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Twilight photo of a beautiful home with a pool and gardens close to the windows.
Image by Oswald Homes

Aluminium window and door frames are well known for being strong, reliable and corrosion-resistant.

And it’s true – aluminium is more resistant than most metals when it comes to corrosion, but if not cleaned and maintained regularly there is still a risk of rust.

Research on aluminium corrosion conducted by both Curtin and Monash universities shows that corrosion has nothing to do with the quality of the aluminium or installation, but the environment it sits in.

The studies showed that chloride salts can accumulate in the crevices between both the dirt deposits along the frames and the space between the brickwork and aluminium, which, when combined with moisture, can cause corrosion.

These crevices can be hard for oxygen to reach, increasing the risk of chloride corrosion as the aluminium cannot form its natural protective layer. The spaces stay wet for longer, furthering the effects of corrosion the longer they are left alone.

The good news is, there is a way to prevent this from happening!

Close-up of an aluminium window frame where it sits on the brick windowsill. It hasn't been properly cleaned or maintained and has corroded as a result.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your windows is required to limit the risk of corrosion

By regularly cleaning your aluminium door and window frames, you not only maintain their appearance,  but also increase their functional life by helping to prevent corrosion. It’s also important to try and limit any water from your pool or sprinkler system getting into the space between your frames and the bricks.

How to minimise the risk of aluminium corrosion:

A step-by-step guide on how to clean your aluminium frames safely and effectively

  1. Remove your watch, jewellery and other valuable items. Put on some gloves  just to be safe.
  2. Use clean, warm, soapy water to wash your window and door frames, and rinse off any soap residue using the fine spray setting on your hose. Jason Windows recommend you only use commercial cleaners or solvents on extremely stubborn marks or residue. Harsh chemicals can potentially have an impact on the finish of your frame.
  3. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth for both washing and drying. This is because the use of mesh or other abrasive material can scratch the metal.
  4. Make sure to clear all dirt and residue out of the tracks and sills. Dirt in the sills can potentially cause damage to rollers, drop bolts and guides. Clean your sills by spraying the warm soapy water and wiping them down. Use a pointed object such as a screwdriver to ensure you reach the bottom of the tracks.
  5. Ensure that weep holes are also kept clear for proper drainage and leakage prevention.
  6. Spray a touch of silicone spray to finish.
Close-up of a window being rinsed with a hose on the fine spray setting.

Only ever use the fine spray setting on your hose

How often should I do a preventative clean?

How often you clean your frames should depend on your environment. For example, most residential areas require a clean every six months. However, if you live in coastal areas or have frames in close proximity to a swimming pool, you should be cleaning your frames every three months.

Beautiful view of the Swan River from a luxury home, as viewed through large floor to ceiling fixed windows.

Homes near the coast, river, or other waterways will need more frequent cleaning, as will homes with pools or sprinklers near window or door frames. Image by Hillam Architects.

What if I already have aluminium corrosion?

If you have aluminium doors or windows that show signs of corrosion, our DIY guide will show you how to treat existing aluminium corrosion using some simple tools and materials.

Follow the step-by-step guide in the video below:

Service technician drilling out corrosion on aluminium window frames

Learn how to treat the build up of corrosion with this easy-to-follow DIY guide DIY Corrosion Treatment for Aluminium Windows

The Importance of Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regularly maintaining your aluminium frames will help to prevent corrosion while also extending the functional life of your windows and doors.

To find out more about maintaining your aluminium frames and hardware, check out our Maintenance Guide.