How to Clean Baseboard Heaters Better Than a Cleaning Service

Hydronic baseboard heaters are an efficient way to heat a home or office. But it’s important to keep them clean so they can function properly.

Hundreds of little metal squares, called fins, surround the hot water pipe to help distribute heat and warm the air faster.

They make an already efficient system even better, that is unless they get clogged up with dust and dirt. Then the whole thing doesn’t work nearly as well as it’s intended to. But that’s an easy fix. All you need is regular cleaning to keep things working smoothly.

You should clean your baseboard heaters inside and out at least once per year. Summer is a great time to tackle the job since the heat is already off.

With just a few minutes per heater, you can get prepped for the coming winter and ensure your heat will work efficiently. And you can do it better and cheaper than hiring a cleaning service! Here’s how to clean hydronic baseboard heaters in five easy steps.


White baseboard heater under a window between beige drapes.

What You Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment
  • Soft cloths or microfiber towels
  • Mild cleaning solution (water and mild detergent)
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Screwdriver (if needed to remove covers)

Step 1 Vacuum Dust & Debris

Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove dust and debris from the outer surface of the baseboard cover.

Step 2 Remove Baseboard Heater Cover

Remove the front cover of your baseboard heater by lifting up or removing the end caps then lifting the front cover of the baseboard heater off.

Step 3 Vacuum Interior

Use a vacuum with the brush nozzle attachment to remove dirt and dust on or between fins. Vacuum all sides of the fins, the baseboard heater casing, and the floor to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.

Step 4 Make Repairs

Straighten any bent fins with needle nose pliers. Straight fins ensure maximum air flow. Don’t be shy, you can’t break them.

Step 5 Clean Between Fins

Use a soft brush to gently clean between the fins of the heater. This removes any accumulated dirt, dust, or debris that might restrict airflow.

Step 6 Replace Cover

Replace the front panel and close or reinstall the end caps.

Step 7 Wipe Down Exterior

Wipe down all exterior surfaces of the baseboard heater cover with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner. Dry thoroughly with a clean cloth.


Preventative Maintenance

Want to go the extra mile to keep dust and dirt out for max efficiency? A few extra measures can help. If you notice gaps in the wall surrounding your heating pipe, this can be a culprit for letting in dust. Use heat-resistant expanding foam to seal up spaces around your pipes.

Similarly, if you have gaps between the floor and the wall or gapping trims, you can use expanding foam or seal it off with tape that covers the entire gap.

Decreasing dust and dirt in the room itself is another way to keep baseboard heaters clean. Regular dusting and vacuuming in the rest of the room will have a positive impact on your baseboard heater efficiency too. If it were us, we might go with the cleaning service for this bit . . .

Now that you’re a pro at how to clean baseboard heaters, learn more about maintenance and other ways to keep your covers in tip-top shape.


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