The Right Season
Signs should be cleaned at the very least, twice a year. Ideally, spring and autumn. This is when signs are affected by salt water, busy street dust and mildew. Letting dust, mildew and salt deposits remain on signs for a long time will result in permanent damage. Unlike glass that can be resurfaced, damage to signs is often irreversible or very expensive to fix. In winter rain can wash contaminants from surrounding walls onto the sign and can cause additional dirt and stains. We therefore recommend having your signs professionally cleaned around November.
The Right Method
There are several different types of sign cleaning methods and many various elevated platforms and reach systems for cleaning signs. Some techniques such as pressure cleaning can cause irreversible damage. Handle with care!
The Right Time
In accordance with the good old adage, “There is a time for everything, a time to grow and a time to reap”, there is also a good time for sign cleaning. It is best not to clean signs on harsh hot days or during a storm or rainy weather. Choose a cool, cloudier day.
Four Types of Sign Cleaning Services
Regardless of the method used, sign cleaning should be carried out regularly. Professional sign cleaners offer three different types of services.
1) Regular sign cleaning is performed during regular time intervals however; it doesn’t necessarily stick to a specific schedule.
2) Routine sign cleaning happens within predestined time-gaps. And, it is extremely important for proper building maintenance. During normal conditions, routine sign cleaning is done on a three monthly basis. Routine periodic care will prevent too-much dust and grime build-up and as a result will increase the overall lifetime on your signs and will keep them looking spick and span.
3) Remodel sign cleaning is a specialized service used to remove silicone, residual paint, cement, and other hard-to-remove deposits – High skill-set required.
4) Internal sign cleaning is a more specialized field and could more correctly be coined ‘sign maintenance’. This involves opening the sign, cleaning the interior with specialize micro fiber pads, replacing globes, re-taping wires, and more.
Types of Sign Cleaning
1. The Squeegee Method
An older tried and tested method used by professional sign cleaners is the ‘Squeegee’ technique. This method can still be effectively used on flat signs at reasonably low heights from the ground or from a work platform. During this method, detergent is applied on to the sign surface and wiped using a fine-tuned squeegee blade. With the right techniques and tools, you will be able to achieve streak free results. Unfortunately, the squeegee method is limited by many factors. The procedure expects direct application and contact with the sign surface. And, this increases the risks of the sign being scratched.
Another powerful tried and tested technique used to clean signs of various shapes and sizes would be De-ionized water. When compared against the humble squeegee, De-ionized water-fed cleaning is truly effective and efficient. It is an interesting process that uses membranes to remove dissolved minerals from the water leaving the sign spot-free. The method is extremely useful for hard-to-reach signs and can be very cost effective.
- Rinse the molded letters with lukewarm water DO NOT USE – Detergents, Soap based
Products or Ammonia based cleaning agents
- Employ a soft micro-fiber cloth and lightly wipe away the debris or use specialized sign cleaning tools.
- DO NOT scrub with abrasive scourers or brushes not specifically design for sign cleaning.
- Rinse with 100% pure lukewarm water.
- If using soft/hard water; dry with a gentle clean cloth to prevent spotting.
- DO NOT USE chemical rinse aids or anti spotting ﬂuids.
- Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight where possible.
- Repeat this process for each of the signs.
- Ensure that the ambient temperature and water temperature is no more than 10⁰C apart. This is to minimize the potential thermal shock to the molded letters.
- DO NOT attempt cleaning if the wind-chill temperature is 0⁰C or less.
- Remove the securing screws
- Remove the front face of the sign
- Check connectors for tightness
- Clean base plate and inner front face with a dry, lint free, dust cloth
- Switch sign on and check for even illumination
- Replace the front face of the sign
- Replace the securing screws
- Cover stainless screws with matching translucent vinyl