Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Finishes, paints and coatings

Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby Hennesseystealth » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:19 pm

I have finished up my build and want to clean up the months of greasy finger prints, dirt, and other surface stains that plain old soap and water don't seem to get rid of. Does anyone have any suggestions for a more aggressive cleaning that won't damage the mill finish on the aluminum skin?

Thanks
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Re: Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby tony.latham » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:05 pm

Hennesseystealth wrote:I have finished up my build and want to clean up the months of greasy finger prints, dirt, and other surface stains that plain old soap and water don't seem to get rid of. Does anyone have any suggestions for a more aggressive cleaning that won't damage the mill finish on the aluminum skin?

Thanks


I know just enough about this to be dangerous. So-called mill-finished aluminum (and that's what I use) isn't really a finish. It's the way the sheet comes out of the mill. I've heard rumors of some folks using some kind of acid etch. Dunno about it.

I do know that the Airstream restorers are the masters at this. (Airstreams come off the line shiny and then clear coated btw.)

Here's one Youtube about it:



Looks great, but the problem is that it's going to continue to oxidize.

I'll be curious to watch this thread. I think I'll probably just let Flash grow old gracefully. :?

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Re: Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby Hennesseystealth » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:31 pm

I really don't want to micro etch the surface or mirror polish it. I just want to start with a clean build that doesn't look like the kids finger painted the sides and top.
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Re: Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby Graniterich » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:14 pm

Try one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water with some dawn dishwashing soap. If you start "cleaning" with a mother's or nevr dull? You have to do a huge job. And then it will immediately oxidize again, so you have to clear coat.

I just let it mellow....
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Re: Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby kayakdlk » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:31 pm

Maybe this will work http://www.streakmaster.com/

Dan
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Re: Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby Hennesseystealth » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:09 pm

I'll give the vinegar solution a try. I sent a message to the streak master folks to see just how aggressive their solution is. I am worried that it might attack the silicone caulking I used as some added protection around the windows and galley hinge.
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Re: Cleaning Aluminum Skin - need more than soap and water

Postby halfdome, Danny » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:10 pm

Try stainless steel cleaner, it's sold everywhere in different brands.
In the past I had good results with it on mill finish aluminum.
The mineral oil in stainless steel cleaner helps clean but leaves an oily residue that Sprayway glass cleaner removes.
Use micro fiber cloth so you don't scratch it while cleaning.
Lacquer thinner will remove any adhesive on the aluminum.
I only build with anodized aluminum now so I can skip the stainless steel cleaner and just use Sprayway Glass Cleaner, great stuff. :thumbsup:
:D Danny
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