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topic 294

Cleaning anodized aluminum

A discussion started in 1996 and continuing through 2000.
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We are looking for ways to clean anodized aluminum on an exterior application. I have been told anodized aluminum can oxidize no further but this appears to be the effect we're trying to remove.


Lane's Wheel Cleaner


Hi, Laurie. Anodizing can eventually corrode, especially outdoors.

Anodizing, believe it or not, is nearly glass clear. It is even used on highly polished reflectors such as most street lights and many dentist's lights. So I don't think you would want to remove the anodizing. But unfortunately, anodized surfaces look like a honeycomb; and if they are not well sealed they readily absorb dirt into the honeycomb that is very difficult to remove.

Aluminum cleaners work at least somewhat, but I think you're going to find it hard to get a bright and durable finish put back on that aluminum in place.

One possibility is to strip the anodizing, polish the aluminum to a good shine, and clear coat it -- but let's see what additional comments your letter gets. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Can exterior anodized aluminum siding be cleaned, primed and repainted? My siding was installed 28 years ago, but the finish is now beginning to run and discolor the stonework. Does anyone out there know of some way to refinish this product?

j collins
- Canada

Hello, J. You can paint anodized aluminum siding. Scrub it well and use a primer for metal, and I think you'll be satisfied. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


To get off anodized finishing, Easy Off oven cleaner works well. it contains a solution based on lye, so I suppose lye itself would work if of a lesser concentration.

Allan Stewart
- Worcester, Massachusetts

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