How to Clean Hammered Aluminum
How to Clean Hammered Aluminum
Hammered aluminum makes for beautiful, antique home decor. However, aluminum is a soft metal, making aluminum dishes and other items very easy to damage while cleaning. Abrasive cleaners and scrubbers such as steel wool cannot be used or else they stain and scratch the item. You can clean your aluminum naturally by using a gentle dish detergent and a soft-bristled scrub brush on stains. You can also remove tough stains and tarnish by boiling the aluminum in water with cream of tartar or citrus juice.
Washing after Use
Use a gentle detergent on the aluminum.Because aluminum is soft, choose a non-abrasive dish detergent such as Dawn. Spread a squirt of the detergent over the aluminum, enough to use to scrub out stains. During regular use, hammered aluminum can be cleaned like any metal dishware.
- Alternatives to dish detergent include an orange cleaner, lemon juice, or a degreaser such as Dawn Power Dissolver.
Fill the sink with warm water.Warm water will loosen up stains such as those from food left on dishware. You don’t need the water to be hot. Submerge the aluminum item in the water.
Scrub the stains with a non-abrasive brush.Again, the brush must be soft or else it will leave scratches. Choose a sponge, non-abrasive pad, a soft-bristled scrub brush, or old toothbrush. Scrub the surface of the aluminum and most stains will come off.
- Don’t use steel wool or else the aluminum will gain small scratches.
Soak still-stained pieces for a few minutes.If the stains are still present or when using an alternative detergent such as orange cleaner, allow the aluminum item to sit in warm water. Leave it alone for about five minutes. The warm water should make it easier to scrub or wipe away the stains.
- Five minutes is often enough to clear off debris while minimizing water exposure, but for stubborn stains you can try soaking it for 30 minutes.
Rinse off the soap.Place the aluminum item under warm, running water. Make sure all the cleaner is rinsed off the surface.
Dry the aluminum off immediately.Use a soft cloth to remove all the moisture. Make sure all the water is gone so none of it sits on the metal and causes stains.
Removing Stubborn Stains
Fill a pot of water.Get a standard kitchen pot you can use to boil water. Pick one that’s big enough to contain the aluminum object, if possible. For objects that do not fit in the pot, boil the water anyway and clean the aluminum in the sink. The temperature of the water does not matter at this point.
Add cream of tartar to the water.Place two tablespoons of cream of tartar in the water. Cream of tartar can be found at any general store where baking supplies are sold.
Bring the water to a boil.Turn up the heat on the stove until the water boils. At this point, you can add a few tablespoons of lime juice for extra cleaning power. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
Place the aluminum into the water for 15 minutes.Rest the aluminum inside the pot of water. Leave it there for 10-15 minutes. For aluminum pieces that don’t fit in the pot, stop up the sink and dump the water in there along with the stained aluminum.
- Remember to wear long sleeves and oven mitts when transferring boiling water. Slowly pour the water into the sink so it doesn’t splash.
Wash with soap and water.Remove the aluminum piece from the pot of water. Bring it to the sink and wash it as you normally would. Use a gentle detergent such as Dawn. Scrub off any stains using a non-abrasive sponge or brush, then rinse the aluminum with warm water.
Dry the aluminum.Use a soft cloth or paper towel to ensure that all moisture is removed from the aluminum. Don’t leave any water, or else it may stain the item.
Treating Tarnished Aluminum
Mix water and white vinegar.In a large stove pot, combine equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Mix the ingredients together, then set the pot on the stove.
Add citrus juice to the water.Measure out two or three tablespoons of lime or lemon juice. Dump them into the pot of water. If you don’t have juice, you can slice up a whole lemon and add it to the pot.
Bring the water to a boil.Turn up the heat on the stove and allow the water to boil. Once it does, turn the heat back down to a simmering level.
Place the aluminum into the water for 15 minutes.Let the tarnished area of the aluminum soak in the water for 10-15 minutes. Again, if your piece does not fit in the pot, stop up the sink and dump the water in there along with the aluminum.
- Again, take precautions when transferring boiling water. Cover exposed skin and slowly pour the water into the skin.
Rinse the aluminum with warm water.Place the aluminum under a faucet. Use warm water to rinse off any of the acid left over.
Scrub the aluminum with a soft brush.Most of the corrosion comes off during boiling. For anything left over, use a soft-bristled scrub brush, non-abrasive sponge, or toothbrush to attack the tarnished areas.
- Steel wool does help rid the aluminum of tarnish you can’t otherwise remove. Scrub back and forth rather than in a circular motion. Steel wool does scratch aluminum, so use it as a last resort.
Dry the aluminum immediately.Use a soft cloth or a paper towel to remove all leftover moisture from your aluminum piece. This will ensure that it doesn’t gain water stains.
How do you remove paint from hammered aluminum baskets?
- Don’t use silver polish. Use pewter or aluminum polish instead to polish cleaned aluminum.
- Steel wool helps get rid of corrosion, but does leave small scratches. Use it as a last resort.
- Regular cleaning will help prevent stains from setting in.
- Always dry the aluminum as soon as possible. Any water allowed to sit on the aluminum can cause stains.
Video: Cleaning Tips : How to Clean & Polish Pewter & Aluminum Serving Pieces
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