Contains Harpic caustic soda

Clean aluminum with home remedies

Clean aluminum in general and during processing

There are many ways to process aluminum and aluminum sheet. For example, paint or glue the aluminum. To do this, however, the aluminum must be cleaned, as an oxide layer forms on the aluminum surface within a few minutes in the air.

Aluminum components in the household

This is contrasted with the cleaning of aluminum in the DIY environment and private households:

  • Racks, frames in the home and garden
  • Alloy rims on cars
  • Aluminum profiles for handicrafts
  • Aluminum components in the household (kitchen)

While different chemical and mechanical processes are used in the professional cleaning of aluminum during its further processing, do-it-yourselfers and private households are more likely to use household remedies.

This cannot be cleaned or removed with home remedies

But first a clarification: you can read again and again on the Internet that cleaning aluminum with household remedies prevents the oxide layer. As far as an unsealed or protected aluminum surface is concerned, that is completely wrong.

You cannot completely remove the oxide layer without it forming again within a few minutes. In addition, you cannot simply “wipe off” the oxide layer. To do this, you would have to pickle the aluminum.

You can only remove parts of the oxide layer. Many aluminum components are also protected anyway. Alloy rims, for example, by painting. So never grind aluminum rims. This also applies to painting aluminum sheet. It is important to ensure that the paint and primer are not completely sanded off, in order to prevent the aluminum from oxidizing.

Dirt is removed with home remedies

So when cleaning aluminum with home remedies, the only thing you need to do is remove dirt, grease and similar particles, not the oxide layer. In most cases, this is coated and thus protected aluminum, with which it is important not to destroy this protective layer. In other cases it may even be desirable to oxidize the aluminum in order to protect the surface.

Typical home remedies for cleaning aluminum

Typical home remedies that you can use to clean aluminum would be acetic or citric acid. This rubs the aluminum with a non-scratching cloth or sponge. Let the acids take effect and then rinse them off with clean water. Lemon or apple peel are also suitable for rubbing in, as they contain enough natural acid.

The citric acid also brings back the matt shine of aluminum. Another household remedy is also very suitable for cleaning aluminum: alcohol or ethanol. Here, too, the aluminum part is rubbed with the spirit. Let it take effect and then rinse it off with clean water.

Clean aluminum rims

Alloy rims pose a particular challenge. The hot brake dust literally burns into the likewise high-temperature aluminum rims. Brake cleaner would be a means of cleaning. You must also let the brake cleaner work, preferably overnight. But you can also use oven cleaner as a real home remedy. This also has to take effect for a long time. However, not every oven cleaner is suitable.

A distinction is made between two different compositions: based on caustic soda and based on ethanolamine. The latter oven cleaners are suitable. In addition, with aluminum rims, they are painted, so it is not the aluminum that is cleaned, but the paint. Therefore, you must never use this tip to clean an aluminum engine block or cylinder head!

You should never use this to clean aluminum

But there are also some resources in the budget that should not be used under any circumstances. These include scouring milk and other harsh cleaners. In addition, no cup brushes (made of wire or similar). Aluminum is a relatively soft metal and you could easily scratch the surface visibly.

You can even process aluminum so that it shines like chrome. To do this, you need to polish the aluminum to a shine. Then you have to either protect the surface with a sealing again or polish it regularly. For general protection of cleaned aluminum surfaces (even after removing the oxide layer) you can use silicone spray wax, for example.