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What NOT to clean your radiators with

We’re all a little guilty of neglecting our radiator when it comes to the weekly clean.

And with “hacks” on TikTok revealing how to clean them well, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight that a lot of this cleaning advice often uses the wrong products for the job.

Without scaring the pants off of you, the use of the wrong product can lead to dangerous scenarios including fires and stains on paintwork.

A clean radiator is better than a filthy one!

close up of person cleaning a radiator with a cloth

It is important to keep radiators clean, not only because it’s better than a dirty looking one but keeping radiators free from dust and dirt can actually help to keep heating costs down.

Dust in between the fins of a convector radiator can prevent heat from escaping.

This will mean your radiators have to work harder to warm your room.

To help those guilty of neglecting their radiator, below we share the products to avoid when it comes to cleaning the radiator.

From abrasive Brillo pads to fire hazardous Zoflora these are some of the products NOT to use when cleaning your radiator.

Products that shouldn’t be used to clean a radiator

1 – Abrasive materials

As we start spending more time in the garden, dust and dirt start sticking to the radiators making them look unclean, this build up can also increase heating costs.

When it comes to cleaning, it is important to be careful with the kind of materials used to get the radiators squeaky clean.

Cleaning the radiators should be a regular job to help cleanliness, allergies, and heating bills.

When cleaning the exterior of your radiator be careful using abrasive materials like Brillo pads which may scratch and damage the surface, and even remove paint.

If you notice stubborn stains on your radiator, leave a spray solution on for a few minutes longer than normal and wipe it away with a cloth or a sponge.

2 – Antibacterial products

a person using a duster to clean the inside of a radiator

One of the products to steer clear of when cleaning the radiators is antibacterial products, specifically aerosols and sprays as these can pose a huge fire risk.

The chemicals in products such as Fabulosa and Zoflora react to heat and in a worst-case scenario could explode.

To effectively clean the radiators without danger, we would recommend firstly ensuring that your radiator has been turned off for at least 2 hours.

This is much more easily done during Spring or Summer as they aren’t in use.

Then use a hairdryer to remove any dust build up and to push any remaining dirt trapped inside place a towel underneath your radiator and use a long thin cleaning brush to get between the fins.

3 – Bleach

Before committing to cleaning the radiator make sure to double check all products for any corrosive chemicals that could damage the radiator.

A common one such as bleach can be particularly damaging and shorten the lifespan of the radiator.

We suggest avoiding using bleach at all costs as the harsh chemicals can deteriorate the quality of the metal over time and for those with coloured radiators using full strength bleach could permanently damage the paint and fade the colour.

For a streak free finish on metal surfaces, try diluting white vinegar with water before buffing it onto your radiator.

For the best radiator cleaning results…

For the best results and to prevent damage to your radiators when cleaning them, we recommend using a hairdryer and a simple mix of warm water and gentle washing up liquid.

Turn your radiators off and leave them for a couple of hours, blow out any excess dust with your hairdryer and then mix water and washing up liquid and use that to clean off the surface of the radiator.

Use a bowl to catch any drips beneath the appliance and ‘hey presto, clean radiators without the risk of danger or damage.

For additional help, check out our guide to cleaning radiators or watch the video below.

Some frequently asked radiator cleaning questions

It is true that clean radiators operate more efficiently, in terms of working better when the gaps in between panels and inside the radiator itself are unobstructed.

Convector radiators can be particularly susceptible to a build up of dust and all other bits of junk that could lead to the rad not performing to its full capabilities, whilst stylish designer radiators don’t have the same sort of issues and can be easily wiped down with a cloth.

For a deeper insight, take a look at our blog, How to improve radiator efficiency and performance.

Firstly, switch off the radiator for safety reasons before beginning to clean the inside.

You can fashion yourself a cleaning device for the inside of a radiator by using a thin wooden stick or plank with a towel or cloth attached to the end. This will allow you to access small and narrow crevasses within the radiator, and eradicate any dust and dirt that could cause blockages.

To find out more, visit our dedicated blog, How To Clean A Radiator.

To begin with, you need to make sure your radiator is turned off as a safety precaution before cleaning it.

Be careful to eradicate dust from between any radiator panels, so the component can perform to its full capacity without the distribution of heat being blocked at all.

You can do so by creating a cleaning device from a thin stick or wooden plank, and attaching a cloth or towel at the end. Such an item will enable you to reach awkward, narrow crevasses and get rid of dust and dirt that might cause blockages.

As it pertains to the radiator surface itself, you can use a soapy water-laden sponge to combat markings or stains.

For a more detailed insight, take a look at our dedicated blog, How To Clean A Radiator.

Firstly, you should ensure your radiator is switched off for safety reasons before commencing with cleaning your radiator.

It is important to remove dust from in between radiator panels, so as to not prevent the distribution of heat, and ensure they are performing to optimal capacity.

To do so, you should fashion a cleaning device from a stick or thin plank, with a towel or cloth wrapped around the end. This will allow you to reach into narrow crevasses and eliminate dirt and dust that could cause potential blockages.

With regards to the actual radiator surface, you can use a sponge and some soapy water to tackle any stains or markings.

Get more radiator cleaning advice in our full guide, How to Clean a Radiator.

Firstly, fill up a bucket with hot water and washing up liquid. Soak a dishcloth in this solution, before wringing it out. Then, position a towel beneath the radiator to catch any excess water that may trickle down and get to cleaning.

Use the dishcloth to reach into every nook, cranny and crevasse between the radiator columns from top to bottom, giving it a thorough wipe down across the entire surface.

Should you require it, there’s more radiator cleaning advice in our blog on how to clean a column radiator.

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