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How to clean your radiators and save money on your energy bill

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how to clean your radiators and save money on your energy bill

With so much time spent at home during lockdown, many people may feel that they’ve cleaned every corner of their home.

But is this the one area that’s been neglected, leaving dust left by various sources – such as humans, pets, smoking and cooking?

Radiators are often overlooked when cleaning, but they can still be home to an unpleasant amount of dirt and grime.

Aggie MacKenzie, best known for the TV series How Clean Is Your House, says dusty radiators are less efficient

Aggie MacKenzie, best known for the TV series How Clean Is Your House, says dusty radiators are less efficient

Aggie MacKenzie, best known for the TV series How Clean Is Your House, says dusty radiators are less efficient

They can sometimes neglected for years on end, even though experts suggest they need to be cleaned at least once a week. 

Without doing that, the dirt collected can affect your health, cleanliness, any allergies, and even your heating bills.

This is because removing dust that settles easily on radiators can help lower heating costs as the build-up can prevent heat from escaping.

By removing the dust, it can make your radiators work harder and longer to help keep a room warm.

Aggie MacKenzie, best known for the TV series How Clean Is Your House, where she was teamed up with professional cleaner Kim Woodburn, said: ‘It’s important to clean your radiators – especially those with convection fins – because if they get dusty they become less efficient. 

What is a radiator fin?

Radiator fins are surfaces that extend from the radiator to increase the rate of heat transfer to or from the environment.

Spiders and cobwebs can often be found in the radiator fins (pictured)

Spiders and cobwebs can often be found in the radiator fins (pictured)

Spiders and cobwebs can often be found in the radiator fins (pictured)

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‘Use a vacuum cleaner and, for the bits you can’t reach, a powerful hairdryer.’

Andrew Collinge, of BestHeating, suggested that a few minutes spent dusting your radiators every time you do a weekly clean could result in a large cost saving over tim – although he doesn’t specify how much.

He said: ‘Summer is the perfect time to give your radiators a really good clean. The amount of dust and dirt that collects in our radiators from things we bring in on our clothes from outdoors, cooking and smoking can often go unnoticed.

‘Set some time aside to push out the dust from the fins inside the radiator and give them a good wipe down on the outside so they look shiny and new. 

‘It can be quite satisfying removing all the particles but we’d recommend dusting them down each week to keep on top of it.

‘You’ll find that not only will this help save money on your heating bills, but dust allergies may decrease as pollen and pet hair can be found in dust.’

Here are five steps to cleaning your radiators…

Step one: Turn off your heating

Before beginning to clean any radiators, it’s important they’re turned off as it is not only safer but prevents them from drawing up more dust while they’re being cleaned.

Step two: Begin cleaning with a vacuum

Begin cleaning radiators by using a vacuum to clear as much dust in and around the radiator as possible.

If a vacuum has them, use the smaller attachments to get inside the radiator fins. And don’t forget to clean underneath and behind the radiator, and where it meets the wall.

Step three: Use a radiator brush

Place a towel underneath the radiator and either use a specialist radiator cleaning brush or create your own to push out the remaining dust and dirt from inside the fins.

It is possible to make a radiator brush with a stick or piece of wood and wrapping a microfiber cloth or fluffy duster around it, securing it with tape.

Using a hairdryer on the cold setting is an effective way to blow the smaller pieces that get caught on the radiator fixings out down onto the towel.

Radiators are often overlooked when cleaning, but they can still be home to plenty of grime

Radiators are often overlooked when cleaning, but they can still be home to plenty of grime

Radiators are often overlooked when cleaning, but they can still be home to plenty of grime

Step four: Avoid abrasive cleaning materials

Try to avoid using cleaning materials that may be too abrasive. These include metallic scouring pads that may scratch and damage the surface of a radiator.

‘Some warm soapy water and a sponge to wipe down the outside of the radiator will suffice, explained Mr Collinge.

‘Ensure you have a lot of soapy suds on your sponge and ring it out so that it is damp but not dripping,’ he said.

‘If there are any tough stains, leave a spray solution on for a few minutes and then wipe it away vigorously with a cloth.’

He added that a microfibre cloth can be used to dry the exteriors, making sure to not miss any corners or connection pipes so that the radiator doesn’t get rusty.

Step five: Wipe down surrounding surfaces

Now you have cleaned the radiator, look at the surrounding surfaces like the wall above and the skirting board below. 

This is particularly important in bathrooms, where wet areas can cause rust on the radiators.

These may need wiping down too as sometimes the heat can cause dirt and dust to stick to the wall. Give any marks a rub with the soapy sponge being careful not to damage any paintwork.

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Radio 4 presenter Libby Purves says BBC stations are becoming ageist and sexist

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radio 4 presenter libby purves says bbc stations are becoming ageist and

The BBC won’t let female radio presenters become ‘grey and stout’ as its stations are becoming ageist and sexist, broadcaster Libby Purves has claimed.

The 70-year-old said the growth of websites and social media has made bosses increasingly concerned with image.

Miss Purves, who has presented on Radio 4 for 40 years, said she resented the fact men ‘get away with it’ – no matter their age or looks. 

Her comments come after the BBC axed Sue Barker, 64, as host of A Question Of Sport and Jenni Murray, 70, and Jane Garvey, 56, announced they were leaving Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this year. 

Broadcaster Libby Purves, 70, has claimed that the BBC won't let female radio presenters become 'grey and stout' as its stations are becoming ageist and sexist

Broadcaster Libby Purves, 70, has claimed that the BBC won’t let female radio presenters become ‘grey and stout’ as its stations are becoming ageist and sexist

Miss Purves said the growth of websites and social media has made bosses more concerned with image. It comes after the BBC axed Sue Barker, 64, (above) as A Question Of Sport host

Miss Purves said the growth of websites and social media has made bosses more concerned with image. It comes after the BBC axed Sue Barker, 64, (above) as A Question Of Sport host

Miss Purves said that in the past ‘you could get older unless your voice actually quavered and your phrases and opinions marked you out as an old buffer’.

‘But the coming of websites [and] social media… is making radio seek an image more visual, thus ageist,’ she told Radio Times. 

‘The middle-aged female must struggle to look youthful… Equality will come when women are allowed to be grey, stout and in proper cardigans.’ 

She added: ‘On TV it has always mattered, and annoyed older women.

‘It’s a visual medium, far more tolerant of verbal mediocrity than radio, and frankly all sexes enjoy looking at prettiness, slenderness, abundant blonde hair and a good leg.

‘Observe that of the over-50 women above, most look far younger. And they work on it. The men don’t have to.’

Miss Purves's comments came after Jenni Murray, 70, (above) and Jane Garvey, 56, announced that they were leaving Radio 4's Woman's Hour this year

Miss Purves’s comments came after Jenni Murray, 70, (above) and Jane Garvey, 56, announced that they were leaving Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this year

The former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Midweek added: ‘In radio, age never used to matter a jot… We resisted the visual and grumped at photographers.

‘When they put a webcam in her studio, Jenni Murray famously draped a pashmina over it.

‘When radio presenters met people, we were usually told “I’d imagined you taller – and thinner”… The nearly 50-something Zoe Ball flicks designedly youthful hair, Lauren Laverne looks 25, not 42, and Mishal Husain is basically a goddess anyway.

‘If there’s a grudge to be grudged, it’s that the chaps of all ages can inform, educate and entertain while looking like Benny Hill or Old Steptoe – and get away with it.

‘It’s not all about numbers.’

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It’s a barked potato: Dog owner digs up home-grown spud that looks just like her pet pooch 

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its a barked potato dog owner digs up home grown spud that looks just like her pet pooch

Dog owners are used to finding all sorts buried in the earth – toys, stolen nick-nacks or fiercely-guarded bones.

But keen gardener Joanne Gudger was floored when she unearthed a bizarre-looking potato – which was the ‘spitting image’ of her dog, Dave.

Mrs Gudger, 47, shared a photo of the oddly-shaped spud alongside an image of her jowly, 13-year-old American bulldog with friends and fellow gardeners.

The mother-of-three, from Atherstone, Warwickshire, said she also sent a photo to her ‘other half’ Mark who commented: ‘It’s the spitting image of him.’

Mrs Gudger said: ‘We now call him ‘potato head Dave’. We didn’t want to eat the potato because it’d be hard to eat a masterpiece like that.’

Keen gardener Joanne Gudger, 47, was floored when she unearthed a bizarre-looking potato ¿ which was the 'spitting image' of her dog, Dave

Keen gardener Joanne Gudger, 47, was floored when she unearthed a bizarre-looking potato – which was the ‘spitting image’ of her dog, Dave

She added: ‘I still keep laughing about it because I’ll probably never grow a potato that looks like my own dog again.’ 

‘As soon as I pulled it out of the soil I knew straight away that it looked like Dave and I took a picture to send to my other half, Mark – even he said it’s the spitting image of him.

‘Dave is really poorly at the moment with Cushing’s disease which is incurable so this really cheered us up.

‘He’s getting older now and is going a bit grey so he probably looks more like the potato than ever!

‘It was just perfect how the potato had Dave’s jowls and everything.’

Joanne decided to post the potato pic to various allotment groups on Facebook, where it unexpectedly racked up hundreds of likes.

She said: ‘Everyone was joking in the comments and saying that they’re going to be careful digging their potatoes up in the future in case they dig up a puppy.

‘It has also been a breath of fresh air due to my job working for a care company and dealing with Covid – my colleagues all think it’s hilarious!

‘Our carers visit our vulnerable customers in their own homes providing crucial support. It’s obviously been a very trying time but this has cheered us all up massively.’

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Woman wears a corset 18 HOURS a day because she wants to shrink her tiny 21.5-inch waist

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woman wears a corset 18 hours a day because she wants to shrink her tiny 21 5 inch waist

A single mother who wants to break the record for the world’s smallest waist has revealed that she wears a corset for 18 hours a day to shrink her already tiny 21.5-inch torso.

Sammy Wilson, 26, from Georgia, started waist training in April 2019 to help add some curves to her frame after losing weight. She can now squeeze into a 15-inch corset, and she’s determined to whittle her 21.5-inch waist down to 14 inches. 

‘I want to have the smallest waist in the world,’ she explained. ‘If I get down to 14 inches my waist will be roughly the same size as an average newborn baby’s head and one inch smaller than the current world record.’ 

Goal: Sammy Wilson, 26, from Georgia, wants to have the smallest waist in the world

Goal: Sammy Wilson, 26, from Georgia, wants to have the smallest waist in the world 

Tiny: The single mother can fit into a 15-inch corset (pictured), which she wears 18 hours a day

Tiny: The single mother can fit into a 15-inch corset (pictured), which she wears 18 hours a day

Tiny: The single mother can fit into a 15-inch corset (pictured), which she wears 18 hours a day 

Say what? Sammy's waist is 21.5 inches without her corset, but she wants to make it even smaller

Say what? Sammy’s waist is 21.5 inches without her corset, but she wants to make it even smaller 

The Guinness World Record for the smallest waist on a living person is currently held by Cathie Jung, who has a 15-inch waist. 

Just two years ago, Sammy weighed 198 pounds and wore a size 16, but she was miserable with her physique and was desperate to transform her 35-inch waist.

The mom, who has a son, Gabriel, started losing weight in December 2018. She dropped down to a slim size 6 in just four months, but she was still unhappy with her boxy waist. 

After seeing another woman’s waist-training results online, the young mom bought her first-ever corset, which measured 22 inches.

Throwback: Just two years ago, Sammy weighed 198 pounds and wore a size 16

Throwback: Just two years ago, Sammy weighed 198 pounds and wore a size 16

Dedicated: She was miserable with her physique and was desperate to transform her 35-inch waist. She started losing weight in December 2018 and got down to a size 6 in four months

Dedicated: She was miserable with her physique and was desperate to transform her 35-inch waist. She started losing weight in December 2018 and got down to a size 6 in four months

Dedicated: She was miserable with her physique and was desperate to transform her 35-inch waist. She started losing weight in December 2018 and got down to a size 6 in four months 

Sammy started waist training in April 2019 because she was unhappy with her boxy frame after her weight loss. Now, Sammy weighs 116lbs, wears a size 00, and has a 21.5-inch waist

Sammy started waist training in April 2019 because she was unhappy with her boxy frame after her weight loss. Now, Sammy weighs 116lbs, wears a size 00, and has a 21.5-inch waist

Plan: Sammy wants to get her waist down to 14 inches, so she can break the Guinness World Record for the smallest waist on a living person

Plan: Sammy wants to get her waist down to 14 inches, so she can break the Guinness World Record for the smallest waist on a living person

‘When I first started I just wanted to try and get to a 20-inch corset, but once I’d got there I just wanted to keep going,’ she said. 

Now, Sammy weighs 116lbs, wears a size 00, and has a 21.5-inch waist. In order to try to shrink her waist even further, she wears her 15-inch corset for 18 hours a day, and once a month she will leave it on for 36 hours straight.  

‘Despite people’s concerns I think it has helped my health massively,’ she said. ‘I used to be a terrible binge eater but I just can’t binge eat when I’m wearing this. It helps my posture so I won’t have a hump when I’m older and it’s very good for my metabolism.

‘My family have been very supportive and my friends tell me I’m unrecognizable,’ she added. ‘My mom even wants me to get her a corset. I’m definitely more confident now than I ever have been before.

Reasoning: 'When you're skinny and pretty, life is just so much easier,' she said

Reasoning: ‘When you’re skinny and pretty, life is just so much easier,’ she said 

Before and after: Sammy's waist is pictured when she started waist training

Before and after: Sammy's waist is pictured now

Before and after: Sammy’s waist is pictured when she started waist training (left) and now (right)

Backlash: Sammy admitted that some people will call her a 'freak' and ask her why is doing this to herself, but she shrugs off the negativity

Backlash: Sammy admitted that some people will call her a ‘freak’ and ask her why is doing this to herself, but she shrugs off the negativity 

‘Everyone wants to be remembered for something and I just want to have something that I can smile to myself about and know that nobody else has done it.’ 

While the lab worker claims she’s never felt better in her tightly fitting garment, she admitted she often faces negativity from onlookers who see her on the street. 

‘If I’m out shopping, people will stare and they will sometimes even stop and ask me questions about how my waist is so small and ask if it hurts,’ she said. 

‘Some people say I’m weird, call me a freak and ugly, or ask me why I would do this to myself. But I don’t know how people can say it’s dangerous, it’s actually very comfortable.

‘When you’re skinny and pretty, life is just so much easier,’ she added. ‘More guys want to take me out and more people notice me. I just want to see how far I can take it.’

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