Cleaning Guides

5 Easy Steps to Clean Your Electric Heater

Mariia Boiko /

Electric heaters are undoubtedly a popular choice for heating, thanks to the wide variety of devices on the market, affordable prices, and easy maintenance. Also, if you have one of these in your home, no matter a wall-mounted or a portable heater, you will certainly want it to serve you well and run smoothly for many years.

But how does one guarantee that?

Easy! We’ve already mentioned that electric heaters are low-maintenance, so a quick cleaning and regular inspection (or repair) are enough. While repairs need to be done by qualified professionals, a simple day-to-day cleaning is something you can easily do. Below you will learn exactly how to clean your electric heater, how often, and what to use to keep your heating device in pristine condition.

Table of contents:

Do electric heaters need to be cleaned?

The short answer is yes. Regular cleaning will keep dust (your device’s biggest enemy) away, which in high amounts can jeopardise the normal performance of the heater and even cause a fire hazard.

But how does it come to that? Well, we are all guilty of neglecting our heating devices. For instance, many do not store them properly for the next season or forget to give their exterior parts a good wipe.

The truth is that despite operating indoors, electric heaters are still constantly exposed to dirt and lots of dust. Even simple daily activities, such as vacuuming and making the bed, can generate high amounts of dust particles, which can travel anywhere in the house. And the heaters are just as likely to be covered by them both on the outside and inside.

Needless to say, this can compromise the heating devices’ efficiency, shorten their lifespan, and even pose a fire hazard to your home in case of overheating.

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How to quickly clean your electric heater

There is a fast and easy way to keep dust and dirt away from your heater, and it won’t take more than a few minutes of your day. Here is what you have to do:

The cleaning tools you’ll need

  • Microfibre cloth
  • Sponge
  • A bucket of water
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Mask (optional)
  • A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment

Wearing a mask while cleaning can protect you from inhaling the dust. Still, putting one on is up to you. With that in mind, if you have dust allergies, asthma, or are just sensitive to dust, we highly recommend putting a mask on before you start.

It’s also important to use a microfiber cloth and not just a duster, because the latter will only spread the particles instead of collecting them. Also, stay clear of spray detergents unless they are specifically made for cleaning heating devices. If you decide to use one, spray on a cloth and not directly on the device’s surface to avoid excessive moisture and potential damage.

Heater cleaning steps to follow:

1. Turn off the heater

This is mandatory because you are, after all, about to clean an electrical device, which can also get hot to the touch. Unplug it and wait for it to cool off completely. This can take between 15 and 30 minutes.

2. Inspect the device

Once the heater is cold, you can inspect it for dust, greasy fingerprints, sticky food stains, etc. A close inspection can also reveal damage to the exterior that you may otherwise miss.

3. Vacuum grilles, vents, and slats

Regardless of the model, there are certain components that tend to collect more dust because of their location and/or shape. Such are the grilles of a panel heater, the “fins” of an oil-filled column heating device, vents, etc. Therefore, they can use some good vacuuming, preferably with a dusting brush attachment. With the help of the vacuum cleaner, collect the dust from crevices and hard-to-reach places.

4. Wipe exterior

Using a slightly damp microfiber cloth, wipe the exterior of your electric heater. Pay extra attention to nooks, crannies, and button areas. Greasy fingerprints and even food marks can spoil the otherwise smooth and clean surface. You can easily remove these with 1-2 drops of soap on a damp sponge. This is a universal cleaning solution, so you can safely apply it on your electric heater’s surface, no matter if it’s ceramic, plastic, or metal.

5. Let the surface dry and plug in the heater

Water and electricity are a dangerous combination, so don’t be in a rush to turn the device on, especially if it’s still damp from the cleaning. Let it air dry or use a dry cloth if you don’t feel like waiting.

As mentioned before, dust can accumulate both on the exterior and the interior parts of your electric heater. You may find it tempting to disassemble the device, so you can clean the dust from the wires, fans, or other internal elements. However, this can be risky, because too much force or improper cleaning could cause irreversible damage that could make the device unusable. Therefore, we advise you to leave a heater’s internal maintenance to an experienced professional.

How often to clean your space heater

This depends mainly on how often you use the device and how long it operates. When it’s working constantly during the colder months, wiping its exterior at least once a week will suffice. Remember to include this in your regular house cleaning routine.

An internal cleaning, inspection, fault finding and repairs are preferably done once to twice per year, prior to and after the colder season. This will guarantee the smooth operating of your electric heater and the extension of its lifespan.

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  • Electric heaters come in all shapes and models, they are affordable and fairly low-maintenance;
  • Dust can settle on both the exterior and interior of your electric heater fast, so it needs to be cleaned frequently;
  • A quick exterior wiping and vacuuming are enough to keep the dust away and help your electric heater run smoothly;
  • Repairs and internal cleaning of an electric heating device are best left to a specialist to avoid the risk of damage.
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Larry Galaviz Sr
Larry Galaviz Sr
3 months ago

How do I clean my presto heatdish plus. If I cannot take the front grate off to clean it.

The Fantastic Team
2 months ago

They’re great little heaters until you realise the grate is permanently attached. We’d suggest this: Spray it with a cleaning solution of your choice, then push a microfibre cloth through the grates and with the help of a handle of something (long wooden spoon, for example), move around the cloth. That should do the work. Some people cut the grates to be able to stick a sponge, but we wouldn’t recommend that.

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