A common material for siding, gutters, and outdoor furniture that pressure washing can clean and restore its shine.

Related terms: aluminium, aluminum siding, aluminum gutters

Aluminum, Pressure Washing & Power Washing

Aluminum is a lightweight, corrosion-resistant metal widely used in various applications, including building materials, household appliances, and aircraft components. In the realm of pressure washing and power washing, aluminum’s unique properties play a significant role in both its suitability and limitations as a surface for cleaning.

Key Properties of Aluminum in Pressure Washing:

  • Corrosion resistance: Aluminum boasts exceptional resistance to corrosion, making it a durable choice for outdoor surfaces like siding, fences, and furniture. This resistance makes it ideal for pressure washing, as the high-pressure water stream won’t readily damage the material.
  • Softness: Compared to other metals like steel, aluminum is considerably softer. This softness makes it susceptible to damage from high-pressure water streams and abrasive cleaning methods.
  • Surface finish: Aluminum surfaces come in various finishes, each with its own cleaning considerations. Anodized aluminum, for example, offers additional protection and requires a gentler pressure washing approach than painted aluminum.
  • Heat transfer: Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat. This property can be beneficial during pressure washing, as warm water can enhance cleaning effectiveness and expedite drying. However, it’s crucial to avoid using excessively hot water, as it can damage the aluminum.

Pressure Washing Techniques for Aluminum:

  • Low-pressure setting: When pressure washing aluminum, it’s crucial to use a low-pressure setting, ideally 1,500 PSI or below. This reduces the risk of damage to the soft metal.
  • Wide fan tip: Utilizing a wide fan tip on the spray gun helps disperse the water pressure evenly, further minimizing the risk of damage.
  • Soap and detergents: Use appropriate cleaning solutions designed specifically for aluminum to avoid damaging the surface or leaving streaks.
  • Angle and distance: Maintain a safe distance from the aluminum surface and spray at an angle to prevent damage.
  • Testing: Always test the pressure and cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the aluminum before proceeding with the entire surface.

Power Washing Considerations:

While “power washing” and “pressure washing” are often used interchangeably, power washing generally refers to using higher pressure settings. Due to aluminum’s softness, it’s generally not recommended to use power washing techniques on aluminum surfaces. The high pressure can easily dent, scratch, or even deform the metal.

Alternatives for Power Washing:

  • Soft washing: This method uses low pressure and specialized cleaning solutions to remove dirt and grime without damaging the aluminum.
  • Hand washing: For delicate aluminum surfaces or intricate designs, hand washing with a sponge or soft cloth might be preferable.

Aluminum’s advantageous properties of corrosion resistance and durability make it a popular choice for various surfaces. However, its softness necessitates careful consideration when pressure washing or power washing. Utilizing low-pressure settings, appropriate cleaning solutions, and gentle techniques ensures effective cleaning without damaging the aluminum. In situations where high pressure is required, exploring alternative methods like soft washing or hand washing might be necessary to protect the delicate aluminum surface.