Aluminium is a light metal that is more susceptible to scratches than stainless steel, for instance. Aluminium forms a protective layer of aluminium oxide and aluminium hydroxide when exposed to the air. However, as grains of dust and particles of dirt are in the air, these can also become ingrained in the protective layer, potentially giving the surface a matt, dirty appearance. This surface appearance is also known as “tarnished”. In this article, we explain how you can clean aluminium.
Which household products can you use to clean aluminium?
Special cleaning agents for aluminium are available from DIY stores. However, you can clean aluminium more easily and cheaply by using household products such as baking powder, citric acid or even ketchup.
Using baking powder to clean aluminium
Depending on the area of aluminium to be cleaned, you will need a sufficient amount of baking powder. Mix the baking powder with a little water to make a paste. Then apply the paste and rub it into the aluminium. The fine paste removes the layer of dirt without attacking the aluminium. To finish off, rinse the area with water and rub the metal dry. It is important to dry it, otherwise you will be left with residues in the form of water stains.
Using citric acid to clean aluminium
All you need is a simple slice of lemon. Before starting, however, you should wipe down the aluminium surface as normal to prevent rubbing in particles of dirt. Then run the slice of lemon along the aluminium surface until all the dirt has been removed. Wipe off using water and rub dry. Done! If you are still not satisfied after the first attempt, simply repeat the process.
Using ketchup to clean aluminium
Why is ketchup good for cleaning aluminium? It is possible since ketchup contains both vinegar and water, making ketchup an acidic foodstuff. To clean the aluminium, just apply the ketchup and continue rubbing it in until the dirt has been removed. Since the contents attack the aluminium, here again you need to rinse the surface with water and then rub it dry.
Do not use metal sponges to clean aluminium.
As with most materials, the following also applies to aluminium: the earlier you start cleaning the better, as the layer of dirt is then relatively thin and therefore easier to clean. The household products described above are perfectly suitable for removing normal dirt. However, a stronger cleaning agent might be needed to tackle very coarse dirt such as adhesive residues.