Cleaning Aluminum with Alconox

Q. Which Alconox cleaners can be used on Aluminum?

A. The Alconox brand cleaners recommended for cleaning aluminum are Alconox, Liquinox, Tergazyme, Alcojet, Alcotabs, Detojet, Citranox, Luminox, Citrajet, Solujet and Tergajet. Detergent 8 is not recommended for cleaning aluminum.

Aluminum forms a natural passive layer in air that allows it to be successfully cleaned without adverse reactions with cleaner. A passive layer forms in under an hour, provided there is no oily film present. Once the passive layer is formed, the recommended Alconox brand cleaners can be used to clean the aluminum at concentrations of less than 5% at 90 deg C or less for up to one hour.

All the recommended high pH cleaners: Alcojet, Detojet, Solujet and Tergajet contain silicate corrosion inhibitors to protect the aluminum during high pH cleaning. Cleaning aluminum with a high pH cleaner above about pH 10 without a corrosion inhibitor would result in dark aluminum oxide corrosion. The protection conferred by the silicate corrosion inhibitor is a blocking of any active sites on the aluminum. These Alumino-silicates do not leave a filmy residue on the surface, whereas other types of corrosion inhibitors such as filming amines do leave behind a filmy residue. These spot alumino-silicates do not particularly change the appearance, electrical, mechanical or bonding properties of the aluminum.

In the case where the aluminum did not form a passive layer, the aluminum can be attacked by cleaners. If that is the case, then it would be safest to use an acid cleaner such as Citranox or Citrajet; or a light duty neutral cleaner such as Luminox to clean the aluminum.

For more information about any one of our Alconox Cleaners, consult the specific technical bulletin for each product HERE. Or click here to access each of our detergent’s Material Data Safety Sheets. You can also request a free sample by completing the questionnaire at Get Sample.