How to Clean Baseboard Heaters

baseboard heater

Baseboard heaters can become clogged with dirt, dust, debris, pet dander and hair. Clean them at least once a year to keep them working safely and efficiently.

  1. Shut off power to the heater. Allow the heating element to cool completely.
  2. Remove the heater cover.
  3. Remove any visible debris from inside the unit.
  4. Vacuum inside the heater with a soft brush vacuum attachment.
  5. You can also use a pressure steam cleaner to clean the fins. Lay down towels to protect the floor from water damage.
  6. If any fins are bent or damaged, gently straighten them with a putty knife or needle-nose pliers.
  7. Wipe down the heater cover before replacing it.
  8. Ensure the unit remains free from obstructions that could impede airflow, including flooring/carpeting, window treatments, furniture, toys and other items.


  1. My landlord has painted over, and looks like even caulked in between the cover and the wall. I’ve tried cleaning best I can with a vacuum but I can still see a lot of hair and dust in there (prior tenant had pets). I can also turn off, but I cannot shut off power.

    Due to COVID I want to make sure I do as much as I can before calling the landlord for maintenance. Any additional tips? Safe to stick anything in there, or any tool more effective than a pencil or other straight tool?

    • Hi, Mark,
      Need more information about this topic? Connect one-on-one with a home improvement pro immediately through JustAnswer, a Today’s Homeowner partner:
      Good luck with cleaning those baseboard heaters, and stay safe! 🙂

  2. Mark C
    Easiest way to do it is using compresssed air – either with a can or an air compressor. The dust will come flying out!
    Then just vacuum all that dust away.
    I do this every summer inbetween heating seasons.

  3. Another thing you can use and that (almost) everyone has already is a hair dryer. That’s what I use and as you said, Gracie, the dust comes flying out.


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