What are the do’s and don’ts of cleaning aluminum?
- Rinse the aluminum surface
- Use natural cleaning agents
- Make an acidic solution
- Apply wax after every cleaning
- Use abrasive cleaning materials
- Use alcohol
- Clean outdoor aluminum on a moderate day
- Use acid wash
Aluminum is a highly versatile material used for many applications. Whether furniture or cooking pans, cleaning is the most important step in taking care of aluminum in the Philippines. It requires special attention because, over time, it can develop a dark color and lose its shine. The cleaning process of aluminum depends on the procedure and choice of products you’re using when cleaning the material.
There’s a variety of cleaning materials in stores, however, you can make use of materials that can be found within your home. But, do remember that before cleaning you should test to make sure they do not damage the aluminum. Here are the do’s and don’ts when cleaning all of your aluminum items:
Rinse the Aluminum Surface
The first step in aluminum maintenance is to always clean the interior of a discolored aluminum item. Begin by rinsing the aluminum to remove surface dirt or debris. Use soap and water then use a soft brush to gently scrub the surfaces of an item. It’s okay to use a little pressure but not too vigorously that it can cause scratches. Once you’re done, rinse it well with warm water and use a dry cloth to remove excess water and let it dry completely to avoid streaks and spots.
Use Natural Cleaning Agents
Sometimes cleaning with soap and water is not enough. It cannot bring back the natural luster of the aluminum. Natural cleaning agents can be found in your household items like distilled white vinegar and lemon juice are mild cleaners for effective removal of stubborn stains on aluminum. Aluminum suppliers may recommend affordable and gentle aluminum cleaners, but you can also use homemade items that do the same job just as well.
Make an Acidic Solution
This helps in reducing discoloration due to oxidation. All you will need is a quart of water then add two tablespoons of cream of tartar, white vinegar, and lemon juice. Never use baking soda or other alkali-based cleaners as it can cause discoloration. This will effectively restore its shine.
Apply Wax After Every Cleaning
Now that you’re done cleaning the surfaces of your aluminum items, you may want to coat it with wax to prevent oxidation in the future. Automotive wax works best on surfaces on the bike and car wheels, house siding, and outdoor furniture but never use it on aluminum cookware.
Use Abrasive Cleaning Materials
Aluminum is a sensitive material. It does not rust but it is susceptible to corrosion. Don’t use steel wool or sandpaper in cleaning the material because they will scratch the surface and make oxidation hard to remove in the future. There are a lot of brushes, polish, and cleaners to choose from. Make sure to use a soft brush with fine bristles. Hard brushes will tend to rub the glossy finish of aluminum.
Use Alcohol or Any Harmful Chemicals
Some of the methods in cleaning aluminum way back in the past are considered unsafe. Other people use either chlorine bleach or muriatic acid. Using those can cause damage not only the aluminum but also cause harm to yourself. Alcohol is not a good degreaser and it shouldn’t be used in cleaning aluminum as it will strip off its protective layer. It’s better to use natural acids like lemon juice or distilled white vinegar.
Clean Outdoor Aluminum on a Hot Day
This practical piece of advice falls under both convenience and practicality. When it comes to outdoor patio furniture, retaining their pristine quality strictly calls for routine cleaning and even maintenance. With that being said, it is always most ideal to schedule your cleaning when it isn’t too scorching hot outside. Extreme temperatures can make you feel uncomfortable when working with light metals. Make sure to clean at room temperature to keep your hands from getting burned.
Use Acid Wash
Aluminum suppliers will tell you that aluminum doesn’t rust, however, the downside is that it can have oxidation or that dull, yellowish layer that needs regular cleaning. Acid wash will wear down the layers of the aluminum and weaken its material. You may want to avoid that or you’ll end up having ugly streaks both the exterior and interior of the aluminum. If it’s your first time to clean hard aluminum items such as the outdoor furniture, wheels, and welds, ask around for the safest procedure and best tools to use.
Like any other meals, aluminum in the Philippines requires special attention. Whether using commercially produced products or general household items, with regular cleaning, it can look nice and also avoid corrosion. It can definitely be a challenge in maintaining its color and shiny surface but now that you know how to properly clean you can enjoy using all your aluminum items that look good as new while avoiding serious damage.