Dirty Things in Your Home to Clean Now: Baseboard Radiators

  • 01 of 04

    A Disgusting Mess Lurks Behind This Radiator Cover

    Getty Images

    Dust is an enormous problem in old apartments and homes. But when you have baseboard radiators that haven't been cleaned and sealed you can find yourself dusting and vacuuming more often in winter. We share how to clean the disgusting mess lurking behind your heater's covers.

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  • 02 of 04

    How to Clean a Baseboard Radiator

    Deirdre Sullivan / SmallSpaces.About.com

    Behind most baseboard, radiator covers are thin metal fins covered in dusty muck (not sure how to remove your cover?) The dirt can reduce the amount of heat the fins radiate. To clean carefully vacuum using the crevice tool or dusting brush attachment. The fins can easily bend so work slowly.  Afterward, if the heat is not on, gently wipe the fins with slightly damp micro-cloth. 


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  • 03 of 04

    Seal Gaps and Holes

    Deirdre Sullivan / SmallSpaces.About.com

    Gaps around your baseboard radiator like around the steam pipe or wall allows dirt and dust to sneak into your homes. Here is how to fix:

    • Fill large gaps with heat resistant insulation spray foam. You can find this expanding product at most home improvement stores.
    • Seal smaller openings use a high heat silicone sealant.

    To avoid shrinking and warping, apply the caulk when the pipe is cool. It's also a good idea to wear gloves.

    There's one more way to seal the gaps around baseboard radiator covers.

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  • 04 of 04

    Aluminum Tape Also Seals Leaks and Gaps

    Deirdre Sullivan / SmallSpaces.About.com

    Aluminum foil tape is a great material for sealing found in air ducts. It can also be used like steel wood to fill small gaps around ​​hot or cold pipes.

    • It can be used in a wide temperature range, typically -20-degrees Fahrenheit to +200-degrees Fahrenheit.
    • It is chemical-resistant
    • It is heat-reflective
    • It is moisture-resistant
    • It is flame retardant

    Based on the above, I decided to seal the gap under each radiator grill in my apartment (as shown above) with aluminum foil tape. I did this as an...MORE extra dust busting precaution so my home could stay clean and tidy. I figured the tape will help prevent dust build-up behind my baseboard radiator covers.

    When applying, I found that working with smaller pieces of tape is easier. This is because you really need to place each piece of tape as far back as you can so it’s not visible when you place the baseboard cover back on.

    You can also use the foil tape to stuff into small gaps. The best part, you can easily remove the tape if needed.

    To get the job done, I used 3M's 3381 aluminum tape. It has a very wide temperature range, -30-degrees Fahrenheit to +250-degrees Fahrenheit.