Keep Your Aluminum Fence Clean with These Ideas
Aluminum fences are among the sturdiest, most affordable, low-maintenance fencing options in existence, but that doesn’t mean that they never require cleaning. At aluminum fences direct we believe in helping our clients even after they’ve purchased and assembled their fences from us, so here are the top 10 best ways for you to clean your aluminum fence RIGHT NOW!
Preventative Measures and Environmental Factors
First thing is first: the best way to keep your aluminum fence clean is to take preventative measures and to understand the environmental factors that might impact the shin-iness and quality of your fence.
Routine Maintenance of Your Fencing
This may seem obvious, but aluminum fencing is so durable that most people don’t even feel the need to check up on theirs. This is a mistake, as there are always little things that can pop up and negatively impact the integrity of your fence. You’ll want to do regular check-ups, looking at things like: your post holes, the paintwork, gate latches, locks, hinges, and clearing away any excess yard items during storms and heavy winds. For more information about taking care of your fence, particularly before the winter, check out our post about the same subject here.
Account for Your Weather
We provide our expertly crafted DIY fencing to people all over the country, so naturally, this will affect everyone differently, but it’s worth talking about. If you live somewhere with intense winters and or stormy springs, you’ll want to make sure that you’re consistently maintaining your fence to keep it in tip-top shape. If you happen to be in the middle of a rough weather season, it’s always a good idea to increase the frequency of your check-ups!
Clean Your Fence With a Damp Cloth
Yep, it’s that simple! Aluminum fencing is naturally lustrous and durable, which means that you don’t always need to do too much to keep the metal nice and shiny. Outdoor environments will eventually work away at just about any material, so naturally the same is true for your fencing.
You’ll also want to do this frequently if your yard contains anything that can be potentially harmful to aluminum in the long run, things like fertilizer, lawn treatment, any other chemicals, or grass clippings. These things can fade or stain the paint on your fence over time, and it’s best to try and stay ahead of the curve.
This is also an effective way of dealing with everyday annoyances like bird droppings or dead mosquitoes, dust buildup, dirt buildup, etc. Damp cloths for cleaning are a simple solution to simple issues, what’s not to love?
Up The Intensity With Some Cleaning Solution
This almost goes without saying, there are some specific things you want to avoid when you’re doing a more-intensive scrub down of your aluminum fencing. Some stains and scratches are more stubborn than others, so here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re cleaning by hand.
The Material Your Wiping and Scrubbing With
Aluminum fences are beautiful and tough, and like most things that are beautiful and tough, they’re actually big softies underneath. You need to make sure you aren’t using an abrasive material when you’re scrubbing. A nice bristle brush or scrubbing pad can do the trick when the traditional damp cloth isn’t working out for you.
The Cleaning Agent You’re Using
Some chemicals are perfect for scrubbing painted aluminum and some aren’t. In your case, you’ll want something like a basic degreaser or Simple Green to get the job done.
Water stains will naturally occur over time due to rain, normal yard work (i.e. watering the plants), and routine maintenance of your fencing. We recommend CLR to deal with these, just make sure that you give your fence a good rinse after you’re done applying it!
The Best Solution
You’ve probably used it before and been happy with the results, but a little dish soap and white vinegar in hot water is great for cleaning most things, and aluminum is no exception. In fact, when you use dish soap and white vinegar, a neat little scientific trick called “aluminum oxidation” occurs. Aluminum likes oxygen, and when you rinse it with this magical combo of dish soap, water, and white vinegar, the material develops a thin-but-tough layer of aluminum oxide, which increases its resistance to corrosion.
Wow, a science lesson AND a helpful guide! We must really care about our customers. (PS: We do)
Hose It Down!
That’s right, sometimes a nice hosing down will do wonders to clean your fence, and it’s quick and easy.
Also, it’s a very quick and helpful method for rinsing your fence once you’ve hit it with one of the cleaning solutions we just talked about.
There is one thing you’ll want to be wary of here: BE THOROUGH. Particularly if you decided to go the dish soap route, you can really land yourself in some hot water (pun intended) if you leave some dry soap residue on your fence.
Your best bet is to start from top-to-bottom and to make sure that you’re hitting every single part of your fence so that everything looks even. Particularly if you have a big fence, hosing might be your only option to get everything rinsed in time. Just be thorough and you shouldn’t have any trouble at all!
If you want to get really fancy with it, waxing is always an option and it provides a number of benefits that might be worth considering.
For one, waxing prevents oxidation which helps to prevent corrosion in the aluminum (it’s a little bit of a paradox, we know, “aluminum oxidation = good, oxidation = bad, it’s worth reading about so check out this article if you’re interested).
Also, waxing just looks great. It helps keep your fence nice and shiny throughout the seasons. If you have a lot of neighbors and you like making them envious, this extra step in the cleaning process might just be worth your time.
The best part is that this is actually pretty easy to do. All you have to do is buy some automotive wax and apply it to your fence just as you would anything else you’re waxing. Boom! No special steps or considerations, just make sure your fence is nice and clean before you do!
And just like that, that’s it! With other fencing materials this would be a much longer post, but cleaning and maintaining aluminum fencing is easy and even kind of fun. All it takes is a little attention to detail and an extra hour-or-two each week and you can keep your fence sparkling for years and years. And if you haven’t taken the leap to order your aluminum fence yet, what are you waiting for?