Aluminum, like many other metals, can tarnish if left unused for a long time. Small aluminum items such as pots and pans should be washed with soap and water first, and then use tartar or aluminum polish to polish the aluminum surface. When it comes to sheet aluminum, work begins with a clean, dry metal surface. First, sand the aluminum, then apply an abrasive polish on top and use a rotating polishing machine to polish the metal.
Method 1 of 4: Preclean the aluminum
Step 1. Wash the aluminum with dish soap and water
Dampen the aluminum with water, then put some dishwashing liquid on a cloth or sponge. Wash the aluminum with this cloth or sponge to remove adhering grease, dirt, food debris, and so on.
Step 2. Use a soft toothbrush to clean out any gaps in the aluminum
If the aluminum object you are cleaning has engravings or other three-dimensional patterns, you can use a soft toothbrush or scraper to remove dirt from various depressions on its surface.
Step 3. Rinse the item thoroughly
Rinse the item under the tap to remove any residual soap and dirt. You can also submerge the item in a large bucket of water or rinse it with a hose if it is too large to fit in the sink.
Method 2 of 4: Buff the aluminum with tartar
Step 1. Mix the tartar powder with water
Potassium hydrogen tartrate, also called tartar, is a by-product of winemaking and is widely used on the farm as a cleaning agent. Mix equal parts of tartar powder and warm water to a paste-like consistency.
Step 2. Apply the resulting paste to the aluminum
Rub the tartar paste onto the surface with a soft cloth. Work in small circular motions.
If you are cleaning an aluminum pot or skillet, simply boil water in it and add one tablespoon of tartar. Boil the solution for 10 minutes, then drain and let the dishes cool, then rinse them thoroughly
Step 3. Rinse the aluminum with water
After using the tartar, rinse the aluminum thoroughly. Be sure to remove any residual traces of tartar - pay particular attention to indentations, handles, edges, and the like.
Step 4. Wipe the aluminum piece dry
Use a clean, soft cloth, such as a microfiber towel, to wipe off the water from the aluminum. Be sure to remove any droplets from the surface as they will leave streaks if they dry on their own.
Method 3 of 4: Use an aluminum polish
Step 1. Apply aluminum polish to the item
Use a soft cloth to apply the polish to the aluminum surface. Work in small circular motions. Do not use polish on items such as pots, pans and other kitchen utensils, even if you are going to wash everything later, as such substances should never be ingested.
Step 2. Remove excess polish with a soft cloth
When you apply the polish to the aluminum surface, wipe off the excess with a clean, soft cloth. Pay close attention to the grooves, handles and engraved patterns to remove any excess polish.
Step 3. Polish the object
After removing excess polish, you need to polish the item to restore its shine. Take a new, clean, soft cloth to polish. Work in small circular motions in the same way as you applied and erased the polish.
Method 4 of 4: How to polish aluminum sheet
Step 1. Clean the aluminum sheet from dirt
Use soap and water to remove dirt and dust from the aluminum sheet. Then rinse the metal with clean water and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
Step 2. Put on safety goggles and a mask
Always protect your eyes and face when working on machinery. These measures are necessary to keep dust and polish out of the eyes, nose and mouth.
Step 3. Sand the aluminum with sandpaper
Achieving a mirror finish on your car, boat, or aluminum panel requires sandpapering. Start with a medium grit sandpaper and work your way up to finer grit sandpaper. Despite the fact that it is possible to work with sandpaper by hand, a sander will greatly simplify the task.
- For quick sanding, start with 400 grit sandpaper and carefully sand the entire surface of the aluminum. Then go to 800 grit sandpaper and sand the entire aluminum surface again.
- To sand metal better, start with 120 grit, gradually move to 240 grit, 320 grit, 400 grit, and finally 600 grit.
Step 4. Apply abrasive polish to the polishing machine
Before you start polishing, apply the abrasive polish to the polishing machine. Abrasive polish allows you to give the surface a beautiful shine and create a protective layer on it. Carefully read the instructions in your chosen product to understand exactly how it should be used in your case.
In general, you start with a hard polish and a more abrasive (usually brown) polish, then move on to a softer polish and a less abrasive cosmetic polish (usually red) to give the surface a mirror-like shine and create a smooth protective layer on it
Step 5. Use a rotary polisher to polish the aluminum
Cotton pads work well for aluminum. When polishing sheet aluminum, work in a circular motion. Be sure to follow the instructions in the user manual for the appliance you are using and use extreme caution.
Step 6. Wipe off any residual traces of abrasive polish from the metal
Use a soft, clean cloth to remove any remaining abrasive polish from the aluminum surface. Wipe the surface until the aluminum has a mirror-like shine.
- Do not polish the inner surface of aluminum pots and pans with aluminum polish (even if you are going to wash the dishes after polishing), as it can be harmful to human health and should not be consumed internally.
- Do not polish those areas of the aluminum pot or pan that come into contact with the gas burner and flame.