Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning Your Space Heater
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The Best Way to Clean Your Space Heater

Each year around this time, I have to pull out my space heater to give the indoor plants a little extra heat to keep them growing and thriving in the plant room. And every year when I do, there’s always dust collected in the vents or some weird grime spot from who knows what in storage. Time to clean the space heater to make it safe for the next season.

The first year I did this, I wasn’t so sure what to do. Do you wipe it down with a wet rag? Do you vacuum the vents? Do you use canned air? Now, I have a few answers I think I can share with you to make the process easier for cleaning these electrical appliances – without all the same mistakes I’ve made.

What You Need to Clean Your Space Heater

Before you get started, there are a few supplies you’ll want to have on hand.

  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Natural cleaning spray
  • Dish soap (optional)
  • Small rag or cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Small bowl or dish (to put the screws in)
  • Microfiber duster (optional)
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Canned air (compressed air duster)

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cleaning Your Space Heater

Cleaning your electric heater before use is incredibly important for your safety and health, so I highly recommend doing this when the weather starts to get a little chilly. It won’t take all day, but it will take a little time to do it properly.

Make Sure Your Electric Space Heater is Switched Off and Unplugged

off switch
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If you’re cleaning at the beginning of the season, likely your portable heaters haven’t even been plugged into a wall outlet yet. But, if you’re cleaning mid-season, be sure to start with this step. You don’t want a shock!

Put on Your Safety Gear

man in yellow hat, dust mask, and goggles
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First up, you’ll need to put on your dust mask, safety glasses, and rubber gloves. They’ll protect you from inhaling the dust, pollen, and other debris that have gathered on your space heater while in storage.

Clean the Exterior of the Heater

cleaning supplies
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Before we get deep into the cleaning, it’s best to start off by cleaning off the exterior of the heater. Place the electric heater on a level surface, then spray a little cleaning spray onto your rag (never directly on the heater!) and wipe down the outside of the heater.

If there’s a greasy spot, use a little dish soap and warm water to dampen your rag, then scrub. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or you’ll damage the surface.

Dry Off the Exterior

blue towel on heater
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Next, using a clean, dry rag, clean off the exterior of the space heater. If you’re not in a rush, let it air dry for a few minutes before moving on in the process.

Disassemble the Space Heater

screwdriver and nails
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Now, for the deep clean! Use the screwdriver to remove the screws holding the outer case onto the frame of the space heater. Place the screws into the small container. Lift the casing off the space heater. If any of the screws are different from each other, make a note of which ones go where.

Clean the Interior of the Casing

cleaning and dusting supplies
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Now, get that same rag with cleaner on it again and wipe down the interior of the casing of the space heater. There’s likely a good bit of dust present here. Set the casing aside to air dry, or clean by hand with a clean, dry rag.

Clean the Interior of the Space Heater

compressed air
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Use the canned air to blast away the dust in the crevices between the internal components of the space heater, specifically targeting the slats, vents, and grills. Then, blow the dust off the heating element. Avoid using liquids on the internal components to prevent damaging the internal workings of your space heater. Most cleaners are also extremely flammable, so not a good idea!

If you come across the wiring while cleaning out the heater, do your best to leave it undisturbed. The wiring is super sensitive and any incorrect adjustments could prevent the heater from working or cause electric shock hazards when you turn it on again.

If you need additional cleaning in here, try using a microfiber dusting cloth to brush away any dust that the canned air doesn’t blow away properly.

You can also use a vacuum tipped with a narrow nozzle to suck away any other dirt or dust that’s still clinging to the interior.

Reassemble the Space Heater

small space heater on wood floor
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Once the interior is clean and absolutely dry, it’s time to put the heater back together. Use the same screws in the same holes that they came out of to ensure a proper fit.

Wipe Down the Exterior Again

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Finally, take a clean cloth and wipe down the exterior one last time. Often during the cleaning process, dust will get onto the exterior and can easily be removed.

A Clean Space Heater, A Happy You

By doing this process every season (more often, if needed!), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of fire and help keep your warmed air cleaner and healthier. Not only that, but a clean space heater is a more efficient portable space heater, which means it’s better for the environment and it saves you some cash on those energy costs.