Go-to guide on zinc
Cleaning of RHEINZINK
RHEINZINK surfaces are low to no maintenance when exposed to normal weather and atmospheric conditions. However, it may be desirable to clean RHEINZINK surfaces for aesthetic reasons or to mitigate substances on the surface.
For light dirt and changes in color caused by dust contamination or bird droppings, surfaces can be cleaned with any non-acid based products such as Ivory or Dove soap, with clean, clear water, using, for example a soft sponge. Wash from top to bottom and rinse thoroughly. Oily dirt (remnants from the cutting process) can be removed with a clean, white, lint-free, cotton cloth lightly moistened with the products cited above.
Adhesive Residue and Smudge Removal
To remove adhesive residues, apply a small amount of Citronex or Sika® Remover-208 to a soft clean, white, lint-free, cotton cloth. Apply light pressure and rub in the direction of the grain. Remove excess solution with a clean, soft cloth. Never use large quantities and avoid spraying anything directly to the surface.
If the surface is extremely dirty, stainless steel wire wool may be used. However, if this method is chosen, the pre-weathering will be removed. If the application is interior, the patina (pre-weathering) will not return, due to the natural outdoor patina process. Clean and submit a sample panel for client approval prior to proceeding.
The Surface After Cleaning
If the prePATINA blue-grey or graphite-grey surface is rubbed off during the cleaning process, the bright rolled material beneath will appear. If installed on the exterior, the bright rolled will heal itself by developing a patina after repeated wetting and drying cycles. Abrasive cleaning cannot be done without long-term damage to the surface appearance and should be avoided. If you have any questions, please contact your RHEINZINK Representative. As always, a small area should be tested to see if acceptable results are achieved using the methods noted above.
Cleaning of Adjacent Materials
It is common to use cleaning agents either for a ‘final cleaning’ prior to acceptance of a building site, or as part of regular building maintenance. These cleaning agents interfere with the natural patina process of RHEINZINK prePATINA surfaces which can result in irreversible visual blemishes. Covering RHEINZINK (ex. plastic tarp, canvas etc.) can be done to avoid direct contact of cleaning agents. If covered, it must be done where ventilation of the covered components is ensured. If this is not possible, ensure that the material covering the zinc is not damp and will not allow liquids to penetrate through to the zinc. Staining of material surfaces cannot be prevented and can be caused e.g. by installation, external effects or environmental influences. RHEINZINK prePATINA blue-grey and prePATINA graphite-grey alloys are natural materials with factory- induced patinas. Therefore, RHEINZINK cannot guarantee that the end result will replicate the original appearance even when the RHEINZINK cleaning recommendations are followed.
The cleaning success depends on the degree of staining and the fact for how long the surface has been affected. Generally the distinction between CLASSIC bright rolled and prePATINA blue-grey and prePATINA graphite-grey surfaces has to be made. PrePATINA blue-grey and prePATINA graphite-grey surfaces should not be treated with “hard objects“ like wire brushes or similar and/or acidic or alkaline cleaning agents to prevent damage to the surface. Abrasive treatment(s) leads to a bright rolled appearance of the surface and is not recommended, especially for façade applications.
RHEINZINK-Sweeper - available via a RHEINZINK distributor. Sweeper is suitable as a final step in the cleaning process. It is neither greasy nor sticky and can be used as a temporarily surface protection of the metal.
Directions for Sweeper: Do NOT apply Sweeper directly to the material. Apply Sweeper to a soft, lint-free cloth. Apply a thin layer of Sweeper, rubbing with moderate pressure parallel to the material’s grain. Change cloth as needed.
Cleaning of PROTECT, artCOLOR and INTERIEUR
PROTECT, artCOLOR and INTERIEUR are coated surfaces and should not be treated with abrasive tools and brushes or acidic/alkaline cleaning agents. If used, these method mentioned can remove the coating. A small area should be tested to see if acceptable results are achieved using the methods noted on the “Cleaning Overview Table”, following this page.