Sheet metal can rust or oxidize while being stored or while in use, so an acid wash can be an effective treatment in many cases. While the nature, thickness and location of the metal will dictate whether or not an acid wash is a suitable treatment, here is a step by step guide on how to acid wash sheet metal.
Step 1 - Find a Wash
If you know the structure of the metal that you want to clean, you will need to check with local hardware stores or local smiths to see if there is an acid wash produced for it. It is very important that you do not use the wrong wash. An acid wash designed for use on stainless steel will probably be far too strong to be used on copper or aluminum.
Step 2 – Wear Protective Clothing
When using an acid wash it is very important that you wear the appropriate protective clothing. This includes goggles and gloves as a minimum. Some washes cannot be put into the drainage system so you must make preparations for the collection and disposal of wash contaminated liquid.
Step 3 – Applying the Wash
In most cases an acid wash is used in the same way. It is applied by brush or sprayer and allowed to remain in contact with the metal sheet for a specific time.
Step 4 – Rinsing the Sheet Metal
After acid washing the sheet metal, rinse the metal with water. There will be detailed instructions with any commercial acid wash so make sure to follow them carefully for any additional rinsing steps or techniques.