No Scratches, No Damage: How to Clean and Polish Aluminium

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Whether it’s pots and pans or outdoor furniture; everyone has some form of aluminium in their home. What makes it such a popular choice of metal? Well, for starters, it is a very durable material, and secondly, its lustrous appearance is like eye-candy to the average homeowner! Of course, with your beautiful, shiny aluminium comes the responsibility of keeping it that way!

In an indoor setting, aluminium is prone to dullness and stains while an outdoor environment tends to corrode the metal quicker than usual. Therefore, regular and proper cleaning of aluminium is imperative to maintain its glorious finish!

While it may seem like a simple task (and it is), one must use the right cleaning tools and products in order to clean aluminium without damaging or scratching the surface. In this guide, we are sharing all the information you need to clean different aluminium surfaces and get them gleaming without a hint of damage! Read on. 

Pots & Pans

The most common aluminium item(s) in a household comes in the form of pots and pans. Unfortunately, frequent use and improper cleaning of aluminium pots and pans causes blackening of the metal. Along with this, grease and certain types of ingredients can dull and discolour aluminium which requires a thorough, deep clean to restore it to its original lustre. Here’s a simple step-by-step process to clean aluminium pots and pans.

Step 1: Clean with Dish Soap & Water 

Before you start the deep cleaning process to remove blackness from aluminium pots and pans, clean the utensil as usual with dish soap and water. You needn’t be very thorough with this step; the goal is to remove food bits and some of the grease and oil from the surface (if present). The following steps will ensure that any remnants are taken care of.

Step 2: Heat the Cleaning Solution

Acidic cleaning solutions are suitable for removing grease and stains from aluminium utensils, while also helping to bring back their shine! In this guide, we are using a natural cleaning solution consisting of juice from one lemon, half a cup of vinegar, and enough water to fill up half (or more) of the utensil. Once the ingredients are in, place it on the stove and allow the water to boil for at least ten minutes. 

Step 3: Cool Down, Scrub and Rinse

Allow the pot and cleaning solution to cool down before using a non-abrasive scrubber to clean inside. Some amount of elbow grease is required to remove stubborn stains and really get your aluminium shining again! If the water gets too dirty, rinse the utensil out and continue cleaning with dish soap and a scrubber. The boiling process tackles stubborn stains while also loosening grime; hence, regular cleaning thereafter will suffice to thoroughly clean aluminium pots and pans. Finish off by rinsing and drying the utensil. 

Outdoor Furniture

Because aluminium is such a durable material, we often forget that prolonged exposure to changing weather conditions can actually damage the metal or, at the very least, ruin its shiny exterior. Unless cleaned regularly, getting back that lost shine may take quite a bit of elbow grease and more time than one would think. Nevertheless, if it has to be done, the steps below will rid your outdoor aluminium furniture of dirt and stains, and will spruce up your patio in a simple way!

Step 1: Wipe with a Damp Cloth

Dried up dirt and debris can be quite tricky to remove, particularly if the surface is covered with insect and/or bird droppings. Hence, the use of a damp rag is helpful in loosening up debris and removing that top layer of dirt from aluminium furniture. 

TIP: Soak the cloth/rag in warm water as heat helps to remove stuck-on debris.

Step 2: Clean with Dish Soap Solution

After the initial wipe-down, you will likely be left with a few stains here and there, as well as some hardened dirt and spots. To get rid of these unwanted marks, make a solution of liquid dish soap and warm water (add in a little vinegar for stubborn stains); dip a non-abrasive scrubbing pad in the mixture and begin cleaning your outdoor furniture.  

Step 3: Rinse Off and Wipe Dry

If there is no upholstery involved, simply hose down your aluminium furniture to remove the cleaner. Alternatively, you can pour mugs of water over the surface to rinse off the soapiness. After you’ve done this, be sure to wipe the furniture dry with a clean towel to avoid dirt and dust clinging to it, or water marks from forming.

Sinks

Kitchen and bathroom sinks are prone to all kinds of dirt and grime; so, when you have a nice, shiny aluminium one, the last thing you want is to leave it looking dull and disgusting! Thankfully, cleaning aluminium sinks only requires a few ingredients and is fairly easy. Follow the step-by-step process below.

Step 1: Quick Scrub Down with Dish Soap

For a very grimy sink, give it a quick scrub down using a sponge and regular dish soap to remove as much dirt as possible. Rinse the sink and wash the sponge thereafter. If your aluminium sink is mildly dirty, you can skip this step. 

Step 2: Scrub with Salt and Lemon

Pour some salt onto a plate, slice the lemon in half, and dip it into the salt to cover the whole (cut) side. Use this to scrub the sink clean until the juice of the lemon runs out or it becomes too dirty; continue with the other half if needed. Salt acts as an effective, yet safe, abrasive to clean aluminium, while the acidic content in lemon juice will help restore its lustre. For the drain, use an old toothbrush and dish detergent to scrub clean.

Step 3: Rinse and Wipe with Paper Towels

Rinse the sink out thoroughly; use a sponge while doing this so that any missed spots are wiped up. Post-rinse, it’s advisable to wipe your aluminium sink dry as it is prone to hard water stains when left to air dry. Use paper towels to dry up the surface and reveal a clean, shiny sink!

How to Polish Aluminium to a Mirror Finish?

There are a couple of ways to achieve a mirror-like finish when polishing aluminium including the simple use of a polishing product. However, we strongly advise against the use of chemicals when polishing aluminium pots and pans. As a safe, tried and true alternative, we use cream of tartar and a flannel cloth for the job. Best of all, it only takes a minute or two to buff aluminium to a mirror finish! Here’s what you need to do:

      1. Put on a pair of kitchen gloves (to avoid getting fingerprints on the surface).
      2. Apply cream of tartar to a soft cloth; just enough to polish small areas at a time.
      3. Polish in circular motions for best results.
      4. Finish off by buffing the aluminium with a flannel cloth.

Remember, all hope should not be lost when aluminium loses its shine! Just follow the guide(s) above and you’ll have all things aluminium clean and gleaming inside and outside your home!

Karen Saunders

Content Manager at Simply Maid
Karen Saunders is a full-time Content Manager at Simply Maid. Her 8+ years of writing experience spans the fields of copywriting, sales copy, blogging, editing and paraphrasing. Some of her areas of expertise include house cleaning, health and fitness, lifestyle topics, home décor and interior designing, travel tips, dog-related articles, and product descriptions and reviews.
Karen Saunders

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