Outdoor Sign Maintenance

Outdoor Sign Maintenance & Cleaning Guide

Maintaining your business or facility's grounds and keeping them neat, clean and attractive to all is key to attracting new business. One area contributing to your overall appearance and appeal is outdoor sign maintenance, which can easily fall by the wayside in your long list of priorities.

Custom outdoor signage is the "face" of your property – people tend to notice it before anything else. Because outdoor signs are continuously exposed to the elements and passersby who may want to express their "artistic abilities," you must be cleaning signage regularly to keep it in top condition. With proper maintenance and cleaning, your company's outdoor signage should last quite a long time.

Sign Maintenance Is a Quarterly Endeavor

To keep your outdoor signage looking professional and at its best year-round, you'll ideally want to clean signs and provide routine sign maintenance every quarter. Have your maintenance staff put together a small touch-up and maintenance kit to ensure they always have the right tools for the job. We recommend your outdoor sign maintenance kit include:

  • A spray bottle with warm soapy water.
  • A can of compressed air.
  • A soft bristle brush.
  • A lint-free rag.
  • A list of your property's outdoor signage and a map of their locations.

Outdoor Sign Maintenance for HDPE Signs

While High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a recyclable plastic capable of withstanding the elements, you'll still need to perform some upkeep to maintain its beauty. HDPE outdoor signage will never need to be repainted or restained, will not rot or splinter and comes with an added UV protective agent to resist fading. Additionally, HDPE is not affected by most corrosive substances and will not promote bacterial growth, so you'll never have to disinfect signs that people may touch regularly.

When cleaning signs made from HDPE, the only thing you'll need is soap and water. Use non-abrasive cleaners and a soft bristle brush for the best results.

While most colors only need to be cleaned several times per year, lighter colors like white can benefit from frequent wipe-downs. HDPE is some of the only outdoor signage that can handle a pressure washer, but we still recommend against using one just to be safe. Always remember that a delicate touch goes a long way when cleaning signs. The pressure from a pressure washer can tear into the material if you're closer than 8"-12" from the sign.

Tips for Cleaning Routed HDPE Outdoor Signage

Routed HDPE outdoor signage is notoriously difficult to clean thanks to its small, indented grooves. While the routed effect brings a professional and detailed look, it can become clogged with dirt and grime if you don't clean your signs regularly.

The best way to clean signage that has routing is with compressed air (duster) and a soft bristle brush. All you need to do is gently spray the dirt and debris away from the tiny routed areas and use the brush to dislodge any remaining dirt. As always, we highly recommend against using a pressure washer, as it can easily cause the paint to chip away and may damage the sign.

Sign Maintenance for HPL Outdoor Signage

From innovative patterns to realistic woodgrains and more, High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) outdoor signage offers the latest designs and finishes perfect for your property.

When cleaning signs made from HPL, use a damp cloth or sponge together with a mild soap, non-bleach detergent or general-purpose cleaner for the best results. You should never use abrasive cleaners or powders, or metal or abrasive-coated scouring pads on HPL, as they may permanently scratch and dull the laminate and make it more susceptible to staining.

In cases of graffiti or vandalism from pencil marks and ink, you'll want to try to clean it off sooner rather than later to decrease the risk of the marks becoming permanent. If necessary, you can use full-strength detergent or a glass spray cleaner when cleaning signs that have been vandalized.

How to Clean Signs Made From Aluminum

Aluminum outdoor signage is attractive, durable and long-lasting — and will forever be an engaging way to draw attention to your property, business or facility. Aluminum signs stand up to the elements and may not need as much outdoor sign maintenance as other signs. However, regular cleaning is still recommended for a bright and shiny surface that catches the eye.

The number one way to make an aluminum sign last is to clean it with slightly soapy water and a soft cotton cloth. If you use anything stronger to clean signs made from aluminum, you can quickly erode the materials and damage the sign.

Cleaning Up Sign Damage Caused by Graffiti Vandalism

When it comes to cleaning signage that has been graffiti vandalized with spray paint or marking pens, you’ll want to ensure you get to it as soon as possible. Exposure to sun and heat will make it harder to remove, so keep checking your signs regularly.

Any business, property or facility knows that vandalism is a common occurrence when it comes to all kinds of outdoor signage. Cleaning signage that has been vandalized is just another part of the job. Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks you can follow to clean signs so you don't need to replace them.

If vandalism occurs, you can use commercially available graffiti removal products specifically for painted surfaces. These cleaners remove most forms of graffiti without damaging your outdoor signage. You can lightly spray the cleaner onto the sign, wipe it gently with a clean cloth and rinse it with water for immediate results. Be careful not to rub too hard when cleaning signage to avoid damaging the sign further.

Additionally, it's essential to know that you should never use:

  • Methylated Spirits, Solvents or Acids
  • Detergents With Abrasives
  • Coarse Cloths or Cleaning Brushes
  • Powerful Steam or High-Pressure Washers
  • Dry Cloth or Paper Towels

Outdoor Sign Maintenance Solutions For Commercial Business Signs From Bright Idea Shops

When it comes to outdoor signage, it's the little details that make the beauty of a property shine through. With a complete outdoor sign maintenance routine, your signs will remain in top condition and continue to attract new business for years to come.

If you haven't been cleaning your signs and want to start over fresh, Bright Idea Shops can help. With a wide selection of custom outdoor signs made from HDPE, HPL, aluminum and more, we can give your business or facility the look you want for a price you can't beat.

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