Correctly identify the aluminium finish to be cleaned (anodised or powder coated) when selecting an appropriate cleaning method. Check the specifications and / or building drawings if in doubt as to type of finish.
Construction soils, including concrete and mortar, should be removed immediately. The exact procedure for cleaning will vary depending on the nature and degree of soil. As prevention masking materials such as protection tape or pealable coatings can be applied to aluminium, hardware and glass.
Never use aggressive alkaline or acid cleaners on aluminium finishes. It is important not to use cleaners containing trisodium phosphate*, phosphoric acid*, hydrochloric acid*, hydrofluoric acid*, flourides*, or similar compounds on anodised aluminium surfaces. Always follow the recommendations of the cleaner manufacturer as to the suitable cleaner and concentration. Test clean a small area first. Different cleaners should not be mixed.
It is preferable to clean the metal when shaded. Do not attempt to clean hot, sun-heated surfaces since possible chemical reactions on hot metal surfaces will be highly accelerated and cleaning non-uniformity can occur. Surfaces cleaned under these adverse conditions can become streaked or stained so that they cannot be restored to their original appearance. Also avoid cleaning during freezing temperatures or when metal temperatures are cold enough to cause condensation.
Apply the cleaning solution only to an area that can be conveniently cleaned without changing position. Thoroughly rinse the surface with clean water before applying cleaner. Minimize cleaner rundown over the lower portions of the building and rinse such areas as soon and as long as practical.
Cleaners containing strong organic solvents will have a deleterious* effect on organic overlay coatings, but not on anodised aluminium. The possibility of solvents extracting stain-producing chemicals from sealants and affecting the function of the sealants, however, must be considered. Test a small area first.
Strong cleaners should not be used on windows and other building accessories where it is possible for the cleaner to come into contact with the aluminium. Solutions of water and mild detergents should be used on windows. If for some particular reason, an aggressive cleaner is required for some other component of the building, extreme care must be taken to prevent the cleaner from touching the aluminium finish.