How to Clean Aluminum Window Frames

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Aluminum window frames are inexpensive, have a slim profile, and are a popular choice for windows — but even these low-maintenance frames need to be thoroughly cleaned every once in a while to keep them looking their best. At their worst, aluminum window frames can develop a dull gray-brown cast and white, powdery spots, which is called oxidation.


Aluminum oxidation's white, powdery spots chemically bind to the aluminum to protect it from further corrosion. Although self-protecting, the oxidization on aluminum windows severely detracts from the curb appeal of a home. Luckily, with just a bit of scrubbing and household vinegar, you can get them bright and shiny once again.

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Things You'll Need

How to Clean Aluminum Window Frames With White Vinegar

Step 1: Clear off the surface

Because your aluminum frames are constantly exposed to the elements, it's likely there is a lot of dust and debris that needs to be cleaned. Brush it off from the window with a dry, nylon scrub brush.


Step 2: Prepare your vinegar cleaning solution

Pour a 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar into a bucket, making sure you have plenty to clean all of your aluminum window frames.

Step 3: Scrub the aluminum window frames

Dip the scrub brush into the vinegar and water solution and scrub the aluminum window frames until the oxidation disappears. If you're still seeing remnants of oxidation, brush the window frames with a stainless-steel wire brush until it's no longer visible.


Step 4: Rinse and dry

Finally, rinse the aluminum window frame with water and dry the surface with a rag.


If you find that the vinegar solution doesn't work to remove the oxidation from the aluminum window frame, you can also use a commercial aluminum or citrus cleaner.

Protect Aluminum Frames from Corrosion

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Window manufacturers add a coating to aluminum window frames to protect it from exposure to air, salt, and cleaning products to prevent corrosion. Unfortunately, not all window frames have a protective layer and do eventually corrode.


To protect your aluminum window frames from further corrosion, dip a rag into car wax and apply a light coat to the aluminum. Let the wax dry then buff the frames with a clean rag. Apply a second coat of wax, let it dry then buff it with a clean rag. You can also apply two coats of specialized metal paint to protect the aluminum windows from corrosion.