How to Clean Bare Aluminum

Written by april dowling
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How to Clean Bare Aluminum
A naturally occurring oxide film protects bare aluminium from corrosion. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Distinguished by its resiliency and enduring strength, aluminium is a lightweight metal used in numerous products. Lawn furniture, siding, roofing and cookware often contain aluminium. Although bare aluminium is durable and corrosion-resistant, it becomes soiled over time. Bare aluminium can accumulate dirt, tree sap and grease, which make it appear drab and unattractive. Since bare aluminium does not contain paint or anodising layers for protection, it requires regular cleaning to prevent surface contaminants from dulling its bright appearance. Fortunately, you can clean bare aluminium with basic supplies.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 tsp dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Spoon
  • 2 soft, clean rags
  • Garden hose
  • White spirit

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  1. 1

    Let the bare aluminium cool completely before cleaning it. Aluminium is ready to clean if you can comfortably rest your hand on it. Do not clean bare aluminium that's cooler than 10 degrees Celsius, however.

  2. 2

    Prepare a mild cleaning solution by pouring 1 tsp of dish soap into a bucket holding 1 gallon of warm water. Thoroughly mix the dish soap into the water with a spoon.

  3. 3

    Immerse a soft, clean rag in the soapy water. Gently wipe the bare aluminium surface with the soapy water, detaching soil and grime with each stroke. Rinse the rag regularly with fresh water.

  4. 4

    Rinse the bare aluminium with fresh water. Flush the soapy residue completely off the aluminium.

  5. 5

    Examine the bare aluminium for stubborn tree sap or motor grease stains. If stubborn stains still mar the aluminium, moisten a fresh rag with white spirit. Scrub the stubborn tree sap or grease off the aluminium using the solvent-moistened rag.

  6. 6

    Rinse the bare aluminium thoroughly with water. Flush the white spirit thoroughly off the aluminium. Let the bare aluminium air-dry completely.

Tips and warnings

  • White spirit are flammable, so keep sparks and flames away.
  • Spot-test the white spirit on the bare aluminium to protect against discolouration.
  • Alkaline cleaning products may discolour bare aluminium.
  • Coarse, abrasive cleaning supplies such as scouring powder or steel wool may scratch bare aluminium, which is a relatively soft metal.

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