Care & Maintenance of Anodized Aluminum
Posted On April 5, 2018 by Greg Jacobsen
Anodized aluminum is the clear winner when it comes to providing a very durable, long lasting, protective and lustrous finish for aluminum products- perfect for the marine industry. Properly maintained, an anodized finish can easily last a decade or more.
Anodizing is a safe process that is not harmful to human health. An anodized finish is chemically stable, will not decompose, is non-toxic and is heat-resistant to the melting point of aluminium.
WHAT THREATENS AN ANODIZED FINISH?
The short answer is the environment. A build up of grime which carries contaminated moisture will gradually attack the finished surface. Eventually, it will ruin the finish. Proper regular maintenance will remove harmful contaminants before the damage is done.
HOW TO CLEAN AND PROTECT ANODIZED ALUMINUM?
First, it is important to determine the condition of the surface and how long it has been since the last cleaning.
If regularly maintained, you can wash down anodized aluminium with a mild soapy solution or with warm water containing a suitable wetting agent. Because anodizing creates a hard finish, mild abrasives or an abrasive cleaning sponge is sometimes recommended. More difficult grime deposits may also require the use of a mild abrasive.
Note: If mild abrasives are required, please consult a professional. It is highly recommended that you test the use of any cleaning solutions or mediums in a small inconspicuous area before treating the entire surface. Be sure you perform your cleaning out of direct sunlight and have allowed the metal surface to cool. Be sure to follow the instructions located on the back of cleaning solutions.
Do not use harsh acidic or alkaline cleaners because they may destroy the finish. Use solvents with care as they may stain the finish. Remember to be thorough and clean all surfaces, corners and nooks. Also, thoroughly rinse with water after cleaning especially where crevices are present to ensure removal of all residues. If improperly rinsed, residual cleaning agents can lead to etching or discoloration.
WHAT NOT TO USE?
The removal of grime should NOT be attempted by the use of emery paper, sand paper, steel wool or other highly abrasive materials.
Acid or alkaline cleaners are not recommended as they can damage the Anodized coating.
Emulsion cleaners or proprietary chemical agents may also attack the Anodized coating therefore they should never be used except in consultation with companies specializing in the cleaning of Anodized aluminum.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CLEAN ANODIZED ALUMINUM?
Many factors like your location, local climate, constant exposure to a marine environment, fresh, salty or brackish humidity or water splashing, or direct exposure to the sun, UV and heat should be considered. Typically, cleaning should be carried out every month to every six months. The best preventative maintenance schedule will lean to more frequent mild cleaning using the appropriate method instead of less frequent harsh cleaning. Again, the aim of the cleaning operation should be the removal of grime deposited and contaminants BEFORE damage to Anodized coating occurs.
If unsure what cleaning product(s), pads or application medium to use, please consult a professional. It is highly recommended that you test the use of any cleaning solutions or mediums in a small inconspicuous area before treating the entire surface. Be sure you perform your cleaning out of direct sunlight and have allowed the metal surface to cool. Be sure to follow the instructions located on the back of cleaning solutions.