Cleaning aluminum on trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Cleaning aluminum on trailer

I want to clean my trailer especially the aluminum siding but nothing I use seems to get rid of the water spot or even dirty fingerprints. What do you all suggest I use? I have tried stainless steel cleaner and a cleaner used for wheel wells but it didn't get rid of the water spots. Thanks for all your help!
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 05:06 PM
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Isn't that the oxidation process that happens to aluminum trailers?
I know I see many trailers being cleaned {acid washed} at truck stops....

That said...
Those shiny washing machines in laundromats....my friend use to work in one of the nicest ones I've ever been in...
They "polished" the washer exterior with WD40.... sprayed a little on a rag and wiped the machine down and all the fingerprints and water marks from wet clothes along with the drips from detergent and bleach disappeared... not sure that will work on your trailer though.
Maybe try it on a small spot sort of out of the eyes viewing to be safe...
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 05:33 PM
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Acid wash but the oxidization is a protective coating. Every time you acid wash it removes a thin layer of the aluminum and isn't recommended.
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by churumbeque View Post
Acid wash but the oxidization is a protective coating. Every time you acid wash it removes a thin layer of the aluminum and isn't recommended.
Questions....
I know little about this type of exterior on a trailer so excuse my "dumb" questions...

1. if they acid wash the outside wouldn't the coating then be removed?

2. If they remove the coating while cleaning the surface can't they re-spray it to protect it again with a coating? Like waxing a car?

3. So, when they acid wash the "skin" is actually being removed?
So over many years you could lose the thickness, strength and integrity of that trailer sides, roof and floor for those with aluminum flooring....

Sorry for the questions but I truly don't know and want to.
I have steel trailers. Yes, they rust some but that I can fix and deal with myself...
aluminum...don't think so!
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 07:47 PM
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Some trailers do have coating on the outside and the acid will strip it off, best to check the manufacturer. Our trailer has a big sticker on it "NO ACID WASH". If you do an acid wash at the truck stop it opens the pores of the aluminum and "peels" a layer off. Think of an exfoliation on your skin.
If not kept up the acid wash will oxidize the trailer horribly and turn it yellow. Usually after an acid wash it is buffed and a mirror shine is put on it. Absolutely beautiful but it requires a HUGE a mount of maintenance and money.

They do make pH balanced trailer washes you can buy and use at home for aluminum trailers.
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Questions....
I know little about this type of exterior on a trailer so excuse my "dumb" questions...

1. if they acid wash the outside wouldn't the coating then be removed?

2. If they remove the coating while cleaning the surface can't they re-spray it to protect it again with a coating? Like waxing a car?

3. So, when they acid wash the "skin" is actually being removed?
So over many years you could lose the thickness, strength and integrity of that trailer sides, roof and floor for those with aluminum flooring....

Sorry for the questions but I truly don't know and want to.
I have steel trailers. Yes, they rust some but that I can fix and deal with myself...
aluminum...don't think so!
the "coating I'm referring to is the oxidation that doesn't look good. Aluminum oxidizes which is its own protectant. If you acid wash it you remove a thin layer of the aluminum and then the weather makes it oxidize again.
So yes over time the thickness will decrease with each acid wash.
I have heard of a wax that you can put on aluminum so it is protected but won't oxidize as quickly. They make it for boats.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77 View Post
Some trailers do have coating on the outside and the acid will strip it off, best to check the manufacturer. Our trailer has a big sticker on it "NO ACID WASH". If you do an acid wash at the truck stop it opens the pores of the aluminum and "peels" a layer off. Think of an exfoliation on your skin.
If not kept up the acid wash will oxidize the trailer horribly and turn it yellow. Usually after an acid wash it is buffed and a mirror shine is put on it. Absolutely beautiful but it requires a HUGE a mount of maintenance and money.

They do make pH balanced trailer washes you can buy and use at home for aluminum trailers.
I just ordered a stock combo and thinking it may be one that has a coating so it won't oxidize but not sure.
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 10:03 PM
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My husband has gone to bed so I'm posting in this thread to keep it on my radar because he bought something that he uses on our trailer and it's pretty amazing. I'm assuming you have those nasty grayish black streaks down the sides of it?

I'll try to remember to ask him what that stuff is that he uses in the morning.

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post #9 of 16 Old 04-08-2015, 11:42 PM
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If you have a Blue Beacon truck wash in your area. You can take it there. They wash using pressure wands / brushes and their citrus aluminum wash. Will make the trailer look like new - brushed, polished, and painted surfaces. Takes less than 20 minutes for them to do truck and 4 horse LQ trailer.

Mine has white wall and a section of aluminum and for general washing on it I use purple power. For tough black streaks I use Clorox cleaner.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-10-2015, 08:38 PM
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We take ours to blue beacon all the time. The stuff my husband bought came from an RV dealership, I can't remember the name but it took all the streaks out.

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