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How are the outsides of planes cleaned?

How are the outsides of planes cleaned?
Dave Willis, Fareham, U.K.

Air Canada does not have a dedicated outdoor cleaning facility due to climate constraints – aircraft can’t be washed when outdoor temperatures are below 4°C. So every 18 to 24 months, during heavy maintenance checks, or when an aircraft is deemed in need of a wash, it’s pulled into the hangar and washed from nose to tail. Soap and degreaser are applied using sponges and soft-bristled brushes, while pressurized water hoses are used to thoroughly rinse the aircraft. 

Doug Morris is an Air Canada pilot and captain on the Airbus A320. Got an aviation question? Send it to





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