6 dangerous viral heating hacks you should avoid this winter

If you're looking for fast and effective ways to warm up your home this winter these dangerous viral heating hacks are not the answer

 Woman turning on radiator to demonstrate 6 Dangerous viral heating hacks to avoid
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The cold weather has finally arrived and with it a plethora of dangerous viral heating hacks. Although it's tempting to try out supposedly 'money-saving' ideas, a heating expert has revealed that most of them are nothing but dangerous. 

If you're looking for ways to keep your house warm then you may have already come across a few questionable-looking heating hacks. And whilst we'd usually ignore such hacks, with energy prices on the rise many of us are wondering how we can save money on the heating bill this winter.

So with over 800 million TikTok viewers watching heating videos, which hacks should we be avoiding and why are they so dangerous? Our heating expert explains all...

Viral cleaning hacks to avoid: an expert opinion

When it comes to home hacks ones that involve the heating are generally nothing but dangerous and should be avoided. Jess Steele, a heating technology expert from BestHeating is here to shed a little light on the subject.

1. Spraying Fabulosa into the radiator

If you’re anything like us at woman&home your cupboards will be filled with the latest cleaning products, and one of these is probably the ultra-versatile Fabulosa cleaning spray. However, instead of using it when deep cleaning your house, this viral TikTok hack is telling users to spray it into their radiator's convector fins with the aim of getting rid of dust and circulating a nice scent to make your house smell good

Not only is this hack more likely to damage your radiator, but it’s also extremely dangerous warns Jess. “It is imperative to avoid using products like Fabulosa near heat sources and hot surfaces,” she explains. 

“They are highly flammable sprays which contain chemicals such as butane, propane and ethanol, and can lead to explosions and serious injuries.” 

Dangerous viral heating hacks - profile picture for Jess Steele from Best Heating
Jess Steele

Jess is not only BestHeating's expert in heating technology she also has an interest in interior design and has specialist knowledge in all things boilers and radiators. 

2. DIY Radiator covers

There are many ways to get the most out of your radiators, one is knowing how to clean your radiators properly, however, this hack will actually reduce the amount of heat. 

The trick, that has been circulating on social media, tells users to make their own chic-looking radiator covers out of wooden materials. Whilst this does give a Japandi-style feel to the space, it will seriously decrease your radiator's efficiency.

Echoing this, Jess says that the cover blocks any heat from the radiators coming into your room. "It will also confuse the thermostat and cause havoc with thermostatic radiator valves as the temperature of the room can’t be detected," she explains. 

3. Heating Terracotta Pots

Even though it's getting to the time of year when our houses start to feel as cold as an igloo, you may still be delaying that dreaded moment when you should turn your heating on.  

This heating hack uses an upside-down terracotta pot placed on top of three lit candles with claims this will warm up your home for less. As much as this may sound like a safe enough way to heat up your house, that couldn't be further from the truth. 

"There are various reasons we shouldn’t do this, including the possibility that the terracotta pot will explode or shatter, leading to burns," says Jess. "Not only can the pot itself cause injury but the melted wax underneath from the candles can cause a fire."

 Jess also warns of the carbon monoxide that will be trapped in the pot due to the lack of ventilation for the candles. In conclusion, it's best to whack the radiators on instead. 

Picture of small terracotta pots empty and lined up to support Dangerous heating hacks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Heating up a building brick

This one may have you shaking your head with disbelief but this hack was trending on TikTok last year despite its risky nature. The idea is to place a building brick inside your clean oven, warm it up and carefully remove it to provide heat to a space. 

Not only is this hack extremely dangerous it's also hard to execute, there are not many ways to safely transport a red hot brick around your home. 

Jess is quick to debunk this trick, she says, "There is a high chance that the brick could explode due to the extreme heat and put your life at risk. The brick may also catch fire, and even if it doesn’t, it will be stuck in the oven as it is too hot to touch for a long period of time."

5. Using BBQs and camping stoves as heaters

Summer may be over and any thought of camping might have left your mind long ago but this TikTok hack wants you pulling out your clean ready-to-store BBQ and camping stove even in the winter months. 

The trend, which went viral last winter, saw homeowners using camping stoves and barbeques inside for cooking instead of using their ovens both as a way to save money and as a heating alternative. 

Unfortunately, this led to an increased number of fire-related reports across the country. Jess says, "This is extremely dangerous as it raises the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as the potential to burn the property down. Leave this type of equipment for outside cooking."

If you are struggling with the effects of the energy crisis then there are some ways you can save money this winter without increasing the risk of danger in your home. 

Dangerous viral heating hacks - two pieces of meat cooking on a BBQ

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Fabric softener soaked sponges on radiators

No this isn't one of the newest expert cleaning hacks, this trick aims to use the heat from radiators to circulate a fresh scent around your home. However, the technique, of soaking a sponge in water and fabric softener to place it under the radiator's convector, is more damaging than anything. 

"Wet or damp materials this close to a radiator will create excess moisture and condensation, which is likely to lead to patches of dampness and mould, costing lots of money to fix," explains Jess. 

So if you're wondering how to scent-scape your home this winter then we recommend you try out some of the best scented candles. Or if you're feeling extra cosy and autumnal, then perhaps it's time to snap up one of the best autumn candles to embrace the scents of the season. 

Emily Smith
Digital lifestyle writer

Emily joined woman&home as a staff writer after finishing her MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2023. After writing various health and news content, she now specialises in lifestyle and home writing where she covers all things cleaning, interiors and homeowning.