How to Polish Aluminum

We all have vehicles, appliances, gadgets, devices, and trinkets that are comprised of aluminum parts in one way or another. This type of metal is really quite popular because of its lightweight and durable characteristics. And when in their brand new condition, items with aluminum components look good too.


The only problem with this type of metal is that it’s prone to oxidation processes. While rusting is not your main concern, corrosion can really prove to be troublesome. If aluminum is not regularly cleaned and polished, it will look dull and unattractive. And it can generally shorten the life of the particular object too.

How to Clean Aluminum Materials

The good news is that regularly cleaning aluminum objects will allow you to maintain its brand new look while extending its lifespan too. And there are several ways of doing this without spending too much time and money on the processes and procedures involved. In fact, there are home remedies that you can employ to restore the luster and shine of some of your things that are made of aluminum materials.


Cleaning and Polishing Aluminum Pots and Pans

Almost every household has aluminum pots and pans because these are considered to be efficient cooking appliances. When corrosion strikes, you can strike back by cleaning and polishing said objects. Before anything else, make sure that all pots and pans are clean and free from grime and greasy residue.

By making a solution of 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar combined with a quart of water, you can allow this to simmer and boil in your pots and pans so to remove oxidation buildup. The cream of tartar can also be substituted with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (with 5% acidity) or a tablespoon of lemon extract.

To maximize the use of this solution, you can also put other aluminum utensils in the boiling mixture so that these can be cleaned as well. After about ten minutes or so, you can turn off the heat and allow the liquid content to cool down before throwing it away.


Now it’s time to scrub your pots, pans, and utensils so as to remove dirt, grime, and oxidation buildup from the surfaces of said objects. You can use steel wool, sponge, or cloth for this, depending on the type of surface that you are working on.

The outer part of pots and pans can be buffed with a metal polish to make the surfaces look like new, but don’t use this on the inner portion of the cooking devices as these can contain poisonous substances. So don’t use it on spoons, forks, and other similar items too.

How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

Cleaning aluminum wheels is an essential part of your vehicle’s maintenance. This procedure ensures that your vehicle remains in tip-top condition and that it continues to create an eye-catching effect whenever you drive.

Due to exposure to harmful elements on the road including harsh weather conditions, your vehicle’s wheels also need to be regularly cleaned and maintained. If these are made of aluminum, you can make a mixture of homemade solution by combining water and cream of tartar until you get a paste-like consistency. This can then be applied to your car wheels so as to remove the buildup of corrosive elements on the surface of the wheels.

Of course, you need to clean your car wheels first with soap and water to remove dirt and grime. And you can use sandpaper to remove tough corrosion buildup from the surfaces too. An automatic sander can prove to be particularly helpful for this type of job.

When cleaning and polishing aluminum, it is important to note that you may encounter pitted and oxidized areas, along with brake dust, grime and other contaminants. As a result, before cleaning, a few items are needed.

Items Needed to Clean Wheels

  • Water: usually, a jet stream of lukewarm water is preferable, although a bucket of the same will do the job. Warm water helps to dissolve and remove all the grime and dirt particles from hard to reach areas on the wheels and rinses thoroughly, leaving a clean finish.
  • Wash rags: at least 4 of these are needed since two would be used for washing the rims and the tires while the other two would later be used for drying.
  • Grit Sandpaper: these are used to remove oxidized and pitted areas, in addition to providing a smooth overall finish. Grit sandpaper comes with different gradations, with the 400 to 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper used to remove oxidized and pitted areas while the fine grit sandpaper provides the finishing touches.
  • Detergent: mild detergent with good cleansing action is best for cleaning wheels. When added to lukewarm water, mild detergent will clean effectively without damaging the overall finish of your aluminum wheels.
  • Microfiber cloth: this cloth is used to add a smooth, polished shine to wheels once they have been thoroughly washed and dried.
  • Aluminum polish: a final touch of aluminum polish leaves a shiny, protective coating on the surface of the wheels and prevents the onset of corrosion and the accumulation of dust particles.

Steps Involved in Cleaning

  • Start off with a mixture of detergent and warm water that should be applied to the wheels using a wash rag. One wash rag can be used for the wheels, while the other can be used for the rims, in order to prevent cross contamination and staining. Once all the grime and dust particles are removed, you can proceed to sand the surface of the wheel.
  • The 400 to 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper is then used to remove pitting on the surface of the wheels. Sanding by hand is safer and more appropriate since power tools can remove too much of the aluminum and can weaken the structure of the wheel. Once all of the pitted areas are eliminated, a sheet of fine grit sand paper can be used to smooth out the metallic surface.
  • The microfiber cloth is later used to wipe the surface clean without creating any abrasions or marks.
  • Once all pitting is removed and the surface is cleared of any remaining debris, a coating of aluminum polish should be applied to the wheel. Polishing aluminum carries many advantages since it prevents any corrosive activity that can lead to the buildup of oxide. In addition, aluminum polish creates a shiny finish that prevents any dust from accumulating while driving.

The entire procedure makes future cleaning a whole lot easier since pitting and oxidation are less likely to occur. Not to mention, the lifespan of your wheel improves significantly, given the extent of protection offered by the varieties of aluminum polish.

Additional Features and Considerations

  • Special aluminum wheel cleaners are available in the form of sprays that can be easily applied to the wheels to remove the grime and dust particles. These cleaners are usually applied for about 15 minutes in order to effectively remove hardened grime and dirt. These cleaners can be used instead of the regular detergent.
  • The use of rubber gloves is highly recommended, since most cleaners may contain irritants, such as acids that can affect the skin.

Maintaining and Cleaning Aluminum

The importance of maintaining and cleaning aluminum can’t be stressed enough as this can prolong the life of car wheels, appliances, jewelry, and other utensils around the house. The best way to polish aluminum will also depend on several factors as different objects require different procedures. You can make DIY mixtures at home when cleaning objects and things that are made of aluminum. And using the best aluminum polish will also result in perfect finishes.


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