Aluminium is one of the most versatile metals on Earth, used for everything from large aircraft parts to drinking cans and electrical components. It comes with countless benefits: it doesn’t rust, has a low toxicity level, and offers an impressive strength-to-weight ratio.
Although generally a hardwearing material, aluminium can still be affected by corrosion. Depending on how it’s used, it can become dull or coated with build-up from calcium, lime, or grease.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cleaning aluminium effectively to keep it looking and performing at its best.
Why Clean Aluminium?
Among its other benefits, aluminium is widely favoured for its shiny, aesthetic properties. When not cleaned properly, however, it can quickly lose its shine.
Worse than this, any build-up on the aluminium’s surface can risk scratching or staining the metal.
Corrosion can also affect aluminium, potentially damaging its strength and integrity if left too long.
One of the best ways to defend aluminium from corrosion and aesthetic damage is to clean it regularly. Alternatively, aluminium can be treated with a powder-coated finish to add a protective layer.
How to Clean Aluminium
There are plenty of simple methods to clean aluminium. Before trying powerful chemical cleaners, we recommend beginning with more everyday options, such as dish soap.
Before cleaning any metal, you should check if it’s treated with a certain finish. Metal finishes may be negatively impacted by certain cleaning methods, so it’s best to research the metal finish first and start with gentle cleaning options.
1. Mild Dish Soap
Cleaning aluminium can be as simple as using a mild dish soap and non-abrasive sponge. This is often all that is needed to remove surface dirt and any grease. Make sure to dry the aluminium thoroughly with a soft cloth or microfibre towel after cleaning.
2. Acid-Based Cleaners
If mild dish soap isn’t enough to clean the aluminium, move on to an acid-based cleaner. These can help lift discolouration and stains left by oxidation. Be careful with anodised or painted aluminium surfaces, however, as many acid-based cleaners can damage these.
- Shop-Bought Acid Cleaners
- There are a number of acid-based cleaners that can be purchased at hardware stores for cleaning metal.
- Home-Made Acid Cleaners
- You can also use home-made solutions to clean aluminium. Soak the metal in a solution of lemon juice and boiling water, or white vinegar and boiling water, for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse and dry well afterwards.
Finishes That Protect Aluminium from Corrosion
Although cleaning aluminium can help protect it from corrosion, the best (and lowest maintenance) method is to take preventative measures.
Aluminium is often treated with a protective coating to help strengthen it against corrosion and reduce the need for cleaning.
Powder coating is one of the most popular finishes for aluminium.
What is Powder-Coated Aluminium?
Powder coating protects aluminium by forming a hard, durable, and protective layer over its surface. This acts as a barrier against moisture, UV radiation, and other corrosive agents. This coating is highly resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading, making it a popular choice for various applications, including automotive parts, household appliances, and outdoor furniture.
Our Aluminium Finishing Service
At Doré Metals, we offer a complete metal finishing service with a range of options available, including powder coating.
Applying a finish to the surface of metals helps with corrosion and rust protection, as well as improving the aesthetic properties of the material.
We stock aluminium, stainless steel and brass, with a range of finishes available for each metal, as well as our custom cutting service.