How to clean behind radiators – top tips for getting in the gaps

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Heating: Expert demonstrates how to bleed a radiator

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As well as making your house look and feel cleaner, one advantage to cleaning behind the radiator can be to actually keep your heating costs down. Dust in between the fins of a radiator convector can prevent heat from escaping, which means your heaters will have to work twice as hard to warm up the room. It’s important to take the right measures and thoroughly clean behind your radiators at least once a year, while keeping on top of any dust that builds up in between.

How to clean behind radiators

Before you make a start, make sure you’ve got these things to hand:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Duster
  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Sponges and cloths
  • Towel or a dust sheet
  • A long stick (like a yardstick)
  • Sellotape

Before you begin, it’s important to make sure that all heating appliances are switched off.

Not only is this a safer option than trying to clean a hot heater, it makes more sense to start cleaning when it’s cold as this will stop convection current from drawing even more dust behind the radiator.

To start with, you need to try and clear as much of the dust from in, around and under your radiator as possible.

If you have the right attachments on your hoover, you might even be able to get inside and between the fins – but don’t worry if you don’t.

Of course, one option is to buy specialist cleaning brushes for behind the heater, but this method is much cheaper.

Just take a long piece of wood, something resembling a yardstick or meter rules, and wrap a cloth around the end and secure it in placer with some sellotape – being careful not to cover too much of the cloth’s surface area with tape.

Place a towel under the radiator in order to catch any dust residue, and begin to push the stick down the back of your radiator from top to bottom, pushing dust and dirt out until all clear.

Repeat this on every section until you’ve cleared most, if not all, of the dust away from the area.

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Believe it or not, but another really easy way to get the dust out from behind your radiator is to use a hairdryer.

Just point the nozzle of the dryer into the grooves at the top of your radiator and turn it onto the highest setting.

That should help you get out a lot of the leftover dust from behind the radiator, just make sure to put a dust sheet or towel down on the floor before you begin.

After you’ve done either of these methods, grab your bucket and fill it up with warm water before pouring in a little bit of washing up liquid or your favourite household cleaner.

Swirl the water around until you get a good amount of soap suds going, put your sponge into the water and wring it out so it’s slightly damp.

Wipe down the exterior of your radiator with the sponge, taking extra care not to splash too many drips on the floor or carpet, and wipe away with a dry cloth to avoid rusting.

And last, but definitely not least, check the wall above where your radiator is placed, as the heat can often cause dirt and dust to stick to the wall.

Using the same soapy water, just give the marks a quick rub, being careful not to damage any paintwork or wallpapering – and don’t do it with an abrasive sponge or scourer as this will ruin the walls.

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