Cleaning galvanized metal

Updated July 19, 2017

A cleaner with a mild detergent action is used for regular cleaning of galvanised metal. Dishwashing soap, for example, can clean dirt off a galvanised metal without causing any damage to the surface. It serves to loosen dirt and emulsify oil and grease, which can then be rinsed off, leaving behind a clean surface. Accumulated dirt can be loosened scrubbed with a brush to loosen it.


Hot water is use to enhance the effectiveness of soap when cleaning galvanised metal, helping to get rid of dirt faster and easier than cold, soapy water. Rinsing off the galvanised metal surface with hot water is also more effective than rinsing with cold water to wash away the loosened dirt, oil and grease. It is less likely to leave behind a soapy residue. Furthermore, hot water evaporates much faster than cold water, speeding up the drying process.


A soft, bristled brush is often used to clean galvanised metal, especially when the surface has accumulated dirt. The soft brush bristles help to loosen the dirt without scratching the metal surface. Scrubbing with a brush and hot soapy water greatly improves the results.


White, distilled vinegar is a mild acid, which is useful in cleaning hard water stains from galvanised metal. This is as a result of the reaction between the acidic content and the alkaline properties of the hard water deposits. The white distilled vinegar has to be diluted with water to form a solution of one part vinegar and one part water. The solution can be applied by wiping it onto the galvanised metal surface using a lint-free cloth. Alternatively, the vinegar solution may be poured into a spray bottle to apply it to a large area.

Metal Cleaner

Galvanised metal can safely be cleaned with specialised metal cleaners that are formulated specifically for this purpose. These products are formulated to clean up oxidation, carbon deposits and saltwater corrosion from galvanised metal. One such cleaner is GALV CLEAN, which is available at hardware and home improvement stores. Specific instructions for its use are detailed on its product label.

Baby Powder

A solution of 1 part baby powder and 2 parts milk is an effective cleaner for the milky coating that often forms on galvanised metal. This coating is caused by the build up of mineral deposits, which easily dissolves when cleaned with this solution.


Abrasive cleaners must never be used on galvanised metal, because they dull the galvanised metal surface. Commercial "hard-water" cleaners should also be avoided or used in very sparing amounts because they tend to have high levels of Hydrochloric Acid (HCl), which can dissolve the zinc oxide surface coating on galvanised metal.

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