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Cleaning Aluminum Screens

Q: "Is there a special way to clean aluminum screens?"

Ask This Old House Crew
Photo by Matt Kalinowski

I was wondering if you have a special way to clean aluminum screens. After a few years, the aluminum oxidizes and that impedes the flow of air. Have any ideas?
— Ted, North Babylon, N.Y.


Tom Silva replies: An acid wash works great, but I wouldn't recommend it for homeowner use because it isn't something most people know how to handle safely. Instead, try an automotive cleaner intended for aluminum wheels. Put on rubber gloves and safety goggles, line up the screens in the driveway, where the cleaners won't hurt your lawn and plants, and spray the cleaner on. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and don't overdo it. A little of this stuff goes a long way.
Use a soft brush to work the cleaner into the screening and then wash the screens and frames with plenty of water; let them dry before you put them back on the house.


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