Aluminum is one of the most common metals found in our homes. It is in our kitchen pots and pans it is also used in our cars for wheels and window frames and door jams. Other uses of aluminum include paint pigments, electrical wires and components, castings for camera bodies, siding for home exteriors, car engines, and any place where light and durable metal parts are needed.
Aluminum does not rust like Iron or Steel but it does oxidize and discolor.
It can have a high sheen like chrome plated nickle but polishing it can be difficult.
Aluminum is a soft metal and for this reason it reacts harshly with acids. You might notice when you bake a lasagna or other food with tomato sauce that if you cover it with aluminum foil the foil will be eaten away by the acids in the tomato sauce.
To care for aluminum you want to wash it with a non abrasive soap and sponge or scrub brush. Any abrasive will cut through polished surfaces.
To Polish aluminum you can use Aluminum polish or Silver Polish that has a slight acidic base and then you should wash the polish off after you have restored the shine.
For seriously discolored pots and pans you can use a green scotch brite scrub sponge and silver polish. Scrub until clean and then discard the sponge since it will be full of oxidized aluminum.
For slightly discolored utensils you can boil them in a mild acid like vinegar or lemon.
For cleaning aluminum wheels or other car parts you will want to use a scrub pad and an acid based polish like aluminum or silver polish and then you will want to complete the job by using a buffing pad on a electric buffer. Changing and cleaning pads often will be necessary as the soft oxidized aluminum will gum up in your buffing pad.
Steel Wool should not be used on Aluminum but there are a number of different grades of nylon scrub pads that will work just as well.
Once you have cleaned your Aluminum items you can protect them with a clear paint finish. Special formulated paints are available for aluminum automotive parts and wheels.
YouRepair Carries a full line of Aluminum Finish Restoring Products
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