One good DIY aluminum cleaner recipe includes cream of tartar and a mild acid such as white vinegar or lemon juice. Fill the aluminum pot with water, and add 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar for every quart. An aluminum fixture can be cleaned with a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water.
When it comes to cleaning the pot, boil the cream of tartar, acid and water solution for 10 minutes, then pour out the solution and allow the pot to cool. When the pot can be handled, wash it as per usual. The cream of tartar and white vinegar solution not only cleans aluminum, but also imparts a gleam to it. Some people only scrub the aluminum with cream of tartar.
Another way to clean an aluminum object that can't be boiled is to cut a lemon in two, rub it in salt and then use it to gently clean the aluminum object. If no lemons are available, wet a cleaning rag with lemon juice, dip it in salt, and use it to clean the item.
Experts warn against using a base on aluminum such as baking soda or ammonia. These compounds can discolor aluminum. Steel wool should also be avoided unless it is of a very fine grade.