How to clean aluminium garden furniture

Aluminium is a popular material used for making garden furniture. As well as offering a modern and stylish look, aluminium is durable and lightweight compared to other materials. Aluminium also requires little maintenance to keep it in great condition.

But to keep your aluminium garden furniture looking as good as new, you should clean it from time to time. To help keep your aluminium furniture looking in tip-top condition and prevent any damage, we’ve covered some tips on how you should and shouldn’t clean aluminium garden furniture.

Find out more about the different garden furniture materials

Tips for cleaning aluminium garden furniture

You’ve spent ages selecting the garden furniture that you like. You’ve got it home and out in the garden. While the garden furniture is new, we are drawn to the novelty that makes us feel good (providing you didn’t make any mistakes when buying your garden furniture). Let’s face it everyone likes shiny new things, right?

You’ll most likely use your new garden furniture all the time when it’s new. The more use your new aluminium garden furniture gets the more often you will need to clean it.

It’s only natural that if your garden furniture is exposed to the elements, it will build up a collection of unpleasant dirt no matter what type of garden furniture you have. Regular cleaning and maintenance are vital for protecting and helping to maintain longevity. Fortunately, it’s very easy to clean aluminium furniture. Regular cleaning and maintenance could also help your garden furniture last much longer too.

So, how do you clean aluminium garden furniture? Here are some tips:

Remove surface level dirt

Most of the muck and grime that your aluminium garden furniture will accumulate can be cleaned easily using warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Washing up liquid should work fine to remove any dirt from grubby surfaces.

Once the furniture has had a wiping down with soapy water, make sure there is no soap residue left anywhere. Leaving any soap on your garden furniture could cause damage or stains. Going over again with just warm water should help remove any soap.

Using washing liquid and warm water will work for aluminium furniture that is both power coated and uncoated.

Removing hard and dried marks

Your aluminium garden furniture will inevitably pick up dirt that is harder to remove, such as bird droppings or tree sap. These can be harder to remove and may require more than simple soapy warm water.

Bird droppings that have dried can be harder (and more unpleasant) to clean. You should be able to get most of it off after giving a soak with warm water. However, there may still be some lingering stains that you cannot get up.

In this circumstance, you’ll need to use something stronger. Consider soaking any remaining stains with vinegar. However, you should be extremely careful how much you apply. Spray a small amount onto the affected area or use a wet cloth to apply it.

Once the vinegar has had time to soak in for a few minutes, you can wash the area to remove the stain. The same vinegar treatment can also be used to remove tree sap as well. Just remember to not completely soak your furniture or leave the vinegar on for too long as it could cause the metal to start dissolving!

If you don’t have vinegar, lemon juice is a good alternative. However, the same applies. Don’t leave it on for extended periods and don’t go overboard!

Take care with uncoated furniture

If your aluminium garden furniture is uncoated, you’ll need to be careful about what cleaning products you use. Powder-coated aluminium has a protective layer of dry paint power, which is achieved through the dry coating.

The result is a much more durable finish and a brighter appearance. Powder-coated aluminium may not require additional cleaning products due to the stronger surface properties.

Uncoated furniture does not have the stronger surface properties and may be more susceptible to corrosion. That’s why care should be taken when using chemicals to clean your aluminium garden furniture.

Avoid using any cleaning products or chemicals that contain ammonia, trisodium phosphate, or soda. Using these substances on your aluminium furniture can precipitate metal oxidation.

Aluminium doesn’t rust, but it can cause corrosion that will weaken the durability.

Regular maintenance

Ideally, to help keep your garden furniture looking at its best, you should consider cleaning it at least 4 times a year. As you would use your garden furniture more in the summer, you should expect to clean it at least twice during the summer months.

Once the summer season is over, you should consider giving your aluminium furniture another clean before storing or putting over the protective cover. Even though aluminium does not rust, adding a protective cover will help shield it from the elements.

Then, when it’s time to break out the garden furniture again ready for the next season, give it another wash so it’s all bright and new ready for use.

Taking the time to regularly clean and maintain your aluminium garden furniture will help it keep for longer, so you can continue using it and enjoying your garden space all year round and for years to come.

Taking preventive measures

Once your aluminium furniture is nice and clean, you can take preventive measures to help preserve the material and keep it looking bright and shiny.

To give your aluminium furniture some additional protection against the elements, consider applying a thin coat of:

  • - Car wax
  • - Baby oil
  • - Silicon spray

Using these preventative measures will not only help preserve the metal but will also give it a nice shine as if it were brand new. Just make sure the aluminium surface is completely dry before applying anything.

Avoid making these mistakes

Don’t power wash

A big mistake many people will make is to power wash their garden furniture. You may be tempted to quickly go over your aluminium furniture with the power wash in the hope of saving time. It may save time, but it won’t save your aluminium garden furniture.

Power washers work by using a high-pressure stream of hot water. While a power washer may be ideal for cleaning other garden surfaces, such as your patio, it is not recommended for aluminium.

The pressure from your power washer can do more harm than good. The high pressure and warm water can lead to the aluminium becoming damaged. If you want to preserve your aluminium, it’s best to get out the bucket and soft sponge.

Avoid using bleach

While bleach may be a very common cleaning product to use around the house, one place it should never be used is on your aluminium garden furniture.

Using bleach on aluminium can cause unpleasant and unsightly stains. Using bleach on your furniture will only result in damage to the materials.

Bleach won’t straight away start to eat away at your aluminium garden furniture, but it will start to change the colour, leading to a much duller and darker look. The more you use bleach, the more wear will occur.

It may also be a good idea not to try and water down bleach either to try and clean or disinfect your aluminium furniture. If any bleach lingers on the surface, it could start to cause wear.

Never use sharp or rough cleaning materials!

When cleaning your aluminium garden furniture, you should never use any sharp or rough cleaning materials. No matter how stubborn a stain, never use scouring pads or anything alike, as this can damage the aluminium.

As well as causing scratches, using sharp or rough cleaning materials can damage the surface. Exposing the bare metal will lead to corrosion as the metal reacts with oxygen. This will leave unsightly brown marks.

In the event a scratch does occur, make sure to you quickly apply a suitable aluminium polish to help prevent corrosion and signs of wear. Make sure to follow the guidelines when applying the polish for the best results. The quicker the scratch is covered up, the better for your garden furniture.

By following the cleaning tips above, you should now have a clear idea of how best to (and not to) clean your aluminium garden furniture. Making sure you regularly spend the time to clean and maintain your furniture will help it look better for longer. Keeping your aluminium furniture shiny will also help to keep the novelty appeal you first experienced when you bought it. So, time to get out the bucket and water!

See the range of aluminium garden furniture available at Hilltop