Your house most likely has aluminium in its windows, cladding, gutters, and door frames. Because aluminium is lightweight and resistant to corrosion, it’s also used in making spacecraft parts! Add on the fact that it’s malleable and waterproof, and you have an amazing roster of superpower chemical properties.
Cool as aluminium is, it becomes less awesome when it becomes rusty and dirty. When this happens, how do you make your aluminium pieces shiny and sparkling again?
Not to worry, as we’re sharing with you our pro tips on how to clean and restore the beloved aluminium pieces in your home.
Types of aluminium
We’re not going to get too technical here and talk about industry specifics for aluminium. We do need to understand the main types of aluminium, however, so that we’ll know how to properly maintain the aluminium items in our home.
Aluminium can be classified broadly into 2 types: cast aluminium and wrought aluminium. They may sound the same, but their properties are quite different. Cast and wrought aluminium alloys have different amounts of other metals mixed in with them.
Cast aluminium is aluminium that’s poured into a mold after it has been melted. Alloys of this type have a higher concentration of other metals added in. The most frequently used metals for combining with aluminium are steel and nickel.
This alloy is more common than you think. The pots and pans in your kitchen are examples of cast aluminium. You will also typically see this type of metal in electrical appliances, which come in the form of brushed aluminium. Kitchen equipment like refrigerators and stoves are also made of brushed aluminium. Brushed aluminium is cast aluminium that has been polished to achieve a dull satiny finish.
Common examples of wrought aluminium are the items you see in your home that have been mechanically shaped from a solid piece of metal. These alloys relatively have a lesser concentration of other metals in them.
Hammered aluminium is an example of this type, and is typically found in antiques. It was popularly used in the 1930’s to 1950’s as wedding gifts because of its resemblance to silver.
How to clean aluminium items in your home
Just when you thought cleaning aluminium can be done with simple soap and water, think again!
Keep in mind that not all aluminium alloys are created equal. There are aluminium household items that come coated with a layer of paint, lacquer, or another material. For these special types, read the instruction manual before proceeding with the cleaning. More often than not, there are specific care instructions for the coating that are different from how you would typically clean unfinished aluminium.
Use an acid-based solution to clean aluminium in your home. You can make a quick homemade cleaner by mixing together equal parts of vinegar with equal parts of water. Apply this on the surface and gently remove the grime using a non-abrasive scrub. Avoid using steel wool when scrubbing, as this can scratch your aluminium.
You can choose between homemade and store-bought acidic cleaners. They’re equally effective! A big plus for natural aluminium cleaners is that they have no side effects on your health and are less corrosive than chemical cleaners.
How to clean aluminium kitchen appliances
To degrease and sanitise your kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, rangehoods and stovetops, use natural ingredients for a gentle clean. Make a paste using half a cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of baking soda. Mix them well, then apply on the brushed aluminium surface using a clean cloth. Scrub gently to polish.
How to clean aluminium kitchenware
Every homeowner knows this: if you want to get your workout on, clean aluminium pots and pans the old-fashioned way! Nonstop scrubbing is the exercise you didn’t know you needed. But if you’re on the go and can’t afford to spare the whole day polishing your aluminium, then you’ve come to the right place.
Clean aluminium pots and pans using the following steps:
Step 1. Wash with dish soap and water
In an ideal world, food debris will come off from your aluminium pans without any elbow grease, but that’s just wishful thinking. Wash your aluminium pots and pans as usual with dish soap and water, and remove as much of the food bits as you can. There’s no need to scrub too hard, though, because the next cleaning process will take care of the grime build up.
Step 2. Make the cleaning solution
Make your own natural acidic aluminium cleaner by mixing together lemon juice and ½ cup of vinegar. Add the solution into the dirty aluminium cookware, then dilute with water until the level of the liquid reaches half the depth of the pot. Heat the pot containing the solution and let it boil for 10 minutes or more. The acid and the heat will loosen the stubborn debris still clinging to your pot.
Step 3. Scrub the grease and scum away
Let the pot cool down before scrubbing. When the pot is cool enough to handle, start scrubbing away the food debris until the inside of your pot is smooth and shiny. If there’s too much debris to remove in one cleaning, wash your pot again with dish soap and water, then continue scrubbing.
How to clean aluminium window frames, sliding door tracks, and outdoor aluminium furniture
Aluminium is a popular material used in window frames, sliding door tracks, and outdoor furniture. Exposure to the elements can take its toll and cause your aluminium furniture to look lackluster, however. Here’s what you need to do to make them gleam again:
Step 1. Wipe with a clean cloth
This step requires a more hands-on approach. Make sure that before you clean, you’re wearing a pair of gloves so that you won’t get too up-close-and-personal with tree sap, bird droppings, or dead critters.
Start cleaning your outdoor furniture by wiping it with a piece of clean dampened cloth. Remove dust, superficial stains, and other debris. You may need to rinse your cloth from time to time to shake off the dirt.
Step 2: Remove stubborn stains with a dish soap solution
There will always be that stubborn stain that won’t come off no matter how many times you scrub back-and-forth. Now’s the time to take your cleaning up a notch by using a dish soap solution.
Simply mix dish soap and water and dip a piece of cloth or non-abrasive scrub into the solution. Scrub as you normally would. The grease-cutting action of the dish soap will loosen any sticky residue and make cleaning easier for you.
You’re hitting two birds with one stone: cleaning aluminium with dish soap can freshen up its smell, too. This is particularly helpful in removing the earthy odour that may have stuck to your furniture because of its prolonged stay in the patio or garden.
Step 3: Wash off the dirt and debris
Before you get all excited with washing down your aluminium furniture or sliding door tracks, make sure that there are no other items nearby that might get damaged once you start rinsing. After you’ve checked, wash off dirt and debris by hosing down your furniture. Alternately, you can also rinse the soap off with a damp cloth until there’s no more residue left on the surface.
Step 4: Dry with a microfibre cloth
The last step you need to do when cleaning aluminium furniture, door tracks, and windows is to dry them thoroughly. Aluminium may be durable, but it’s also still made of metal and prone to rust if left moist for a prolonged period of time. To prevent rust from forming, dry your furniture with a clean piece of microfibre cloth. Let it air dry after wiping for good measure.
How to clean aluminium sinks
Aluminium sinks are oddly satisfying to clean. For one, the surface area is relatively larger, which makes cleaning less difficult. You’re also near a water source, which in this case, is the kitchen faucet. You won’t be having any problems rinsing off your sink and draining the water after cleaning.
To clean your aluminium sink, these are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: Sprinkle borax on the sink
Start cleaning your aluminium sink by sprinkling borax on the surface. Borax is an effective aluminium cleaner. It can cut grease and remove water stains without causing any damage to your sink. Sprinkle just enough to lightly coat the surface.
Step 2: Wipe with a damp cloth
Moisten a piece of cloth then gently wipe away scum and grime on the surface of your aluminium sink. Try to follow the grain of the metal and avoid circular motions to prevent swirls from appearing on the surface.
Step 3: Rinse off
Rinse off the scum and borax mixture. Continue washing until the surface of your sink is squeaky clean.
Step 4: Allow to dry
Using a microfibre cloth, dry your sink thoroughly to remove any water droplets. Allow to air dry once you’re done wiping.
How to polish aluminium
Aluminium cookware and appliances can be really pretty when they’re polished. When you buff them to a good shine, their appearance is restored, and it makes you enjoy using them more. Don’t just take my word for it. Try these 2 easy tips for polishing aluminium at home and see your pots, pans, and kitchen equipment sparkle!
To bring out your aluminium’s best shine, you will need cream of tartar or any aluminium polish and paper towels or a flannel cloth.
Step 1: Apply cream of tartar
Carefully apply cream of tartar or aluminium polish on the surface of your aluminium pots, furniture, and sinks.
Step 2: Start buffing
Using a strong paper towel or flannel cloth, start buffing the surface until you see it shine. The more you buff, the shinier your aluminium becomes. Just like that, your polished aluminium will start to look good as new!
Deep clean your aluminium equipment at home
Aluminium cookware, appliances, and outdoor items could all benefit from a cleaning from time to time. While a clean home is already something you can take pride in, having spotless and shiny equipment can take your house’s appearance up a notch.
Sparkling aluminium pots, pans, sinks, and window frames are just the beginning! If you can’t get over how dazzling your home has become and want to go all in with an intensive cleaning, you can request for deep cleaning services from your local cleaners.
Apart from the usual tidying up and organising, a deep clean includes sanitising nooks and crannies of your home and removal of stubborn dirt and stains that have set in. You can also get specialised degreasing treatment for your kitchen appliances. You will certainly see, smell, and feel the difference after!