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The Ultimate Guide to Removing Rust from Radiators Like a Pro

by Linda Cleans 08 Nov 2023

Rust can be a common problem for radiators, especially in damp environments. Not only does it make radiators look unsightly, but it can also affect their performance and efficiency. If you're dealing with rusty radiators, don't worry! There are effective ways to remove rust and restore them to their former glory.

Understanding the importance of removing rust from radiators

Rust is not just a cosmetic issue when it comes to radiators. It can have serious implications for the function and efficiency of your heating system. When rust forms, it can create a layer of insulation on the surface of the radiator, preventing the heat from radiating evenly. This means that your radiator has to work harder, resulting in increased energy consumption and higher utility bills.

So what are the steps to removing the rust and preventing it in future?

Turn the Heating OFF

Just as common sense this should always be your first step when cleaning anything heated or electric. Wait for the radiator to cool before you start! We don’t want you burning yourselves.

Wipe Down the Radiator

Before you try and attack the rust, the first think you need to do is remove any general dust, dirt or grime. Dip a microfibre cloth into bowl of warm soapy water and wipe down the entire radiator. This will remove any bacteria that has been hanging around from your wet towels and reveal any hidden rusty areas that you may not have spotted.

If you have a chrome bathroom radiator it’s best to clean it at least once a week to keep them germ free and extra shiny.

Remove the Rust

Now for the fun part, finally getting rid of that rust! Mix an equal amount of white wine vinegar and warm water in a bowl. If you’re not a fan of your bathroom smelling like a chippy then add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice into the solution to disguise that sharp scent. Vinegar has the perfect amount of acidity to remove rust without damaging your radiator. It’s also a cheaper alternative to most cleaning products and can be used to clean numerous things in your home like glass, work surfaces, bathrooms and other house items.

Dip your microfibre cloth into the solution and apply to the rust with a little pressure and wipe down the entire radiator. To clean the corners of your rails, dip a small grout brush into the solution and scrub the hard to reach areas.

Another good tip is to apply a little baking soda to the rust areas, leave for a minute then wipe away with a damp clean cloth.

So what if this step didn’t work? Well… Grab your tin foil! Yes, tin foil. For stubborn, rusty patches, avoid using the temptation to grab some steel wool at this point as this will only scratch the chrome surface. Tin foil is a much softer metal in comparison and won’t damage your radiator.

Tear off a couple of strips and scrunch into loose balls. Dunk them in some clean warm water and scrub the rusted patches on your radiator. You may not believe it but this will cause a chemical reaction between the metals and the water to produce aluminium oxide that will dissolve the rust.If you’re still having trouble after this, try dipping your tin foil in coca cola instead of water (yes we’re serious!) The fizziness in the drink is also known for removing stubborn rust patches.

Rinse and Dry the Radiator

Like with the majority of cleaning jobs, the situation often gets worse before it gets better and removing the rust is no exception. After scrubbing away all the rush you will more than likely left with a muddy colour on your radiator from the broken down rust. Take a clean sponge or microfibre cloth and dip into a bowl of clean warm water. Squeeze out as much excess as you can and wipe down the entire radiator.  Once you have removed any remanence of the rust, it is important that you dry the radiator completely and properly with a clean cloth. If you were to skip this step and let the radiator air dry you will be left with streaks or water spots that will take away all your hard work!


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