how to clean and polish aluminium
Floor and surface cleaning

How to clean and polish aluminium

Polishing aluminium is easy with this simple guide! These tips will make sure your aluminium appliances and pans look shiny and new!

Key Points

  1. Don’t put aluminium pans in the dishwasher
  2. Use white vinegar, water and a detergent to clean aluminium cookers
  3. Get great results with specialist aluminium polish

Aluminium is notoriously light, strong, and adept at distributing heat evenly, making it a natural choice for pots, pans, cookers and other kitchenware. But when it comes to aluminium cleaning, time is of the essence: leaving pans to fester in the sink will cause them to anodise, forming a nasty skin that’s hard to budge.

How to Clean Aluminium Pans

First off, it’s not a good idea to put aluminium pans in the dishwasher as this can lead to discolouration. It can be tempting, especially when you have burnt-on grease, but the following steps make aluminium cleaning easy:

  1. Half fill the pan with boiling water and leave to soak for around 20 minutes.
  2. Use a wooden spoon to dislodge clingy grime.
  3. Rinse with warm, soapy water and dry with a soft tea towel.
  4. To remove the surface oxidation, scrub and scrub some more with an abrasive cleaning sponge or a wire brush. Then rinse with warm, soapy water to wash away the metallic residue.

How to Clean an Aluminium Cooker

On delicate or unusual surfaces and materials, including painted surfaces and aluminium, always test cleaning products on an inconspicuous area first. Then rinse immediately and remember to avoid heavy rubbing.

Sometimes warm, soapy water just won’t cut it when it comes to cleaning aluminium cookers. Try this multi-layered approach for best results:

  1. Fill the cooker with boiling water to loosen residue, where possible.
  2. Empty the water and scour the interior with a wire brush and a water-detergent solution.
  3. Fill the cooker a quarter full of distilled white vinegar and top up with water, then leave for around half an hour.
  4. Scrub once more with a wire brush and detergent.
  5. Repeat above steps as necessary until the aluminium’s natural lustre has been fully restored. If residue persists, scrub problem areas with a fine sandpaper, then wash thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

For more information on cleaning aluminium cookers, check out this article on how to clean a pressure cooker.

Aluminium Polishing

Although relatively time-consuming, the shine of polished aluminium is well worth the effort (although your non-aluminium utensils might feel left out). Specialist aluminium polish is the best way to go for fast, effective results. Look for those polishes that use the existing oxidised residue as an abrasive – they’ll give you an unparalleled finish.

Remember: Always test new products and cleaning methods on a small, inconspicuous area before application. If unsure about a product’s suitability for aluminium cleaning, check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Top Tip


Use a tough washing up liquid like Persil to really cut through grease on aluminium pans. After all, you need it to be clean before you can start polishing aluminium to a shine.