on how to clean your radiator alongside answers that should help clear up a few frequently asked radiator related questions. 

beautiful white column radiator in modern bedroom

How to clean your radiator 

Residue like dust and pet (and human) hair are examples of the sorts of stuff living in your home. Regularly cleaning your radiator is vital for comfort, aesthetics, allergic reactions, and even productivity. 

Because of the strong convection current flowing through your home, hot air isn’t the only thing making its way around your personal space – the current is also the reason for all those particles gathering in and around your radiator. 

The remnants in and around your radiator can prevent heat from escaping, resulting in your radiator having to work much harder to warm the space. Here’s what you’ll need in order to clean your radiator effectively.


What you need to clean your radiator: 

•    Vacuum cleaner
•    Duster
•    Bucket filled with soapy water
•    Sponge
•    Cloth, 
•    Old toothbrush or specialised brush for heating elements
•    Towel 
•    A long stick 
•    Strong tape

Like bleeding your radiator, it’s safer and smarter to do so when the radiator is off and cool. Once the radiator is off and has cooled down, it’s time to clean it!

METHOD 1: Vacuum/hair dryer

•    Use the long, slim vacuum nozzle to get into the hard to reach areas – this will clear most of the dust that lives in and around the radiator
•    Alternatively, use a hairdryer to move the excess dust from the radiator


METHOD 2: Use a stick 

•    Put a towel under the radiator to catch excess dust
•    Use a stick that resembles the size and sturdiness of a broom stick, and wrap a cloth around the end while fastening it with strong tape
•    Insert the stick down the back of your radiator, and move it from top to bottom to push the dust and dirt out 


Method 3: Get soapy!

•    Grab a bucket of soapy water
•    Use a slightly damp sponge to wipe down the exterior of the radiator with the sponge
•    Make sure that any water spills are wiped up as this could lead to rusting
•    Because heat can sometimes cause dirt and dust to stick to the wall, give the marks a rub with the damp, soapy cloth


anthracite column radiator
grey traditional towel rail radiator
grey flat panel ladder towel radiator

FAQs: Radiator cleaning


How often should I clean my radiator? 

It’s important to regularly clean your radiator *link to “how do I clean my radiator when published*, not only for health reasons, but also to ensure your heating works to its full potential. 

What should I use to clean my radiator? 

Use soft cloths, dusters, narrow dust cleaners and hairdryers to clean your radiator – avoid using coarse materials which may tarnish the surface.

Should I remove the radiator to clean it? 

Never remove the radiator for cleaning as you can damage the heating system - aim to clean around your radiator’s panels. 

Should I contact a professional radiator cleaner? 

There are times where the best option for cleaning a radiator properly is to use a professional cleaner, which is likely when your radiator hasn’t been cleaned for a while, or in the case of moving into a new house. We recommend hiring a professional cleaner if you’re unsure if your radiator needs cleaning.

white horizontal column radiator with double panels
white double oval tube radiator


FAQs: Radiator maintenance


Can I use pliers instead of a radiator key? 

While a pair of strong, narrow pliers can do the job, there’s a risk of damaging the radiator valve. We recommend using the radiator key if possible.

How tight should my radiator’s fittings be? 

Never overtighten radiator compression fittings - just enough force should be used to make a watertight joint - this is usually hand-tight and then a three-quarter turn with an adjustable wrench.

When does my radiator need bleeding? 

If you’ve noticed that your radiator doesn’t heat up your home adequately, then it’s possible that your radiator system has air bubbles trapped in it. The bubbles slow the effectivity of your radiator circulating hot water, resulting in slow heating of your home and lower temperatures than should be expected.

Should you bleed radiators with heating on or off/can you bleed radiators when they are on? 

Bleeding radiators and cleaning radiators should only be done when the radiator is off and has had time to cool down.

single panel chrome vertical radiator
black vertical tall column radiator

Feeling a bit less heated when it comes to cleaning your radiator? Good!

Fancy switching up your current radiators? Pop on over and have a look at our wonderful range of designer radiators.

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