Everything new will eventually lose its shine. And aluminum diamond plates are no exception. But that doesn’t mean you’ve to keep dealing with it. Here’s the complete guide on how to clean oxidized aluminum diamond plate.
First, start by washing the plate. This will get rid of large debris and dirt. Then you need to polish it and also apply an acid-base cleaner. Lastly, use a multipurpose cleaner spray. Don’t forget to keep it dry.
But that’s only the surface level of it. See, what we did there? Silly jokes aside, there’s much more you should know. We’ll also go into details about maintenance best practices. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- Reasons to Clean Oxidized Aluminum Diamond Plate
- The Things You Will Need to Clean Oxidized Aluminum Diamond Plate
- How to Clean Oxidized Aluminum Diamond Plate
- What Not to Do When Cleaning an Aluminum Diamond Plate
- How to Maintain Your Aluminum Diamond Plate
- Wrapping Up
Reasons to Clean Oxidized Aluminum Diamond Plate
You may be asking yourself, is cleaning an aluminum diamond plate even worth it? Well, let us tell you that it’s completely worth the trouble. There are mainly two reasons.
Let’s face it; an oxidized aluminum diamond plate isn’t attractive. It looks dirty and grimy. Since diamond plates are used in lots of applications, the look matters.
You don’t want to carry around a rusty and dirty-looking toolbox made from aluminum diamond plates.
Also, what about RV owners?
RVs can have diamond aluminum plates on the outside. Those can get dirty and start to look really unappealing. Anyone who cares about their vehicle will want to clean it.
Plus, it doesn’t give off a good sign either. People will see the oxidized plate and be turned off. More importantly, many people have a personal distaste for it. They want to keep their plates clean and looking pristine.
2. Prevent Further Damage
Leaving a plate oxidized and dirty will cause further damage over time. You don’t want to ignore it. It can become a more severe problem later down the line. So, that’s another very important you should clean.
The Things You Will Need to Clean Oxidized Aluminum Diamond Plate
Before you start cleaning, make sure you have all you need. This way, you don’t have to run back and forth. So, gather all your important tools.
Here is a list of what you will need. All these will make the job easier.
- 1 pair of latex gloves to keep your hands safe
- Aluminum brightener to get the shine back
- Aluminum polish/Round compound
- Some old clothes. You don’t want to ruin your fancy ones
- Couple of microfiber towels
- A buffing wheel with an adapter
- Polisher (Dual action or rotary)
How to Clean Oxidized Aluminum Diamond Plate
Alright, now that you’ve gathered all your tools, let’s get into it. Oxidation can occur for a couple of reasons. One of the primary reasons is prolonged exposure to the sun. The oxygen in the air can be the cause as well.
There’re some things you need to do before starting. So, we’ll begin with that. Here are all the steps.
Step 1 – Give the Plate a Good Wash
What you’re aiming to do here is just get rid of any large debris. A lot of things can be made of aluminum diamond plates. It can be a toolbox or just a plate around your RV.
If it’s possible to bring it out in the open, then do it. This will make cleaning less messy.
Before you use any polishers or other products to clean, wash the plate. Wash away loose dirt and large debris that might be on there. You can use a microfiber cloth for this.
After you’ve washed the plate, dry it out completely. Now it’s time for the next step.
Step 2 – Applying Acid-Base Cleaner
To get in those nitty-gritty places, you need to use an acid-base cleaner first. This will break up large pieces of dirt. Grime won’t stand a chance either.
Using an acid-base cleaner and then using a general polisher will help bring back the shine. So, the aluminum diamond plate will look new. Now, that’s something everyone wants.
Taking the plate to basic Ph levels from acidic helps prepare it for cleaning. Another cool trick is to use an aluminum brightener for the first phase.
Don’t think you are done with this step. Cleaning the aluminum will just get rid of the dirt and grime. To get the actual shine, you need to polish it. That’s a bit obvious.
Step 3 – Polishing the Aluminum Plate
Now comes the polishing bit of the whole process. You can use a couple of different tools for polishing. But polishing with your hands and wool carpet will take longer, duh!
You can use a buffing wheel to get super-fast results. And the polish quality itself will come out top-notch too. That’s a win-win right there.
There is something you need to keep in mind here, though. When shopping for polishers, always buy high-quality ones.
You don’t want a low-quality polisher making things worse. Invest in a high-quality polisher, and your aluminum diamond plate will thank you.
Step 4 – Spray Multipurpose Cleaner
After cleaning and polishing, there might still be smudgy surfaces. You can get rid of it by blasting the plate with some multipurpose cleaning spray. Then wipe it down with a microfiber towel to remove the excess.
What Not to Do When Cleaning an Aluminum Diamond Plate
You know how to clean oxidized aluminum diamond plate. But that isn’t quite enough. When cleaning and polishing, there are some things you should never do. Let’s take a look at those.
1. Never Use Harsh Detergents
Using harsh detergents to clean will discolor your plate. And that’s something none of us wants. If you use soap, using something that’s non-detergent is your best bet.
2. Drying is Very Important
Drying is crucial for your diamond plate. Don’t let the plate simply air dry. That just won’t cut it. You need to deliberately wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.
Do this till it’s completely dry. Leaving the plate to air dry will cause water sports to form. It damages the surface material of the plate too.
3. Wear Proper Gear and Clothes
You will be using a lot of chemicals like polishers, cutting compounds, and more. Plus, the whole cleaning process can get a bit messy. So, we highly recommend wearing the right protective gear.
Make sure to have gloves on. As for your clothes, wear something old. Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty are perfect. And if you have any special outfit for cleaning, like an apron, then that’s awesome.
How to Maintain Your Aluminum Diamond Plate
As the old saying goes – prevention is better than cure. That applies to your diamond plate as well. If you take the necessary steps to maintain it, you will face less hassle cleaning.
There are a lot of things you can do to extend the lifespan of your plate:
1. Always Keep an Eye
Keeping an eye for early signs of oxidation and damage is a good idea. So, you need to be aware of where you are going and also the weather. As we mentioned already, prolonged sun exposure isn’t that good for your diamond plate as well.
If you see something that needs to be taken care of, do it immediately. Don’t wait till the last minute.
2. Keeping the plate Dry Will Do Wonders
Keeping your plate dry will help its lifespan. Water can be very damaging to diamond aluminum plates. Although it can easily handle moisture and water, leaving those on is not wise.
This can create water spots and etchings. Whenever your diamond plate comes in contact with water, dry it out. Do this immediately, even if it’s just a little sprinkle.
3. When Not in Use Keep It Somewhere Safe
When you aren’t using the plate or anything that’s made from aluminum plates, always keep it safe. Indoors, away from direct sunlight, is the best option. But, of course, that isn’t always possible. Do your best here.
4. Wax, Wax, and Wax
Don’t forget to wax after cleaning the plate. This will give it a protective top layer and help prevent oxidation and becoming dirty somewhat.
5. Don’t Be Too Rough When Cleaning
You shouldn’t be too rough on the plate when you’re cleaning it. It’s a diamond plate. Not something to take out your anger on. Be gentle and avoid harsh chemicals. Buy and use purpose-made cleaners
How long does it take for cleanup?
It shouldn’t take you that long. If you have the proper tools, an afternoon should be enough. The time also depends on how large of a surface you’re cleaning.
Do I need to hire a professional to clean my aluminum diamond plate?
If you follow the steps we mentioned, there really is no need. You can save the extra money and spend it on something else. The process isn’t that difficult, and with experience, it’ll get easier.
Does vinegar help clean an oxidized aluminum diamond plate?
Yes, it does. You can soak a clean cloth in vinegar and use it. This works well for huge surfaces. Other purpose-made cleaning substances work just as fine.
How often should I clean my aluminum diamond plate?
Set a time for regular maintenance. Make sure to clean when you see debris and oxidization. But more importantly, preventive measures like waxing are important. Also, don’t forget to keep the plate dry. That’s rule number 1.
Now you should know how to clean oxidized aluminum diamond plate. But remember, cleaning is just one step. Taking the right preventive and maintenance steps is also important.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, grab your gear and get cleaning. You’ll get the shine and finish back in no time with our guide.
Thomas is a retired motor mechanic, father, and grandfather. He writes from his 20+ years in the automotive industry to help you find and solve anything related to car repairs, maintenance, and care.