How to clean aluminium in 5 ways 

Give that crusty aluminium the love it deserves

How To Clean Aluminum

Fingerprints, streaks, tarnishing, and those inevitable splodges of pasta sauce: we all know the feeling and we all know how dull and lack-lustre these messes can make aluminium appear. The good news? With a bit of loving care, your aluminium household items are sure to sparkle again. 

If you know how to clean aluminium properly, it can take on a whole new lease of life, however well-loved it might be. Whether you want to know how to clean aluminium pots, how to remove oxidation from aluminium, or how to polish aluminium furniture, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to dive into the following: 

  1. How to clean aluminium sinks 
  2. How to clean aluminium pots, pans and utensils 
  3. How to clean aluminium garden furniture and accessories 
  4. How to remove oxidation from aluminium 
  5. How to polish aluminium at home 


When trying a new homemade cleaning method on aluminium, be sure to test it out on a small, inconspicuous area first, to ensure it doesn’t have any adverse effects.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at these five different cleaning methods when dealing with aluminium!  

1. How to clean aluminium sinks 

Kitchen sinks certainly work hard – almost as hard as you do! So, it’s no wonder that they might often look a little worse for wear. But with a few tips and tricks, you’ll see just how easy it is to bring them back to their shiny former glory. 

What you’ll need: 

What you’ll need

How to clean aluminium sinks:  

  1. Start by cleaning the sink with washing-up liquid (or your choice of aluminium cleaner) and a sponge to get rid of most of the grime.  
  2. You can then use an old toothbrush dipped in washing-up liquid to clean around the plughole and drain.  
  3. Next, slice a lemon and dip it into some salt. For those of you who don’t already know the cleaning capabilities of lemon, this ingredient is great at cleaning aluminium due to the acidic content in the lemon juice.1 
  4. Scrub the sink with the salt-infused lemon. 
  5. Finally, rinse thoroughly and wipe down with a paper towel like Plenty The Original One, which is strong enough to hold together even when it’s sodden, and it’ll get right into any neglected corners.  

If your sink is steel rather than aluminium, check out our tips for cleaning stainless steel without scratches.

2. How to clean aluminium pots, pans and utensils

Cleaning aluminium pans and pots with an acidic solution is a great way to bring them back to their shiny best.1 Here’s what you’ll need if you want to learn how to clean aluminium pots: 

What you’ll need

  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Plenty kitchen paper (Plenty will hold together and get the job done, even with thorough scrubbing!)

Follow the steps below on cleaning aluminium pans, pots and utensils:  

  1. Clean off any remaining food debris.  
  2. Then, combine the lemon or vinegar with enough water to fill your pan and boil on the hob for 10 minutes (with utensils in if you’ve got room).  
  3. Once the pan has cooled, you can get to work with the sheet of kitchen paper – a little bit of elbow grease is all that’s needed – and then that’s it.  

Want to know how to make aluminium shine? For the exterior of the pan, use a mild polish and buff it to a high shine using a piece of dry kitchen paper. 

3. How to clean aluminium garden furniture and accessories

When it comes to cleaning aluminium in the garden, you should do it on a day that’s not too hot and not too cold. Here’s what you’re going to need if you want the best way to clean aluminium garden furniture: 

What you’ll need

How to polish aluminium outdoor furniture: 

  1. First, clean your outdoor aluminium furniture with detergent and warm water. 
  2. Then combine some vinegar and water to make your polishing solution. Be sure to mix equal parts of each. 
  3. Use a sheet of kitchen paper to work on the surface.  
  4. Lastly, grab your hose and rinse thoroughly to make sure you remove all of the solution.  

Once dry, you can apply a little polish (or even car wax) to polish aluminium garden furniture and give it that extra shine.  

So that’s how to clean aluminium pans, sinks and garden furniture. But what about dealing with oxidised aluminium? 

4. How to remove aluminium oxide

Aluminium tends to oxidise as time passes, which results in that dull, chalky look. If you’ve experienced this with your home items, you’re probably wondering how to remove oxidation from aluminium. Fortunately, you can bring back a nice clear appearance with the right know-how – and a popular sauce. Yep, that’s right, you just need to open your kitchen cupboard again and bring out the ketchup – another acidic powerhouse.2- Here’s what you’ll need to learn how to remove aluminium oxide.

And here’s how to remove oxidation from aluminium: 

  1. Cover the item with a thin layer of ketchup. 
  2. Leave it for 15-20 minutes. 
  3. Use the soft cloth to rub the aluminium vigorously. 
  4. Rinse with water straight after (otherwise you might risk spots and streaks). 
  5. Polish with a piece of kitchen paper to dry it completely and bring out the shine. 


Wondering how to remove white corrosion from aluminium, as well as remove aluminium oxide? Try rubbing the white corrosion with white vinegar and some Plenty kitchen towel. Return after 10-15 minutes and scrub with a mildly abrasive brush.

 Fun fact: Ketchup is also a surprisingly effective product for cleaning silverware!

5. How to polish aluminium at home

Cleaning aluminium pans, sinks and outdoor surfaces will bring a certain amount of sparkle back in its own right. But if you really want to know how to make aluminium shine, it needs some buffing. Here’s how to polish aluminium:

  • For smaller items: give them a spray with special aluminium polish or a bit of cream of tartar. You can then get the kids to help you administer the final buffing with a piece of kitchen paper 
  • For larger areas and sheet aluminium: you’ll get the best results with a rotating buffer tool – just make sure you wear your safety goggles! 

While these tips may be more focused on how to clean aluminium pans, sinks and outdoor furniture, you can actually give them a go on any aluminium surface. And don’t forget, you now also know how to remove oxidation from aluminium. Got loads to clean? Gather your loved ones and start your own aluminium cleaning production line. You’ll have the place cleaned up in no time, so you all can start messing it up again! 


1 Surface treatment of Aluminium by cleaning, chemical ething and conversion coating

2 Effects of variety on the quality of tomato stored under ambient conditions 

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