An image of an airplane in a hangar.

How To Wash Your Airplane

There is so much that goes into owning an airplane. From maintenance to inspections to upgrading parts, it can seem like you never get a break. We get it, and we also get how important all of these different tasks are. That’s why we’re back with another blog that will hopefully provide you with some helpful information regarding taking care of your aircraft.

Today, we’re focusing on a topic that’s relatively simple, but astronomically important — cleaning your aircraft. Keep reading for a helpful guide revolving around aircraft cleaning. 

Before You Start Cleaning Your Aircraft

Before you get to the actual cleaning of your aircraft, you need to practice due diligence to ensure that you won’t harm your airplane as you try to help it. These steps are simple, but they truly will make all of the difference when it comes to the longevity of your aircraft. 

For starters, take any accessories off of your hands or wrists that could scratch or damage the aircraft in any way. If you’re wearing rings, bracelets, or other jewelry as you clean your plane, chances are you’ll end up leaving scratches all over the exterior of your vehicle. We recommend removing all jewelry, as you’ll be better off safe than sorry. 

While you’re at it, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before starting on your plane. Again, you don’t want to adversely affect your cleaning efforts by having grimey hands that leave your plane dirtier than it was in the first place. 

Finally, you want to make sure you cover areas that are vulnerable to water. Areas like your static port or your pilot tube should most definitely be protected from water, and we’d even recommend flagging areas you’re trying to protect from water so you can be that much more careful when cleaning your aircraft. Please note that it’s vitally important to remove any protective coverings from your aircraft post-cleaning and prior to any flight. If you leave these components of your plane covered, it could prove disastrous after take off. 

Assemble Your Cleaning Supplies

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Clean Towels
  • Degreaser (Aluminum-Safe)
  • Paint Sealant Or Wax For Your Aircraft
  • Plexiglass Cleaning Solution

Start Cleaning Your Aircraft

Now that we’re prepared, let’s get to cleaning the aircraft! Start with the body of your plane. Create a plan of attack that allows you to focus individual sections of the aircraft at a time. Once you’re starting on a section, run some water over the area. Then, take your hand (yes, your hand) and run it over the surface with water. Doing this will help you identify how much debris has built up on your plane. While this may seem counter intuitive — especially with the plethora of cleaning tools, scrubbing pads, and more — your hand is the most effective tool at your disposal.

The truth of the matter is this, while those fancy cleaning tools may seem like your best bet, they could actually damage the exterior of your aircraft. With a scraper or scrub pad, for instance, there is a likely possibility that you will either drive the debris you’re attempting to remove further into the exterior of your plane, or that you’ll scratch the exterior while dragging the cleaning tool over the aircraft. With your hand, you can locate a piece of debris, and then use water and your hand to dislodge the debris. Work on dislodging debris from your aircraft and rinsing your plane. 

Once the plane is thoroughly rinsed, it’s time to wash! Ready some warm, soapy water and your towel. Now, use this soapy towel to wash the outside of your plane. This is where the plexiglass cleaner comes in, too! Also spend time using your plexiglass cleaner to clean your plexiglass. If your glass is particularly dirty, you can soak it in the solution before washing it. After your plane is thoroughly washed, rinse the soap off of it and move on! 

If you’re still dealing with some troublesome grime spots, don’t worry! This next step deals with those. Simply use your degreaser on those hard-to-clean spots, and you’re good to go! Just remember, if you’re working hard to remove grime, don’t scrub too hard as you could damage your paint.

Once your aircraft is thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to wax! Simply use your wax in accordance with it’s instructions, and cover your plane! This will keep it cleaner, longer. 

Now, your plane is clean! Once you remove any tape or other materials covering sensitive components of your aircraft, you’re ready to fly! Just please remember to remove these materials, we can’t stress enough how disastrous it can be if vital components are covered during flight.  

Is Aircraft Maintenance Becoming Too Much?

Taking care of an aircraft requires a lot. And while once a pilot, always a pilot, we understand if owning your own aircraft has become too much. Maybe you can’t afford all of the costs associated with owning a plane or maybe you just don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves. Either way, consider contacting your friends at We Buy Ugly Airplanes. We’ll buy your airplane from you, no matter its condition. Maybe it’s in mint-condition, but you just don’t have the time — we’ll buy it! Or maybe it’s just a shell of your old plane — we’ll buy that too! 

Visit this link to get started with us!