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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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.
Protect Aluminum Frames from Corrosion
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.