The purpose of this article is to inform, educate and raise awareness on a topic that is so widely sought after, Acid washing. So be informed, be educated and raise awareness. Feel free to leave me your comments, questions, concerns and I will gladly answer them in any way I can. Brands and names of products will not be released.
Have you ever wondered why your trailers metal starts pitting, looking rough? Have you ever run your fingers over your paint and you have white chalky residue on them? Or how about the visual of your paint actually running, ruining your decals and thinning to where you see silver metal? Then this article is for you. These are some of the questions I had when I was forming my company, so I researched and researched on the effects of acid washing online, in forums, MSDS sheets, the CDC, acid wash manufacturing companies, trailer manufacturers, metal manufacturers, the list goes on and on. What I found, is that the information on this topic is lacking, unless you really (I mean really) look for it, and when you find the answers to your questions, it only raises more questions. One article in particular that I found very interesting stated, that if you don't properly clean and maintain your trailer to the manufacturers standards, then it can void the manufacturers warranty. Well, if you do what the manufacturer tells you for cleaning and maintenance, which, through my research of what I've been told, is to acid wash it annually, which is creating the cycle that over time, it will void your warranty and eventually may have to be replaced due to deteriorating materials. This is the grey area, the things they don't want to tell you, the lesser amount of information they put out there, will only keep them in business.
Let's dive into the "Why"..
The "why".....Why is my trailer dull, why is my paint running and ruining my decals, why is the metal pitting, why is my $30,000 investment that I worked so hard for, deteriorating? The answer: Harsh, Abrasive, Toxic acids and chemicals that are slowly eating away the metals, oxides and finishes. ALL acid wash products, include acid. The more commonly used acids include hydrofluoric acid, phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, muriatic acid and nitric acid. Here in this article, we are going to dive into some facts on hydrofluoric acid, phosphoric acid and sulfuric acid, all of which are common additives to the acid wash products that are being used over and over on your investments.
BUT before we dive in here's a crash course on the pH scale...
#1 Hydrofluoric Acid - pH Level 3.17 (Red side of scale)
#2 Phosphoric Acid - pH Level 2.26 (Red side of scale)
#3 Sulfuric Acid - pH Level 2.75 (Red side of scale)
I'm using this on my trailer? I'm putting my horses in this trailer!
The facts based on the pH acidity levels, hazards and effects on the human body, the toxic fumes being released into the atmosphere, the acid wash being rinsed off, draining into the grass and soils, and the incompatibilities and reactions with metals and oxides are just a few things to consider when you go to acid wash your trailer. Based on these things to consider, I conducted a study and researched common acid wash products and aluminum brightener products. This is what I discovered:
Wait, it gets better...
So having the questions in mind of why my trailer is pitting at only 6 years old, my paint is starting to run, destroying my decals, and I can see the bare metal showing through the paint runs, so bad to where it looks like I need a new paint job, I decided to dig a little deeper and researched ALOT of the most commonly used/best seller products by referring to the MSDS sheets. These aluminum brighteners and acid wash products MSDS sheets specifically state, "Materials to avoid: aluminum, magnesium and other reactive metals, leather, oxidizing agents, alkali/bases, chlorate, nitrates, sulfides and sulfites." So the aluminum brighteners and acid wash products that are full of toxic and abrasive acids, are also incompatible with aluminum. So go figure, your trailer is pitting? Your paint is running? No wonder.
So how do we fix this?
Right now I'm sure you have the same thoughts that I did when I was finished with my research...
I'll leave this with you.