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How to Clean Aluminum Doors and Windows

Aluminum doors offer style and durability at a lower price point. Here's some tips for proper care to keep your entrance door looking it's best.

Care tips to extend your door’s life

High-quality aluminum doors are a beautiful and reliable alternative to steel doors. Aluminum is a durable material that is well suited for many environments (even salty air or shower steam) and is easily maintained. When properly cared for, the robust nature of aluminum doors provides durability, lasting twenty-five years or more, providing a unique and affordable option to suit your style. To protect your metal surfaces and finish it’s a good idea to avoid commercial aluminum cleaner, citrus solvent, or other potentially corrosive soaps. All you’ll need are clean cloths, mild soap, and water for general maintenance.

A Step-by-Step Guide

Caring for your aluminum door is an important part of protecting its longevity, and it’s a simple process. Here are some tips for proper care to keep the materials of your custom door in top condition.

  • Gather your cleaning supplies. The first thing you need to clean your aluminum door is to gather materials.  All you’ll need is a gentle soap or mild detergent, clean water, and several dry cloths. Diluted castile soap is an excellent choice for cleaner. If your aluminum door has glass inserts, you’ll also need an ammonia-free cleaner and an additional clean cloth. 
  • Prepare the door for cleaning. Wipe the door down with a dry cloth to remove any surface pollen, dirt or debris.
  • Wipe the door with a damp cloth. Add some mild soap to a bucket of warm water. Dip your cloth into the soapy mixture and ring it out until it’s damp. Then, wipe the door with your wet cloth, including the aluminum frame. Continue using your soapy mixture on the door until it’s fully clean.
  • Clean the glass. If your aluminum door has glass inserts, spray the glass and window frames with an ammonia-free glass cleaner and wipe them with a clean, dry cloth. 
  • Dry the door. The surface shouldn’t be left damp because chemicals from your soap and metals from the water can adversely affect the material of your door. Using a clean, dry cloth, wipe the door down until it’s fully dry.

Specific Cleaning Guides Based on Door Position & Condition

Cleaning an outside entrance door vs. an inside door often call for different methods. Consider how dirty the door is, as well as your surrounding areas to avoid extra mess.

How to Clean Exterior Aluminum Doors 

Exterior doors can get really dirty, depending on your environment. If your door is especially dirty, consider spraying it with a hose on a light setting to prepare it for cleaning. (Take special care not to use a pressure washer or powerful setting on the hose to protect the paint and window glass). The water can help break down the dirt and debris to make wiping it down easier. Then, use your soapy mixture to get it fully clean followed by wiping it with a clean, dry cloth to remove excess moisture. When cleaning glass or aluminum window frames, remember to use ammonia free cleaner to avoid any problems with overspray.

Cleaning Interior Aluminum Doors 

To clean your interior door, the best way to start is by wiping off dust and fingerprints with a dry cloth. After the initial wipe down, use mild soap and warm water to clean the door. If needed, spray any glass with ammonia-free cleaner and wipe with a clean cloth. When your door is clean, use another clean cloth to dry the door so you don’t leave any moisture behind. Excess moisture can damage the material.

Addressing Common Stains on Aluminum Doors

Stains happen, even when we’re careful. Luckily, aluminum is a low maintenance material and stains can be prevented and, when necessary, removed without much trouble.

Removing Hard Water Stains

Hard water stains happen because of minerals in the water. These unsightly stains can affect doors anywhere there’s moisture, particularly in showers, bathrooms or even laundry rooms. They can also happen on exterior doors for a variety of reasons like salt water air or snow. To prevent hard water stains, take care to keep your doors dry as much as possible. If they do happen, use a clean dry cloth and a vinegar/water solution to gently clean the stain. For very persistent stains, use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to gently buff the stain away.

Methods to Remove Rust 

Removing rust from aluminum can be a bit tricky because aluminum doesn’t rust like steel; instead, it forms a layer of oxide that protects it from corrosion. However, if there are iron particles or other contaminants causing discoloration on the surface, you can try using a sponge or cloth to gently scrub with white vinegar. If that doesn’t work, make a baking soda vinegar paste and gently scrub with a clean cloth or sponge.

Removing Mold and Mildew 

In most cases, mildew can be cleaned with warm soapy water (mild soap). Mold, on the other hand, is easily addressed with white vinegar. Make a diluted vinegar cleaning solution with equal parts vinegar and water. Using a clean, dry cloth or a sponge, dip into your solution and wring the cloth until it’s only damp. Wipe down the mold, then use a clean cloth to dry the area. In order to tackle tougher stains, use more vinegar than water. Frequent cleaning can keep mold and mildew at bay.

Cleaning Aluminum Door Frames and Handles 

Aluminum door frames can be cleaned with the same solution used for your door. Simply wipe down the door frame to remove excess dirt, then clean it with a mild soap and water mixture. Avoid using any corrosive cleaners or harsh soaps in order to protect the paint and integrity of the material. Since door handles can be made of different materials, it’s best to just wipe them with a damp cloth. If you need to further sanitize your door handle, use a bit of mild soap or diluted vinegar on your cloth.

Preventative Measures and Regular Maintenance

Aluminum is a resistance material that evolves to protect itself, making it an excellent choice for exterior doors. When aluminum is exposed to oxygen, it forms a thin layer of aluminum oxide that protects against corrosion. Still, homeowners will want to take preventative measures to keep excessive oxidation from happening that could eventually lead to rust. 

To help keep your aluminum door in top shape, keep your door as dry as possible by wiping it down with a dry cloth as needed. Clean your door with mild soap and lukewarm water at least twice a year, followed by thoroughly drying it to prevent excess moisture. Lastly, if you see any signs of staining or corrosion, address them immediately to prevent it from spreading. Regular care is always the best preventative.

Aluminum doors can be a great option for homeowners who want high-quality and aesthetically pleasing interior or exterior doors at a lower price point. Aluminum is low maintenance and can be cared for using a simple process. For more information on what’s possible for your home, reach out to us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cleaner for aluminum sliding doors? 

Use solvents like mild soap and water or a vinegar water mixture (for tough rust and stains only) to clean your aluminum sliding doors. Always avoid corrosive cleaners or harsh chemicals to protect the material of your door. 

What is the best thing to clean aluminum? 

Aluminum is a low maintenance metal that requires only a few simple steps to maintain. The best cleaning process for aluminum is to wipe down the door with a dry cloth, followed by cleaning with a mild soap and water mixture, like diluted castile soap. 

How do you clean oxidized aluminum doors? 

Oxidized aluminum doors will benefit from regular cleaning.  In order to clean aluminum, use a mild soap and water solvent, like diluted castile soap, and wipe the door with a dry cloth. Follow by thoroughly cleaning with your soapy mixture. At the end of the cleaning process, dry the door with a clean cloth.

What should you not clean aluminum with? 

Avoid corrosive or harsh cleaners on aluminum and opt for ammonia-free cleaner on your glass window panes. The best option for regular cleaning of aluminum doors is a mild soap and water mixture.

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