Last Updated: November 7, 2017
It seems that most people these days are rushing from one thing to another. Who has time to clean their deck’s railings when they’re busy working, commuting, studying, cooking dinner, running errands, catching up with friends, and on and on the list goes? Railings should be effortless. And luckily, aluminum railings require very little maintenance whatsoever. In addition to being durable, beautiful, and affordable, aluminum railings are virtually maintenance-free. So if you’re wondering how to clean aluminum railing, you’ve come to the right place. We’re the experts and, believe us, you don’t need to worry. It’s going to be a short lesson!
How to Clean Aluminum Railing
Seasonal rain showers will keep your railing sufficiently clean. If you’re in a dry spell, however, or you want to help the process along, you can give your railing a quick hose-down. If your railing is a bit dirty or sprinkled with pollen, you should find that some water (and perhaps a damp rag) is all you need to get it looking like new again. And if your railing is often covered in tree seeds or sap, conduct quick cleanings more often; sun exposure and heat can make them difficult to remove.
Learning how to clean aluminum railing is as simple as that – just grab your hose and spray!
If mud won’t budge or debris is hardened and sticking, you might need to use a little more elbow grease. Using water, a mild and non-abrasive soap, and a sponge, simply scrub off the grime. Don’t use a dry or very rough sponge, which can damage the surface of the railing and cause scratches. Afterward, rinse with water.
For best results, clean your railing on a cool and overcast day. If you’re really having trouble with soot or grime, try combining 1/3-cup powdered detergent, 2/3 cup household cleaner (like Lysol), and 1 gallon water. Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the railing to ensure it won’t change the color of the railing or otherwise damage it. Then, assuming no damage occurs, wipe down the entire railing with this solution, and then rinse with water before the solution dries.
Additional Cleaning Tips
How to Inspect Your Railing
Now that you know how to clean aluminum railing, it’s important that you also assess the condition of the railing. Once or twice a year, take the time to thoroughly inspect your railing, checking for signs of wear. Since outdoor railings confront a lot of extreme weather conditions – rain, hail, wind, snow, ice, extreme heat, etc. – they may erode over time. Ideally, you should do this during fall and spring, so that you can repair any damage caused during the more extreme seasons, winter and summer. During your inspection, look for the following issues:
- Rusted screws and nails
- Loose or wobbly railings
These issues can occur naturally over time, but luckily, they’re easy to fix. Replace rusted screws and nails, and touch-up discoloration using a matching spray paint or touch-up pen. Wash off debris and rinse with water. Finally, if your railing is loose, check the posts’ connection to the deck frame. You may need to tighten the bolts or otherwise strengthen the connection.
How to Clean Aluminum Railing with Glass Panels
Over time, clear glass panels within railings can become dirty, dusty, streaked with water, or perhaps even covered in “gifts” from passing birds. These can be cleaned as you would clean any glass surface, such as a glass-covered table or window. Use a regular glass cleaner and avoid paper towels, which can leave streaks and lint residue. You could also make a solution using three or four squirts of dish soap in a 1-quart bucket of warm water. Scrub the glass with a sponge using this solution, rinse with a hose, and allow it to air dry. If streaks remain, you can remove them with a clean cloth.
How to Remove That Powdery Coating
Aluminum railing is typically covered in a powder coating, which provides a beautiful and maintenance-free finish. However, this coating may become covered in a light layer of a chalky white powder as time goes by. Although this is completely natural and normal, if you don’t like the look of it, you can easily scrub off the powder and polish the railing so that it shines again.
How to Clean Hinges and Fasteners
The aluminum railing itself should hold up well and need little cleaning, but you should always keep an eye on the fasteners and hinges. Are they dirty? Can you hose them off? Do they need to be tightened? Additionally, if you’re having trouble with oxidation (common in high UV areas and railings near salt water), consider rubbing a light layer of floor or car wax onto the fasteners periodically.
How Often To Clean Your Railing
In a normal environment, plan to clean your railing just once a year. Even then, you might find that a cleaning is unnecessary. Some people find it easy to clean their railings whenever they clean their deck (or patio, balcony, etc.).
If your railing is located near the ocean, a pool, or a spa, you will need to clean and inspect it more frequently. Salt water and pool chemicals can corrode railings, deteriorating and weakening them, so cleaning isn’t just an aesthetic concern; it could affect the functional condition of your railing. Lightly rinse the railing frequently to reduce the accumulation of salts, chemicals, and dirt. You may also need to wash your railing more frequently if you live in a particularly dusty or grimy area. Finally, if your railing is located in a harsh industrial environment, examine it every three months (and clean it as necessary).
See? Easy peasy!
If you’re in the market for an aluminum railing, do yourself a favor and check out MMC Fencing & Railing. You might be interested in the Westbury Aluminum Railing systems, which are available in a variety of styles and colors. With names like Tuscany, Riviera, Montego, and Veranda, you can trust that these railings are both elegant and understated. Or, if you’re concerned about pesky insects, learn more about Screenrail, an aluminum railing with heavy-duty screen panels to keep out mosquitos and other bothersome bugs.
For more railing options and to check out additional benefits of aluminum railings, please check out the MMC Fencing & Railing online store or give us a call at 1-866-931-5002.