Powder coated aluminum patio furniture is a popular choice for outdoor living spaces due to its durability, lightweight, and low maintenance requirements.
However, like any other outdoor furniture, it is constantly exposed to the elements and can quickly accumulate dirt, dust, and other debris.
But how do you clean it?
If you are an owner of aluminum patio furniture like us (we got ours from SunHaven and love it!), then you need to know what to do.
So, read on below!
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Aluminum is great because it won’t rust!
Aluminum is a highly durable material and is ideal for use in a variety of outdoor applications, including patio furniture. One of the most significant advantages of aluminum is that it won’t rust, which is a common problem with other metals like steel or iron when exposed to moisture and oxygen.
Trust me, when you have to deal with rusting patio furniture, you never want to have to deal with it again. We got rust stains on our patio because of metal furniture that rusted!
What is powder coating, and why is it important for aluminum patio furniture?
Powder coating is a protective finish applied to metal to protect the metal from chipping, scratching, or corroding. This finish enables a metal, especially when used outdoors, to be very durable and last a long time.
But aluminum doesn’t rust? Is this still necessary?
Answer: Yes! Even though aluminum won’t rust, it can still corrode!
A powder coated finish on aluminum protects the metal from corroding, which will look like white spots on the metal.
And it is very important to make sure that this powder coating is properly cleaned to make sure that the metal doesn’t get damaged and your patio furniture can look great and last a long time.
11 Do's and Don’ts for Cleaning Powder Coated Aluminum Patio Furniture
- Start with warm water and a cloth: The most important thing about cleaning powder coated aluminum furniture is not damaging the powder coated finish. So, your first step should be to simply wipe away any dirt with just warm water and soft cloth – this shouldn’t damage the powder coating. In most cases, this is all you will need.
- Use a gentle cleaning solution: If you need a little extra cleaning power, mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water to create a gentle cleaning solution that won’t damage the powder coating on the furniture. What is mild dish soap? It’s soap without “builders” (powerful chemicals for heavy-duty cleaning) like phosphates, sodium carbonate, and sodium silicate. Read more here from Rusticwise.
- Test a small area first: Before cleaning the entire furniture piece, test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.
- Use a soft-bristled brush, if needed: Use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to scrub the furniture gently and slowly to not damage the powder coating. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that can scratch or damage the powder coating (more on this in a bit).
- Rinse thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the furniture thoroughly with water to remove any leftover soap or dirt. You can use a hose or a very low-pressure setting on a pressure washer. Also, make sure there isn’t any water standing in the metal frame; drain the frame as necessary.
- Dry the furniture completely: Use a soft towel or cloth to dry the furniture thoroughly to prevent water spots.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals: Harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia, can damage the powder coating and should be avoided. One easy mistake to make these days is using something like Clorox wipes to clean patio furniture. But the chemicals in these wipes break down the powder coating.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners: Avoid using abrasive cleaners, such as steel wool or scouring pads, as they can scratch and damage the powder coating.
- Don’t use high-pressure washers: High-pressure washers can be too powerful and can strip away the powder coating from the furniture, so it’s best to avoid using them.
- Don’t rely only on air drying the furniture: Air drying alone can lead to water spots that need to be wiped away, leading to extra cleaning later on. Avoid this by wiping down the furniture with a soft towel first, then letting air outside finish the job.
- Don’t neglect other materials on the furniture: In some cases, your aluminum patio furniture may have other materials like wicker or wood. Make sure you clean those materials according to proper cleaning methods too.
How do we clean our powder coated aluminum patio furniture?
We have a powder coated aluminum outdoor sofa, see pictures below, that sits unprotected in our backyard (no overhead cover – we keep the cushions off so those don’t get ruined, so it’s just the frame sitting there), so this thing gets pretty dirty with all the pollen, dirt, and whatever else is going on in our backyard. But we don’t have to do too much to keep this thing clean. This is our process:
- Wipe down with a wet cloth
- Dry with a towel
That’s it! It really is that easy to clean away the dirt and get this piece of furniture looking like new again.
Cleaning Materials Recommendations
What if your powder coated aluminum patio furniture is chipped or scratched?
If you find chips or scratches in the powder coating that exposes the aluminum of your patio furniture, then you should contact the furniture manufacturer on how to fix these areas.
Generally, fixing this area will involve applying touch-up paint specifically designed for powder-coated surfaces to the damaged area using a small brush (please refer to the patio furniture manufacturer’s guidance). You will need to make sure to apply the paint evenly and allow it to dry completely before applying a second coat if needed.
What if your aluminum patio furniture has white spots and/or calcium buildup?
Calcium build-up on aluminum furniture can be unsightly and can lead to damage over time. Here are some steps you can take to remove it:
- Mix a solution of 1 part distilled white vinegar and 9 parts water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the affected areas with the solution and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush or sponge. Be sure to use a non-abrasive brush or sponge to avoid damaging the powder coating on the aluminum.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water.
- Dry the furniture with a clean towel or allow it to air dry.
If the calcium build-up is particularly stubborn, you can try using a commercial cleaner specifically designed for removing calcium and mineral deposits (please refer to the patio furniture manufacturer’s guidance). Be sure to follow the instructions on the product carefully and test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture first to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your aluminum patio furniture to ensure you’re using the correct method and not damaging the surface.