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What is the Best Way to Clean Aluminum?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Many people have various types of aluminum devices in their homes. From coffee pots and cookware to window frames and furniture legs, aluminum is a part of many different household items. Fortunately, the process of cleaning aluminum is relatively easy to accomplish in just about every instance.

Cleaning aluminum cookware can be a chore, especially if there is food residue burned onto the surface. One of the easiest ways to clean aluminum products with this type of problem is to prepare a mixture of white vinegar and water. Boil the water and add one part vinegar to two parts of the water. Immerse the cookware in the mixture for a half hour to an hour. The vinegar will help to loosen the burnt-on food residue so that it can easily be scraped off using a non-abrasive cleaning pad.

Vinegar is also an effective aluminum cleaner for the exterior of tea kettles. Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to two pints of water and mix well. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and gently rub the exterior of the kettle. Not only will the vinegar and water clean aluminum with relative ease, it will also leave behind a pleasing shine to the exterior.

It is also possible to clean aluminum kitchen utensils by immersing them in a bath of vinegar and hot water, or applying the vinegar and water mixture directly with a clean cloth. If you have some of the colorful aluminum glasses that were popular in the mid-20th century, they also clean up nicely using vinegar and water.

In order to clean aluminum window frames that are not painted, mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water. Apply with a clean washcloth or sponge. For the detergent, use something along the lines of dishwashing liquid. Many liquid hand soaps will also work fine for this type of household cleaning job.

This same mixture of mild detergent and water will also work well when you need to clean aluminum legs and armrests on your lawn furniture. Apply with a soft cloth or sponge, then rinse thoroughly. If you want to add a layer of protection to your clean aluminum furniture, apply a thin coat of car wax after the metal has dried thoroughly.

Generally, it is not a good idea to use abrasive pads or cleaners on aluminum, as the metal will scratch easily. If you must clean aluminum using some type of abrasive, try applying baking soda to the surface and then rubbing with a moist cloth. This will work as well as most scouring pads and is less likely to create deep scratches in the surface.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments
By anon942864 — On Mar 29, 2014

@post 4: That is exactly how we were told to clean our coffee decanters: add salt, squeeze a lemon, put lemon pieces in and ad ice. Shake, shake, shake, swirl swirl swirl. Sparkling every time!

By anon315674 — On Jan 25, 2013

Aluminum is a soft metal that requires special care at the time of cleaning. You should use it to clean aluminum pots and pans so that metal does not lose its luster. Thanks for this informative article.

By anon313891 — On Jan 15, 2013

There are many devices used by us which are made of aluminum, so we need to clean them. All your methods are well defined. Thanks!

By Planch — On Jul 24, 2010

One of the weirdest aluminum cleaning tips I've ever heard is to put a mixture of ice cubes and salt into or around whatever you're trying to clean, then swirl the ice around to remove whatever is on there.

Has anybody tried this? It sounded kind of strange to me, but apparently some people swear by this method.

By galen84basc — On Jul 24, 2010

@elizabeth23 -- If you do decide to clean out your aluminum tea kettle, there's an easy way to do it.

Just act as though you were boiling a pot of water, but add in some high concentration white vinegar.

Then just wipe out the inside with a washcloth.

It should come right off!

By closerfan12 — On Jul 24, 2010

Another good tip for cleaning aluminum pots and pans is to use a cream of tartar.

You can put anywhere from a fourth a cup to a half a cup of cream of tartar in water and let it boil for ten minutes, then soak the pan in it.

Anything on there should come off pretty easily with some light rubbing after that.

By elizabeth23 — On Jul 19, 2010

The insides of aluminum tea kettles often build up heavily with mineral deposits that are hard to remove. However, these deposits are difficult to see on most designs and have no negative effect on the water quality, making the difficult cleaning process mostly unnecessary.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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