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topic 34627

Cleaning Galvanized Metal and Keeping It Shiny

A discussion started in 2005 & continuing through 2017


Q. I am a former carpenter and now a business writer. I have remodeled a rental house and want to achieve a consistent shiny finish for not much investment. My son and I are doing most of the work ourselves.

I have installed several dozen cheap 2' wide x 8' long corrugated galvanized steel sheets from Home Depot vertically on the sides of my rental house. There is some whitish scale on the sheets and I am looking for a fairly simple method to bring the metal to a consistent shiny finish.

Is there a fairly non-toxic chemical I can clean it with? If there is, do I need to apply it with a wet rag, spray it on or brush it on and rinse it off with water, or what method is least labor intensive and most effective? Will I need to buff it? What type of finish or clearcoat can I apply after it is cleaned so as to keep it shiny. How often will I need to refinish the surface.

Michael Roth
Hobbyist - Portland, Oregon, USA



A. 5% sulphuric is standard solution for cleaning of zinc,but I think that 5% ammonium citrate solution is safer and less dangerous(dissolve 50 gm citric acid in 1 lit water, add some ammonia, pH must be 7).Rinse well! For lacquering you can use Incralac or any other similar proprietary product (solution of Paraloid B 44 and benzotriazole/corrosion inhibitor/).

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

July 5, 2017 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am using metal from an old barn to make a ceiling for a kitchen. The back side of the tin was never painted.
1. What is the best way to clean it , get a shine and keep it shining?
2. Do I have to worry about the other side of the metal with the rust and old silver paint?

raymond gouker
hobbyist - new oxford pa

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