How Do You Clean Oxidized Aluminum?

clean-oxidized-aluminum Credit: MACIEJ NOSKOWSKI/E+/Getty Images

To clean oxidized aluminum, scrub it with grease-cutting detergent, and soak it in boiling water, lemon juice, cream of tartar and vinegar. This 45-minute procedure requires rubber gloves, oven mitts, water, grease-cutting detergent, a stove, lemon juice, white vinegar, cream of tartar, steel wool, a towel and a sponge.

  1. Eliminate greasy residue

    Put on rubber gloves, and scrub the aluminum with grease-cutting detergent. Use a large, thick sponge dipped in very hot water. Scrub baked-on food residue with a steel wool pad and additional detergent. Do not use chemical abrasives. Rinse the aluminum in hot water, and remove your gloves.

  2. Remove the oxidation

    If the aluminum object is a cooking vessel, put it on a stove over medium-high heat. Otherwise, set a large pot on the stove, and set the aluminum object in it. Fill the vessel halfway with water. Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and keep it there for 15 minutes.

  3. Inspect the aluminum

    Put on oven mitts, pour the solution out, and inspect the aluminum. If some oxidation remains, repeat the previous step as many times as necessary.

  4. Dry the aluminum

    Spread a towel on a flat surface, set the aluminum object on it, and leave it there until it is totally dry.

If the piece isn't completely clean after this, complete the process again; it may take several tries to get rid of all the oxidation. Use half a lemon dipped in salt or some lemon juice and salt on a cloth to clean difficult spots. However, avoid rubbing the surface too hard, as salt can scratch it, too.