Rust stains have appeared on your radiators, what can you do?
There are several types of radiators, depending on how they work and what they are made of? If you have central heating, the radiators may be made of steel or iron. Or you may have electric radiators.
Why do they go rusty?
Rust appears due to metal reacting with oxygen and water. It appears as a reddish-brown stain that results in corrosion.
That is why it is important to keep radiators in good condition so no rust appears and if it does, to clean them also for aesthetic reasons.
Steps to take
To clean away rusts stains from a radiator you should first make sure it is switched off. If this is not possible, wait until it is completely cold before you start.
It is important to protect the wall and the floor during the process, to avoid splashes and scratches. This can be done by lining the wall behind the radiator and the floor underneath and around it with a plastic sheet and fixing it with masking tape.
Then use sandpaper to rub it vigorously to remove the rust stains from the radiator. If the stains are small and spread out, you can concentrate on specific areas until they stains have gone. If not, just sandpaper the whole area to make it even. Always remember that it should end up smooth and even.
Afterwards, clean the area you have sandpapered with a brush, a hairdryer or a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust and any remains left on the surface of the radiator.
Then you should apply a rust remover. This is a liquid or spray you can but in specialist shops like an ironmonger or a paint shop and it is used to neutralise the rust and stop it from spreading. It usually comes as a fluid gel, so it needs to be applied with a small palette or brush. After application, the surface will be a black colour. You should remember that this product should be used carefully and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions which usually recommend using gloves and applying it in a well-ventilated area.
Several hours after applying the rust remover (following the manufacturer's instructions), it needs to be rubbed down gently, to remove excess gel. You should also use denatured alcohol to rub the radiator down with a cloth, but we insist, always being as careful as possible.
Now it is time to apply anti-corrosion paint so the radiator does not rust again. You can buy this type of paint in ironmongers and paint shops and there are many types. You need to choose one that is tolerant to high temperatures, is anti-corrosion and suitable for applying on metal surfaces. Apply it with a palette or brush and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
When the corrosion paint has dried, you can then paint the radiator. Aerosol paint is a comfortable, quick alternative because you can get into all the corners.
When the paint is dry then the radiator is ready.