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Metal Cleaning Tips

One of the most common types of materials we run across in the patios, yards, and balconies of Los Angeles is metal. Metal is commonly used in patio furniture, lights, fences, gates, window frames, and mailboxes. Caring for and cleaning each different type of metal is something we've put several thousand hours of R&D into, and we wanna share some of our learning with you.

Grill Masters! Our blog post How Proper Grill Cleaning Can Make You The Life Of The Party, may be right up your alley!

Step 1 - Identify your metal!

Identifying the type of metal surface being cleaned is paramount. Methods that work wonders cleaning, for example, bird droppings from an iron sconce, would really mess up your stainless steel grill. Know your products and tools!

Here are some metals we clean in the typical Los Angeles patio

Stainless Steel

This shiny metal is very popular in the home and in the garden. Stainless Steel is usually brushed with a pattern and polished smooth. We typically see stainless steel in grills, cabinets, railings, lights and general accents around the patio and home.

Iron and Steel

Typically black-painted for home applications, the paint as well as the underlying steel can chip and rust, and this type of metal tends to oxidize, with a white haze developing on the black paint. We typically see wrought iron in railings, fences, gates, and lighting fixtures (especially vintage and antiques.)


Prized for its strength and lightness, sometimes it gets coated either through anodization (inorganic) or powder coating (organic) which gives a uniform, finished appearance. We see aluminum in patio furniture, sliding windows and doors, siding, gutters, and trim. Aluminum is the most prevalent metal we come across. and also requires the most special attention to prevent white haze, aka oxidization, especially near the ocean.

Sparkleyard's Tips for Cleaning Metal

- Safety First! Always wear gloves and eye protection.

- Clean and then polish stainless steel in separate passes, and always go with the grain! Vinegar and water, followed by oil, can look great without polluting. Typically handles indicate which way the metal grain is, but always double check to be sure.

- A wet pass and a dry pass is integral so as to not leave lint and water streaks, especially with shiny painted metals like iron and steel, as well as aluminum. Pooling water on horizontal flat surfaces can prematurely oxidize the metal.

- Melamine sponges work great for yellow bug spots on railings.

- If iron is rusting be careful around it, sharp slivers and can deteriorate and break off.

Over the years Sparkleyard has learned a lot about the care and feeding of metal in the garden. Whether you live by the ocean and deal with salt, or you want your stainless steel refrigerator to look brand new, Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids can save you time so you can:

Relax, enjoy your yard!

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