How To Clean Address Plates & Plaques

Stylish address plates and plaques can make your home or business stand out from the others while providing a sophisticated and modern look. If you have invested in beautiful signage, learning the best way to clean your address plate or plaque is helpful and will add to the beauty and longevity.

Regardless of the finish of your address plate, it must be cleaned regularly and correctly to maintain their quality and elevate their appearance. Exterior custom decor is usually very durable. Purchasing an address plaque that is high quality, and keeping it clean will contribute to your reputation as a business owner or homeowner.

Following the proper maintenance instructions will ensure that you keep your address plaque looking its best, and that you won't do any inadvertent damage to the material or finish.

The cleaning process for address plates and similar signage is not complicated or time-consuming. It's simple to prepare a DIY cleaning solution in the comfort of your own home, with the right ingredients.

How to Clean Hand-Painted Address Plates


source: Modern House Numbers

How to Clean Address Plates & Plaques

Numbers, address plates, plaques, hand painted plates, and other modern contemporary signage of high quality are eye-catching in their design and finish. You must learn how to clean your modern signage, address plates and plaques to remove the dirt and dust that may make them dingy, worn out or damaged.

Consistent maintenance is crucial for preventing damage and keeping gunk and residue from building up. Naturally, minor scratches may appear on the surface due to harsh weather conditions or from normal wear and tear, but cleaning the typical build up of dirt and grime will keep your address looking good as new.

You will only need a few ingredients and supplies and simple cleaning techniques  to keep them looking as good as new to make a great first impression for guests and visitors.

Needed Supplies

You need to find the right supplies when learning how to clean hand-painted address plates to ensure the maintenance procedure goes smoothly. Since this process is fairly simple, you won’t need to purchase expensive cleaning agents, paint protection solutions or specific types of clothes. 

But are you wondering, “What materials should I use to clean a address plate or plaque?” Is it safe to use water on a hand-painted address plate? Take a look at our list of products we recommend for this purpose:

  • Mild Dish Soap - Utilize mild dish soap with water, in a bucket or spray bottle. The mild nature of the soap is important so as not to damage the surface or finish of your address plaque. The soap will break down any dirt, oil or grime that has built up on the surface. You only need a small amount of soap mixed with water, about a 10% soap to 90% water ratio regardless of the container you use.
  • Lint-free, soft cloth, and cotton tipped swabs - Soft cloths are necessary for wiping the surface of the plaque, and once rinsed, for drying the hand-painted address plates or metallic plaques. Lint-free cloths are best, so you can avoid the cloth leaving any lint behind on the clean surface. We suggest microfiber cloths for this purpose. Use cotton-tipped swabs during the cleaning process to help get into all the crevices and clean every part of the address plates. If your address plate or plaque has a visible grain, be sure to always wipe in the direction of the grain!
  • Water - You will need water to create your cleaning solution. You will need clean water to rinse the soap from the surface. Water from your hose or your sink will work well in both instances.

Needed supplies for cleaning address numbers and plaques

source: Modern House Numbers

Surface preparation and wiping

Now that you have gathered all the necessary supplies, it’s time to start preparing the hand-painted address plates for the cleaning process. Start by observing their surface and determine how dirty they are.

If they are very dusty or moldy, use a generous amount of the spray cleaner. Allow the cleaning agent to sit for a bit on the address plates to kill the bacteria, and keep the surface polished before you move on to the next step.

Then, take a soft cloth to wipe the surface clean. During wiping, ensure you don’t use a lot of force to avoid causing damage to the hand-painted address plates. Repeat the spraying and wiping process one more time if you think it’s necessary.

After that, rinse the address plates with water to remove any dirt or spray cleaner residue that might still be stuck on the surface. If you can still see mold or stubborn dust, use a soft brush to scrub them away. But don’t scrub too harshly to avoid the paint from peeling off.

Extra dirty hand-painted address plates may tempt you to use power-washing. However, this cleaning technique might be too harsh and abrasive. This is because the pressurized water stream may damage the texture and shape of the address plates with its powerful blast.

The drying stage

After cleaning and wiping, allow the hand-painted address plates to dry completely. If it is a rainy or humid day where you live, dry the address plates in an area that is free of any moisture or shield them with a protective cover.

This step is crucial to ensure the paint on the address plates is not disturbed or damaged by poor weather conditions, and dust doesn’t stick on its wet surface.

Additional Tips on Cleaning Hand-Painted Address Plates and Plaques

Exterior signage includes letters for your house or office, custom and hand-painted address plates, mailbox numbers, etc. Most of them are made from durable materials that can withstand the power of extreme sunlight, storms and difficult climates.

However, abrasiveness can damage their quality, and without proper care, they won’t last a long time. For this reason, when learning how to clean hand-painted address plates, consider the following tips for proper maintenance:

Clean address plaques regularly

We have already established that you don’t need fancy or costly cleaning products for cleaning your address plaque or hand painted address plate. But you may wonder, “How frequently should I clean my address numbers?” Maintenance should be done regularly, or at least four times a year. For urban centers, coastal or industrial locations, you should plan on cleaning more often.

The location of your address and hand-painted address plates may affect the maintenance frequency. If you live in an area with higher traffic or heavy pollution, you should plan to clean them more often. In coastal, industrial, and urban centers, dirt and dust builds up faster and can impact the look and finish of your address.

Avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions

If you are not planning to use a mild dish soap and water to clean your address plaques and plates, reading the labels on any cleaning solutions is crucial. Avoid harsh detergents, methylated spirits, solvents, acids, and high-power washers.

Also, the types of cloths, rags and towels you use for this purpose are very important. Don’t wipe your hand-painted address plates with abrasive rags, paper towels, harsh brushes, clothes, or dirty cloths or sponges.

The use of abrasive cleaning solutions or cleaning rags can cause damage to the surface and finish. This could include anything from creating permanent scratching to causing the finish to chip, crack, peel or flake.

Opt for durable materials

Any material used to make address numbers, plaques, or hand-painted address plates can be negatively affected by exposure to sun or excessive moisture. When cleaning with water, you do want to ensure that the moisture doesn’t sit on your address plates very long. An array of issues can be caused by allowing water and cleaning products to build up or sit on the surface.

If you choose products made from durable materials with finishes that are intended to be exposed to the elements, the likelihood of water damaging the surface is greatly reduces.

The most durable address plates and plaques, including those from Modern House Numbers, are made from solid, recycled aluminum. Our company focuses on providing both quality and stylish products for our clients that hold up extremely well over time.

Durable address plates and plaques

source: Modern House Numbers


Now you know how to clean address plaques and hand-painted address plates with these easy to follow maintenance methods and tips. Ensure you keep your signage clean and well-maintained at all times to ensure they look great and will last for years to come.

If you need help choosing the best types of address plates and plaques for your house or office, we'd love to help! We have a wide selection of high-quality, handcrafted, customizable products to serve clients with different needs, requirements, and preferences.

Picture of the Author

rick mclain, author

Rick is a licensed architect at Repp McLain Design & Construction. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona and an MS from the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). When he’s not designing and fabricating he enjoys spending time with Brandy, Jack, Avery & Taylor and restoring his grandfather’s Ford pickup truck. Learn more about Rick on LinkedIn.

You can learn more about Rick on the Repp McLain Website, on LinkedIn, at the AIA Website, or on Facebook.

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