How to Clean a Radiator — The Ultimate Guide

By  //  January 6, 2022

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A radiator can be a handy household appliance, but only if the radiator is clean and not emitting any strange smell. This manual will provide you with complete information on how to clean a radiator properly.

Before you start cleaning the radiator first thing you need to do is find a suitable working area to be able to do the job efficiently, you will first need to find a space where:

 You can put your radiator and quickly move around it (working space)

There is enough light available for you to see what you’re doing; practical advice: turn on all available lights

The radiator cannot be knocked over

Electricity sockets are available for you to use a vacuum cleaner or any other device that needs electricity

Protect the surrounding area with a plastic sheet. Removing the cover of the radiator is usually done from underneath, so the floor will most likely get dirty. To avoid having to clean a big mess later, put the plastic sheet on the floor.

Steps To Clean Radiator 

The radiator is one of the most neglected parts of a home. It doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should and is sometimes even ignored for regular cleaning.

The truth is that you need to clean your radiator regularly because they become dirty over time, which makes them ineffective in heating rooms. Central heating radiators can be challenging to clean, but you’ll know how exactly to do it without any issues with these steps! 

Step 1: removing any visible dirt

Using a flat head screwdriver or smaller item that will fit into the gaps in between vertical and horizontal tubes of your radiator, carefully try to remove any visible dirt from the radiator’s body. Do not force anything! If you feel struggling, put the job on hold and come back to it later. Any damage done to the radiator at this stage could ruin your chances of having a clean radiator in the future!

Step 2: filling up a bathtub with lukewarm water

As you run out of space freely available for working freely, fill up a bathtub with lukewarm water and a small amount of a gentle, non-aggressive detergent. Using a sponge or any other piece of cloth that will not damage the radiator, start washing the visible parts of the central heating radiators from top to bottom. Cleaning from top to bottom is important because it prevents dirt from being pushed further down into the body of the radiator.

Depending on the color of your radiator, you might want to use a rubber glove when washing it. This will protect your hand from coming into contact with any chemicals inside the radiator.

At this stage, if there is anything that was not removed in Step 1, remove it using a cloth and the same gentle detergent combination as in Step 2. If you use the rubber glove, make sure to clean your hands thoroughly after this step.

Step 3: drying off

Before applying any anti-rust products or painting over the radiator, it needs to be completely dry. Using a cloth or sponge that will not leave debris behind when pressed against the radiator, start wiping off all water droplets from the visible parts of the radiator.

Some radiators use a plastic cover to prevent cold air from going through them and heating that area. If you have a radiator with such a cover, remove it using an appropriate tool or carefully slide your fingers between the grooves into which the cover slides. Then, clean both the cover and the radiator.

To dry off the radiator even further, you can turn on a fan or heater or leave heating appliances on for about 15-20 minutes. If using a fan, make sure that there is proper ventilation in your working area and around the central heating radiator. Leaving windows open will also help with drying up the radiator.

Step 4: anti-rust protection

This step should be performed only after the radiator has completely dried up! Using a soft cloth, apply an anti-rust paint or another suitable coating over the whole surface of the radiator. Let it dry and repeat the process if necessary. This is especially important for corners and bends of the radiator that get little attention during cleaning.

Step 5: hanging the cover back on

You can put the cover back only after you are 100% sure that your radiator is dry and completely clean. Make sure to push it in so there won’t be any gaps left between the top of the radiator and the cover. Do not force anything if you feel like something does not fit! If there are gaps, you will need to clean the radiator again.

Step 6: fix any damage done to the wall.

The most significant issue people face during this process is stains left on the wall behind or around the radiator. As water evaporates, it leaves behind a dark residue. This can be very difficult to remove, so make sure you start this process before the water evaporates and turns into a stain.

Run your finger along with any visible stains and soak them up with a clean cloth. If necessary, use an appropriate water-diluted detergent such as dish soap to do the same. Make sure to dry the area thoroughly after washing it. The less water you leave behind, the better.

Step 7: clean up your tools and surroundings

Clean all of your utensils thoroughly before putting them back in their storage place or away from any other work areas. If you spilled something on the floor, make sure to remove it before it gets the chance to do any damage.

To prevent water from penetrating floors or carpets, I recommend putting down a plastic cover or sheet that can be easily removed and discarded later on. This will also prevent potential slips that might cause injuries.

Step 8: wait for everything to dry out completely.

Once you are done, you can enjoy your clean radiator for a long time. However, if you want the process to be effective, you need to wait at least half an hour before you turn on central heating radiators. If it is still raining outside, keep in mind that water may still be present on your radiator even though there are no visible droplets or stains. 

In such a case, wait until the rain subsides and repeat these steps.


After you have finished with all of this cleaning process, you should have a clean radiator and be protected against corrosion and rust. You can now sit back and enjoy your newly cleaned radiator in the warmth of your home!