How to Clean Aluminium and Steel Ute Trays

26 Mar

If you’ve attempted to search for ‘how do you clean an aluminium ute tray’ on Google then you’d know there isn’t much out there.

It’s probably why you’re now reading this. But this will be the only guide you need to help keep your stainless steel and aluminium ute tray clean and looking in tip top shape.

To be straight-up, cleaning and maintaining your ute tray isn’t rocket science and most would get away with giving it a quick hose down.

That is if you work in a trade that’s relatively clean. Afterall a sparky isn’t about to go and load up their ute or van with concrete, sand or any other material found on a construction site.

However, that’s not to disregard your weekend activities such as fishing, getting bogged at the beach and smashing through WA’s dustiest and muddiest off-road tracks

This is a simple guide to cleaning and maintaining your steel or aluminium ute tray, that’s it.


Give it a good wash

Most sturdy and professionally made steel and aluminium trays come with a protective powder coat (if it doesn’t you’ve got a dud). 

  1. Get your hose and give it a good hosing making sure to remove any dirt and debris caught around the edges. 
  2. Using a clean sponge and the two-bucket method — one water, one diluted detergent & water — wipe down surfaces to remove any stains, salt deposits, grime and dirt build up. If you have a tonneau cover you can clean it the same way.
  3. Give it another hose down and bob’s ya uncle.


For tougher stains

If you’re in the construction and civil biz or any other industry that requires you to lug around worksite materials like concrete or grease, which can be difficult to remove if left hardened you’ll need to act faster. After heavy use — 

  1. Get a pressure hose and blast away any sediment as fast as possible to prevent it from hardening.
  2. Use some Septone Ali Brite Aluminium cleaner (can be used with stainless steel trays) to remove grime, grease and tougher stains. This will give your tray that shiny new mirror-like look.
    Don’t worry it’s a weaker acid and will not harm your beaut, it’s also better for the environment. However, we still recommend speaking to your store rep as some acid wash products can damage aluminium products.
  3. Use an engine cleaner to remove dust and dirt build up that you could not remove for tonneau covers and well bodies.


Care and maintenance

  • Mild detergents diluted with water work best to not only clean aluminium trays but adds to its lifespan.
  • WD-40 on a rag can help get rid of grease stains on steel ute trays

Products to avoid

  • For aluminium trays — stay away from any harsh chemical cleaners, often known as ‘acid wash’ as this can cause oxidation and develop a dull, yellowish layer that needs to be cleaned regularly . (if in doubt, always speak to your store rep)


  • Steel or wire sponges will do nothing for you except scratch and stripe away paint, protective coatings and damage your tray. It’s a no-brainer.


Products to consider

  • Autoglym is a highly rated cleaning product which can be found at your local Super Cheap Auto. This product replaces the need for mild detergents when cleaning.
  • Septone Ali Brite Aluminium as mentioned above is for tougher stains and can also be found at any Super Cheap Auto store for around 20bucks.
  • WD-40 can be used to get rid of grease on steel trays and can be found at Bunnings for around $8.


Has your tray seen better days?

There comes a point in time when your ute tray is at the end of its life. It’s starting to corrode, has become a yellowish colour and riddled with dents, scratches and what not then it’s time to consider either getting it reconditioned or a new one altogether.

Here at Perth 4WD, we ensure a quick and professional reconditioning of all steel trays with exceptional results. Reconditioning, supplying and fitting 4×4 steel ute trays and well bodies is our bread and butter. 

We take great pride in being able to provide the full-time tradie, part-time weekend warrior with a sturdy, highly durable and long-lasting tray that’s built to withstand the toughest environments, be it construction sites or off-roading. Click here to get in contact.