Cleaning Cast Iron Radiators

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated March 5, 2012)

During the late 19th and early 20th cast iron radiators became the choice in home heating, in large part because it allowed a type of central heating for those who weren't very affluent. Due to the popularity of these heating devices, it only makes sense that there will still be some around today in older homes. If you have one of these, and are having a few difficulties in getting it clean don't worry. Cleaning cast iron radiators doesn't need to be a particular tasking or involved project. All you really need to do is follow a few simple steps.

  1. Turn it off. Before you can actually do any cleaning of your cast iron radiator, you need to turn it off. These things get hot! And if you tried to clean one without turning it off, and allowing it to cool, you can easily end up with a burn on your hand, and some damaged cleaning materials. Once you have the radiator turned off, allow it to cool completely before you begin cleaning.
  2. Vacuum. Attach the soft bristled furniture attachment to your vacuum cleaner, and run it over the cooled radiator. This should be able to get most, if not all, of the dust that may have settled on your radiator.
  3. Detailed dusting. You may find yourself needing to do a little more detailed dusting, and if that is the case, make sure that you use something that won't accidentally snag on the cast iron. A perfect material to use for this detailed dusting would be a microfiber cloth, since they very rarely snag on anything.
  4. Prep your work area. Place a large plastic sheet around the cooled and dusted cast iron radiator. This sheet will be acting like a drop cloth which will help protect your flooring.
  5. Create some cleaning solution. In a large bucket, create a cleaning solution out of some warm water and mild degreasing soap detergent. The ratio doesn't really matter, as long as you get some soapy water to work with.
  6. Scrub away. Place a sponge into the cleaning solution, and then remove it from the bucket. Wring out the sponge until it is only damp, and then begin scrubbing at the radiator. Periodically rinse out the sponge, and every once in a while replace the cleaning solution with a new batch. Continue to scrub until you have removed all of the dirt and grime. If you are faced with a particularly difficult stain, place some undiluted degreasing dish soap onto the stain, and allow it to sit there for about 15 minutes, before scrubbing it away.
  7. Turn it back on. After cleaning the radiator, pick up the drop cloth and the bucket and put them away. At this time, turn the radiator back on, and enjoy having a nice clean radiator again.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

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