Exterior Aircraft Cleaning

Exterior aircraft cleaning – or aircraft exterior detailing – refers to the process of cleaning an aircraft’s exterior fuselage surface.  Professional cleaning and detailing will deliver an exceptional standard of cleaning to all exterior surfaces, peristaltic drag is reduced resulting in improved fuel economy and reduced fuel burn saving thousands of pounds each year.

Exterior aircraft cleaning is done using different methods to interior aircraft cleaning.

What Does Exterior Aircraft Cleaning Cover?

Cleaning the exterior of an aircraft includes:

  • Removing dirt and dust
  • Removing faded oxidised paint
  • Removing debris, bugs and insects
  • Cleaning oil stains
  • Cleaning exhaust streaks
  • Restoring the clean shine of paintwork and all other exterior components

Aircraft Unpainted Surfaces

Brightwork refers to the external aircraft areas that are unpainted. These parts require polishing to maintain appearance and reduce corrosion. A particular buffer and non-abrasive cleaning and polishing formulas should be used for this type of cleaning and polishing. When this is in process, painted areas should be covered to prevent damage.

Unpainted aluminium must be polished using only approved products, and these areas include the edges of the wings, stabilisers, cockpit window frames and engine inlets.

Cleaning Techniques


This can be carried out by hand or using polishing machines. It is essential to ensure other areas are not damaged when polishing is carried out.

Wet Washing

Wet washing the exterior of an aircraft is a highly effective way of removing grease, oil, soil and carbon deposits. Cleaning solutions are used to coat the exterior surfaces, and a high water pressure wash is carried out to rinse the aircraft. This technique involves the use of emulsion or alkaline cleaning products.

Dry Washing

Dry washing the exterior of an aircraft removes airport dust, film and small build-ups of soil and dirt. This technique is often used in situations when liquids are not suitable. Dry washing will not be effective when it comes to removing large carbon deposits, oil or grease, particularly in the engine exhaust area. Mops, cloths and sprays apply dry wash materials, and they are removed using a dry cloth or mop.

Bacoban for aerospace offers a premium range of cleaning tools and products to enable exceptional aircraft cleans. These include sprays, wipes and cleaning formulas. Consult an aircraft cleaning solutions specialist for more information.

All aircraft cleaning must meet regulations and standards that are set and reviewed by the airline or airframe manufacturer.
Contact Frasers Aerospace for exterior aircraft cleaning solutions on 020 8597 8781.

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