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How to Clean and Polish Aluminium

Check out our step-by-step guide to polishing aluminium and cleaning aluminium, so you can keep your pans and cooker looking as good as new.



Aluminium is used in pots, pans, and cooking appliances, because it’s so lightweight, and really great at distributing heat evenly. But when it comes to cleaning aluminium or polishing aluminium, it’s a race against time. If you leave your pans in the sink, they’ll anodise, creating a skin that’s difficult to budge.

Tough dishwashing liquids are great for cutting through grease on aluminium pans. Before polishing aluminium to a shine, you need to make sure it’s nice and clean.

How to Clean Aluminium Pans

Firstly, putting your pans into the dishwasher can make them discoloured. It does seem like the easier option to get rid of burnt-on grease, but here are a few techniques for making cleaning aluminium simple:

  1. Let the pan soak with boiling water filled up half way for about 20 minutes.

  2. Dislodge clingy grime with a wooden spoon.

  3. Use warm, soapy water to rinse it and dry with a soft towel.

  4. Grab an abrasive cleaning sponge and scrub hard to get rid of surface oxidation. After that, rinse with warm, soapy water to get rid of the metallic residue.

polish aluminium

How to Clean an Aluminium Cooker

Always perform a small spot test when using cleaning products on delicate or unusual surfaces like aluminium. Rinse immediately after and avoid any heavy rubbing.

Sometimes, aluminium cookers need something more heavy-duty than warm, soapy water. For better results, here’s a multi-layered approach you can try:

  1. Fill up the cooker with boiling water to loosen residue.

  2. Empty out the water and scrub with a wire brush and water with detergent.

  3. Fill the cooker a quarter of the way up with vinegar, then top it up with water and leave it for around an hour.

  4. Scrub it again using the wire brush and detergent.

  5. Keep repeating the previous steps until the aluminium’s lustre has been completely restored. If you still see problem areas, you can scrub them with fine sandpaper and wash thoroughly before drying with a soft cloth.

For more info on how to clean aluminium cookers, read this article on cleaning pressure cookers.

Polishing Aluminium

Not sure how to polish aluminium? It can be quite time-consuming, but you’ll find it’s worth the effort when your aluminium has restored its original shine. For a fast result, try specialist aluminium polish products. Try the ones that use the oxidised residue as an abrasive, because they’ll always give you the best results.

Remember: Make sure you always test out cleaning products in an inconspicuous area of the aluminium before completely applying it. If you’re not sure whether the product is suitable, check the instructions from the manufacturer.

  • Don’t place your aluminium pans in the dishwasher

  • Only use white vinegar, water and detergent to clean aluminium cookers

  • For best results, use a specialist aluminium polish

Originally published