Cleaning Cast Aluminum with Sodium Hydroxide
How to Clean Cast Aluminum
Aluminum cookware is a popular alternative to cast iron cookware. Cast aluminum is also a sturdy material for outdoor furniture. Luckily, cleaning your cast aluminum cookware and furniture does not require elaborate equipment or expensive products. With the right cleaning solution and some elbow grease, your cast aluminum items will look clean and shiny in no time.
Using Natural Products
Boil the cast aluminum item in a solution of cream of tartar and water.One of the most effective ways to clean a cast aluminum item is to boil it in a solution of three tablespoons of cream of tartar and four cups of water.You can submerge the item in a pot of this solution. If you want to clean the inside of a pan, boil the solution inside the pan.
- Boil the solution on medium high heat for 15 minutes. Then, remove the solution and let the item cool.
- You can follow up by scrubbing the item, if necessary. Scrubbing any residue will be much easier thanks to the acidity in the cream of tartar. The cream of tartar can also help to remove any dark or blackened spots on the pan.
Scrub the item with a soft toothbrush or a non-abrasive pad.If there is a lot of residue on a cast aluminum pan or piece of furniture, you can use a toothbrush with soft bristles or a soft, non-abrasive pad to gently scrub the item. You should scrub in gentle, circular motions and be careful not to scrub too hard or with too much pressure as you do not want to scratch or damage the surface of the item.
- Soaking a pan or small furniture items in cream of tartar and water before scrubbing them can make it easier to remove any residue.
- You can try to scrub cast aluminum furniture with a soft toothbrush or a fine scrub pad without soaking it first. One option is to run the garden hose over the furniture to give it a good clean and then scrub it with a fine pad or a toothbrush.
- Avoid using any metal utensils or steel wool on cast aluminum items. These harsh scrubbing tools can damage the finish.
Use a mixture of lemon juice and water.The acidity in the lemon juice can help to loosen up any residue on a pan or furniture. However, be careful not to use too much lemon juice in the soaking solution as too much acidity can damage the cast aluminum surface. Dilute the lemon juice with water using one part lemon juice to four parts water.
- You can also try another natural acidic product like apple cider vinegar, but make sure you dilute the vinegar with water before soaking the cast aluminum in it or before applying it as a scrub to the furniture.
Using Professional Products
Soak the item in dissolver spray and water.If you are looking to try a professional product on the cast aluminum, you can try a dissolver spray. Dissolver sprays can be found in the cleaning aisle of most hardware stores.
- Apply the dissolver spray on the item and let it sit for 30 minutes. It should help to loosen any residue or crud on the item. You can then use a non-abrasive pad or a soft-bristled brush on the item.
Run the item through a self cleaning oven.If you have access to a self-cleaning oven, you can place the item in the oven and let it run through a shortened cycle for an hour. The high temperatures in the oven can help to reduce any organic residue to a powder that can then be rinsed off once the item is out of the oven.
- With this option, it is important that you remove any non-aluminum parts on the item as they can be damaged in the oven. Remove any steel or wood parts, such as handles and screws. If you cannot remove any non-aluminum parts on the item without damaging it, this option may not be a good one.
Clean the item with a mild detergent and water.Dilute in the mild detergent in water so it is not too harsh on the cast aluminum item. You can dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the solution or a non-abrasive pad and use it to scrub off any residue or dirt on the item.
Maintaining the Cast Aluminum Item
Wash cast aluminum furniture before storing it for the winter.You should get into the habit of cleaning your cast aluminum furniture before you store it away as this will help to maintain the finish on the furniture. This will also prevent the build up of corrosive pollutants on the surface of the furniture during the winter months.
- You may also want to cover the furniture with covers made of breathable material to protect the furniture when it is not in use or stored away.
Clean a cast aluminum pan right after it has been used.To preserve the finish of your cast aluminum pan, you should try to wash it as soon as it has been used. Avoid letting the pan sit out with residue and dirt on it for a long period of time. If you do not have time to clean it right away, you can soak it in a natural solution of cream of tartar and water so it will be easy to remove any residue from the pan later.
Fix any warped areas on the aluminum with a hammer and a piece of wood.One possible issue with aluminum is that it can warp due to improper heating or cooling. This can lead to dents, warps, and deformities on the cast aluminum. However, it is possible to fix any warps with a hammer and a piece of wood.
- If your cast aluminum pot has a warped bottom, for example, you can place the pot upside down on a towel that is laid out on a flat, sturdy surface. Place a wood block or scrap piece of wood over the middle of the warp, such as a 2x4" or a 1x4" block. A soft wood like pine works best, as it will not further warp the aluminum.
- Make small measured taps over the wood block with the hammer, working slowly and carefully to flatten out the warp. Avoid making any sharp, hard blows on the wood as this can lead to further warping of the aluminum.
QuestionI washed my slow cooker, but then it had little white spots on the sides. I did a soak with vinegar and water, (and ran the cooker so it was hot), but the little white spots are still there. What is this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat's aluminum's version of rust. You can try sand papering the bottom smooth or use a wire brush wheel on a drill to buff the entire bottom down. This will get rid of the pitting, unless it's really bad. Aluminum is toxic anyway, so you might want to think about just getting a new slow cooker.Thanks!
Video: My Secrets To Making Aluminum Look New Again!
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