How To Polish Aluminum

There are many things that are made out of aluminum that you may want to polish. Most people’s minds go to the tires on a car, but old dishware, other parts of your vehicle, and a variety of other objects may have aluminum on them and may need to be polished. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how to polish aluminum products.

How To Polish Aluminum

How To Polish Aluminum Dishware

If you have older dishware or tableware (such as serving plates), you may have ones that are made out of aluminum. Aluminum kitchenware was common during the 1930’s and 40’s. Here is a quick guide to help you learn how to polish aluminum dishware.

What you will need:

  • Regular dish soap
  • Cream of tartar
  • Aluminum polish
  • Water
  • Soft cloths (3-4)
  • Old toothbrush
  1. Wash it! No matter what else you do, make sure the piece is thoroughly washed, rinsed, and dried before you start trying to polish it, otherwise your efforts will be futile.
  2. Take the cream of tartar and mix it together with water to make a light paste. Take one of the cloths to apply this paste to the aluminum, using circular motions to clean the surface. At this point, you may also need the old toothbrush to help you clean any designs on the aluminum with this paste.
  3. Rinse the dishware thoroughly and dry it with another cloth.
  4. If the piece is to be eaten with or not, eliminate this step. You can do this step on the outside of kitchen objects that will not be in contact with food. Take another cloth and apply aluminum polish to any surfaces that are not in contact with food (the bottom of a serving plate, the outside of pots and pans, etc). Remove it with another cloth and gently buff to finish shining. 

How To Polish Aluminum Wheels

If you have aluminum wheels on your vehicle, like many cars do, then you are probably wondering the best way to polish them. It takes a bit of elbow grease to get your wheels back to their original shine, but it’s worth the effort.

What you will need:

  • Hose
  • Soap (for vehicle use)
  • Heavy-duty scouring pads
  • Terrycloth rags
  • Oven Cleaner spray
  • Aluminum brightener
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  1. Take the entire wheel off of the vehicle. This will make it easier for you to reach every single part of the wheel so that you can get the best shine possible on all parts of your wheel.
  2. Use the hose to rinse off the wheel. Use the vehicle soap and scouring pads to clean the grime and dirt from the wheel. Do not skip this step. Only with a thorough cleaning will you be able to get rid of materials that may be stuck on your tire, and it will make it easier for you to polish it later. Rinse well and dry with a towel.
  3. Apply the oven cleaner spray to the wheels. Oven cleaner is great for polishing aluminum because of how it “cuts” into anything that may be left. Oven cleaner is great for many polishing jobs (just make sure that the cleaner won’t eat away the metal itself before trying it). As with the last step, rinse and dry the wheel.
  4. At this point, you will actually be “polishing” the aluminum wheel. Take the aluminum brightener (it can be liquid or paste) and gently apply it. Rub it all over the wheel. Make sure that your strokes are going the same direction in order to make an even shine. If there are parts that you cannot reach to polish, take a toothbrush or ruler and wrap the end in a small piece of cloth, rubbing it gently in the crevices you cannot reach.