How To Clean Radiators

How To Clean Radiators

Airborne Contamination

When using our central heating radiators, they become the heart and lungs of the home during the cold spells and winter months that we all rely on for our warmth comfort and wellbeing.

cleaning radiators - how to clean radiator in house

But few of us ever relate radiators to poor indoor air quality and health issues in our homes.

It is now becoming evident our insulated airtight homes have significantly changed the indoor environments in which our radiators operate.

Radiators have now become the main source of airflow throughout the home, by heat convection recirculating warm air.

cleaning radiators to improve heat ventilation

See Blog -  Can You Be Allergic To Central Heating Radiators


Unfortunately, this transmits dust particles that contain pollutants raising exposure levels of allergens, bacteria and toxins that can trigger adverse respiratory reactions for vulnerable occupants when inhaled in the air they breathe indoors.

Our radiators should be one of those many to-do cleaning tasks when keeping on top of our house cleaning.

cleaning behind a radiator


There are circa 190 million radiators across the UK of which a large proportion are never cleaned, they accumulate reservoirs of dust that can host an array of product chemicals, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), mould spores and allergens which are potent triggers of Asthma attacks and respiratory infections that peak during the winter months.

Radiators are something that we seem to forget about and they are one of the fixed items in our homes that go unnoticed especially behind the radiator, as we do not seem to realise that over time there has been a buildup of dust accumulation which could not be good for your health.

cleaning dirty radiatorscleaning in between radiator fins


If you have a clean radiator it looks more attractive and not only that, they also function more efficiently when clean.


See Blog – The Importance of Cleaning your Radiators


The easiest way to keep your radiators dust-free is to clean them regularly.  If you leave them over time they will accumulate a lot of dust and dirt in hard to reach grooves, more so if you have a pet like a cat or a dog, pet dander can build up behind the radiator and in between the fins!

Pet Dander

Pet dander is composed of tiny flecks of skin shed by cats and dogs or any animal with feathers or fur.  Even animals with short hair, or those who are hairless, produce dander and release it into the environment.

pet dander can live as dust behind radiator in house


For people who are allergic to it, or those with asthma, pet dander is potentially dangerous. Inhaling it can cause breathing problems or worsen existing respiratory difficulties and severely impair lung function.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include sneezing, runny nose, skin problems, watery eyes, wheezing, congestion and tightness in the chest.

In some people, only a significant exposure causes a reaction, while in others even a tiny amount could trigger an attack.  For people who have extreme sensitivity, as little as 15 to 30 minutes can produce a severe response.


Coronavirus Epidemic

As a result of the coronavirus epidemic, the majority of us will be spending far more time in our homes to reduce the risk of spreading or becoming affected by the virus.

It is recognised that viruses can spread rapidly when we sneeze or cough in close proximity of each other in enclosed public spaces.

virus - cleaning behind radiators to reduce dust build up

Unfortunately, as a result of green building regulations and refurbishment, our homes have become poorly ventilated trapping us indoors with poor quality air.

cleaning radiators in house


Indoor air quality and hygiene will be a factor in these difficult times for the wellbeing of vulnerable occupants with ongoing respiratory problems.

The content and level of dust exposure in a poorly ventilated home can have adverse effects on vulnerable occupants when being circulated and suspended by heat convection from the central heating system.

cleaning behind radiators improves health

This is why it is so important to clean your radiator thoroughly and especially the one place that we don’t even consider is behind the radiator!

If you are considering using a radiator brush then beware that even though you think your radiator is clean, you have the problem that the dust is only being circulated back into the atmosphere.

The only way to make sure your radiator is thoroughly dust free and clean is to have full access!

We would recommend that you clean the radiator with a cloth and some warm water no chemical products are advised!


How to Clean Radiator Thoroughly?

cleaning behind radaitors

Picture 1 – Remove the excessive dust and grime with a vacuum

Picture 2 – Remove any stains and very fine particles of dust with a moist cloth.

Picture  3 – Shows the amount of dirt that has been cleaned from radiator.


See Video – How to Clean between fins of the radiator 


Coronavirus Outbreak Advice When Cleaning Radiators

The warm and humid air found in between the fins and behind the radiator are ideal conditions for bacteria to survive and thrive.

When cleaning your radiators make sure you use a damp cloth or cleaning item rather than a duster which can very quickly send the bacteria airborne.  

Also, it is advised to wear protective gloves as the coronavirus can survive on certain surfaces for up to 2-3 days.

See article  How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Steel Surfaces



See Blog – How To Clean House Radiators

See Blog – Tips To Avoid Dust And Dirt In Your Home



During the Coronavirus outbreak, our homes have become our sanctuary for everyone’s wellbeing and the protection of our NHS and frontline providers.

It is our own responsibility to manage the quality of the air we breathe indoors for the duration of the lockdown. 

As a short-term measure to improve your indoor air quality during this crisis, we recommend you open your windows to create indoor air change to refresh the air internally.

The opportunity to open windows in City and Urban homes is possible at the moment!  As the pollution from traffic and manufacturing industry is at reduced exposure levels.

We also recommend you turn down or use your central heating less to maintain the indoor air quality as an interim measure until lockdown has ended.

We at Rotarad believe having accessible radiators as a UK standard for periodic deep cleaning to manage indoor air pollution and exposure will be a major factor for the wellbeing of millions of occupants in fully insulated homes for the future.

cleaning behind a radiator

For the future this will have benefits for decorating!


See Blog – How To Decorate Behind A Radiator Without Removing It

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