How to Remove Residue on Electric Baseboard Heaters

What You'll Need
Shop vacuum with brush attachment
Baking soda
Nylon brush
Old shop rags

Electric baseboard heaters can accumulate dirt and grime quickly. This can create foul odors when you fire up the heat, not to mention it can look unsightly. Fortunately removing the residue and other grime that can build up is a simple task. You only need some basic tools and a little time.

Step 1 - Cut the Power

Before you start working with an electric baseboard heater, you should cut the power at the breaker. This will ensure you won't damage the circuits or injure yourself during the repair.

Step 2 - Remove the Cover

Use your screwdriver to remove the screws at the corners that hold the face on the baseboard. Set the screws and the cover aside.

Step 3 - Vacuum

Use the brush attachment to remove dirt and dust from inside the unit. Be careful not to come in to direct contact with any of the internal components to prevent damage. Vacuum the inside of the face as well to remove any loose dirt and grime from here.

Step 4 - Apply Vinegar Paste

Create a paste with the baking soda and vinegar. To lessen the residual odor you can use apple cider vinegar, but any type of vinegar will work. The baking soda will bubble up as you mix it. You want to wait for the mixture to stop bubbling to make the paste like texture. Apply the paste to the face, working in small sections. As you apply the paste rub it in a circular motion. Allow the paste to sit on the face for a few minutes. The vinegar and baking soda combination will help break down residue that is otherwise difficult to get off.

Step 5 - Rinse the Paste Off

Use an old rag that has been dampened with just water to wash the paste away. This should have removed the majority of the grime and residue. You may still see some spots with leftover residue.

Step 6 - Scrub the Leftover Grime

Apply more of the paste to areas where residue is leftover. Use the nylon scrub brush to work the paste in to the affected area. The nylon brush will help to pull the leftover residue off without damaging the surface of the baseboard face. Wipe the paste off again, and repeat this process if necessary.

Step 7 - Final Rinse

Rinse the face of the baseboard heater well to remove all the vinegar and baking soda mixture. Allow the face to dry completely before you reinstall it.

Step 8 - Reinstall

Put the face back on the heating unit. Use a screwdriver to replace the screws. A drill can create too much pressure and damage the face.  Flip the power back on and test the heater. The baseboard heater should be clean and not leave any lingering odor. The vinegar smell will dissipate from the room in just a few hours, less if you used the apple cider vinegar.