How to Clean Baseboard Radiators

  • 01 of 04

    A Dusty Mess Lurks Behind This Radiator Cover

    baseboard heater
    Thinkstock Images/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. Learn how to clean the mess lurking behind your heater's covers.

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  • 02 of 04

    How to Clean a Baseboard Radiator

    dirty baseboard heater
    Deirdre Sullivan

    Behind most baseboard radiator covers are thin metal fins covered in dusty muck. 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​ a slightly damp microfiber cloth


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  • 03 of 04

    Seal Gaps and Holes

    radiator pipes in wall
    Deirdre Sullivan

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

    • 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 to Seal Leaks and Gaps

    baseboard sealed with metal tape
    Deirdre Sullivan

    Aluminum foil tape is a great material for sealing found in air ducts. It can also be used like steel wool 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

    Seal the gap under each radiator grill with aluminum foil tape as an extra dust-busting precaution. 

    When applying, working with smaller pieces of tape is easier. 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.