How Not to Clean Aluminum Trailers

Sunday, July 30, 2017
Posted by


Just because an aluminum trailer looks sparkling clean doesn’t mean it’s been cleaned the right way. There are products out there that even professionals use to clean aluminum trailers, without realizing the harm they’re doing to the trailer’s exterior and its resale value.

You may already know about a common trailer cleaner known as “acid wash.” While acid wash initially leaves trailers looking shiny and new, this harsh solution gradually causes serious damage by etching into the aluminum year over year.

It’s something we see all the time here at Blue Ridge Trailers, so we wanted to share some insights to help people avoid these bad cleaning methods and keep their trailers in good shape.

What’s Wrong with Acid Wash?
One of the biggest reasons to buy aluminum trailers in the first place is that their resale value sticks like glue. Since aluminum doesn’t rust, they resist deterioration and can look new even when they’re a decade or more old. The flip side is that aluminum can oxidize, or develop a dull, yellowish layer that needs to be cleaned off regularly. But if you’re using acid wash for cleaning, you’re pouring the trailer’s resale value right down the drain.

That’s because acid wash will wear down the top layers of the aluminum, weakening the metal and even changing its chemical makeup. Ultimately, this puts large, ugly streaks on the exterior of the trailer.

That leaves the trailer looking worn and aged—and it was totally preventable!

The Right Way to Clean Aluminum Trailers

Instead of using acid wash to clean aluminum trailers, we look for products such as Aluma-Brite, which are much less harsh. In a professional’s hands, Aluma-Brite will remove oxidation without damaging the trailer underneath.

So before you go to a power washer, ask if they’re familiar with Aluma-Brite. They should know how to properly use this product: spraying it uniformly over the trailer in a fine mist along with hot water, and then removing it quickly.

Your trailer will look just as shiny and clean as it would after an acid wash—and you can enjoy peace of mind that you’re protecting your investment for years to come.

Want more expert insights on trailer care? Subscribe to the Blue Ridge Trailers monthly newsletter.