If you have aluminum seals on your compressor or other industrial equipment, you can rely on the aluminum to provide you with durability and resistance to corrosion. However, over time, aluminum seals can get dirty or even develop a dark oxidized coating. Luckily, it's easy to clean your aluminum seals. Take a look at these tips:
1. Brush off dirt and debris
Before applying any moisture or cleaning products to your aluminum seals, use a dry cloth to remove dust, dirt and debris from the seal. If working with a seal with lots of grooves or angles, clean it with a soft bristle brush -- it's more effective at flicking dirt out of small crevices.
2. Use steel wool to remove stubborn, stuck-on grit
If you are unable to remove all of the visible build-up from the aluminum seal with a brush or rag, you can use an abrasive like steel wool. Use it carefully, however, as it may fill your aluminum seal with small scratches.
Buy the finest grade of steel wool possible, and rub it against the stuck-on debris gently. Follow the grain of the metal, and don't go in circular motions if you want to avoid noticeable scratches.
3. Scrub with homemade or commercial cleaners
Once the dust and dirt are gone, grab a spray bottle full of aluminum cleaner and a rag or sponge, and get ready to scrub your aluminum seals. If you want to make your own aluminum cleaner -- it's simple.
Mix together a quart of water and two tablespoons of your choice of white vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar. All three products are available at supermarkets, with cream of tartar sold in the spices section. Stir the mixture together and put it in a spray bottle for easy application. If you have a lot of grease in your industry, add a couple of drops of dish soap.
Alternatively, you can buy a number of commercial aluminum cleaning products. Look for a product designed for use in your industry, or use a cleaner designed for aluminum car wheels.
Simply, spray the cleaner at the aluminum seal and wipe it clean.
4. Remove oxidization with sodium hydroxide
Oxidization appears as a dark layer over your aluminum, and if your aluminum seals have a layer of oxidization, it may require extra cleaning.
Sodium hydroxide can remove oxidization, and this compound is commonly found in drain cleaners. Apply a few drops to a rag and gently scrub the aluminum seal.
5. Rinse the aluminum seals
When you are done cleaning, rinse off the cleaner so that it doesn't leave any streaks, lines or residue. To do that, dip a clean rag into a bucket of warm water. Wring out the rag, and gently wipe it over the aluminum seal.
If you are rinsing several aluminum seals, remember to change your rag when it becomes built up with cleaning product residue and change your water as soon as it appears visibly dirty.
6. Dry and polish
Finally, when your aluminum seals have been brushed, scrubbed, de-oxidized and rinsed, you are ready to dry and polish them. Use a soft, absorbent terry cloth towel to remove any excess moisture from the aluminum seals.
When they are dry, you can polish them with a dry cloth, or you can massage a specially made aluminum polish into them. That keeps them looking new and shiny.
If they are very pock marked or scratched, give them a vigorous polish by gently sanding them with the grain of the metal and then polishing them with a buffing pad attached to an automatic sander.
For more tips on cleaning your aluminum seals, contact the manufacturer of your seals. If you're looking to replace your seals, visit a site like http://www.phoenixspecialty.com/.