Care & Maintenance of Anodized Aluminum
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 aluminum.
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 aluminum 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. Be very careful whatever you use- start with a small hidden spot and make sure the surface is cool. Some of our customers have had success using the Woody Wax Kit http://www.woody-wax.com/woody-wax-kit.php and Flitz Liquid Polish: https://www.flitz.com/flitz-po...
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.
Care & Maintenance of Powder Coated Paint
The best method of cleaning is by regular washing of the coating using a solution of warm water and mild detergent. All surfaces should be cleaned using a soft cloth or sponge, using nothing harsher than natural bristle brushes. If the atmospheric pollution has resulted in heavy soiling of the coating, then nothing harsher than white spirit should be used for cleaning.
General Cleaning Tips:
- Over-cleaning or excessive rubbing can do more harm than good.
- Strong solvents or strong cleaner concentrations can cause damage to painted surfaces. Avoid abrasive cleaners. Do not use household cleaners that contain abrasives on painted surfaces.
- Abrasive materials such as steel wool, abrasive brushes etc, can wear and harm finishes.
- When using recommended solutions avoid drips and splashes. Remove run downs as quickly as possible.
- Avoid temperature extremes. Heat accelerates chemical reactions and may evaporate water from solution. Extremely low temperature may give poor cleaning effects. Cleaning under adverse conditions may result in streaking or staining. Ideally, cleaning should be done in shade at moderate temperature.
- Do not substitute a heavy duty cleaner for a frequently used mild cleaner.
- Do not scour painted surfaces.
- Never use paints removers, aggressive alkaline, acid or abrasive cleaners. Do not use trisodium phosphate or highly alkaline or highly acid cleaners. Always do a test surface.
- Follow manufacturers recommendations for mixing and diluting any recommended cleaners.
- Never mix recommended cleaners.
- To prevent marring, make sure cleaning sponges, cloth, etc, are grit-free.
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.