How To Clean Aluminium (Without Scratching It!)

How To Clean Aluminium (Without Scratching It!)

Aluminium, the unsung hero of versatile metals, graces our homes across the UK in various forms — from sleek window frames punctuating our cityscape to robust garden furniture that withstands the ever-changing British weather.

It even finds its place in our kitchens, serving us dutifully in the form of trusty pans and utensils. Yet, for all its durability and resistance to rust, aluminium isn't invincible. Without regular cleaning and care, it can gradually lose its lustre, succumbing to the wear and tear of daily life, especially in the UK's variable climate.

In this quick guide, we're delving deep into the art of cleaning aluminium. We'll unveil straightforward yet effective methods to clean and maintain aluminium in various scenarios, ensuring that your items remain as brilliant and functional as the day they arrived in your home. What could be better than that?

So, whether you're dealing with aluminium window frames, garden furniture that hosts memorable gatherings, or humble kitchenware that fuels your culinary adventures, read on to discover how to make your aluminium sparkle again.

Why it's important to clean aluminium

Before we jump into the cleaning, let's discuss why it's essential. Aluminium is tough and resistant to rust, which makes it awesome. However, if you don't clean it now and then, it can lose its shine, especially when it gets rained on. If you're worried about that, it's important to make sure that you know the best cleaning approach. Now, let's break things down and explore how to clean aluminium in different situations.

How to clean aluminium

1. How to clean aluminium window frames

Aluminium window frames are super popular in UK homes because they look modern and cool. However, if you don't tend to them, they might start to look old and worn. To keep them looking spick and span, follow these simple steps:

You'll need:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Aluminium cleaner (if needed)

Cleaning steps:

  1. Make your soapy mix: Put a few drops of mild dish soap into warm water. You want to get a ratio of around three parts water and one part soap.
  2. Gently scrub: Dip a soft cloth or sponge in soapy water and gently clean your aluminium frames. Pay attention to any dirty spots. You should use a circular motion when you are attacking these areas.
  3. Don't miss the nooks: The truth is that some areas can be hard to get to. That's okay — we have the answer. For those hard-to-reach spots, use a toothbrush.
  4. Rinse and dry: Rinse with clean water and use a microfiber cloth to dry. This stops water spots and streaks.
  5. Extra help: If you have stubborn stains or your frames are dirty, try an aluminium cleaner from a shop.

2. How to clean aluminium garden furniture

Aluminium garden furniture is brilliant for UK gardens because it doesn't rust easily. However, they can get messy if you fail to clean these furnishings regularly. That is the last thing that you want. Want to learn how to clean outdoor furniture? Follow these steps:

You'll need:

  • Warm, soapy water
  • Soft brush or cloth
  • Hose or bucket for rinsing
  • Aluminium cleaner (for tough stains)
  • Wax or protective spray

Cleaning steps:

  1. Mix soapy water: Get a bucket and mix warm, soapy water. You should use the same ratios that we described earlier for this one.
  2. Scrub away: Dip a soft brush or cloth in the soapy water and scrub your garden furniture. Pay attention to any stains.
  3. Rinse thoroughly: Rinse with a hose or clean water from a bucket.
  4. Tackle stubborn stains: If there are really tough stains, get some aluminium cleaner from a shop or even online.
  5. Protect the shine: To keep your furniture looking fab, use a wax or protective spray, such as WD-40, made for aluminium. There are so many uses for WD-40 - take a look!

3. How to clean aluminium pans

Finding hacks to make your pots and pans look as good as new is a never-ending mission. Aluminium pans are kitchen staples in many homes. Here are some tips for cleaning with baking soda, which will keep them in tip-top shape. 

You'll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Dish soap

Cleaning Steps:

  1. Make baking soda paste: Mix baking soda with water to create a paste. The paste should be thick but still easy to spread. You will see why next.
  2. Apply the paste: Spread the paste over the pan, especially on stubborn stains. You want to cover these areas as thickly as possible.
  3. Scrub gently: Next up, it's time to get to work. Use a soft brush or sponge to scrub the pan, working on those stains.
  4. Rinse and dry: Give the pan a good rinse with warm water and dish soap. Make sure it's super dry to avoid water spots.

4. Polishing aluminium for a gleaming finish

Now that you know how to clean your aluminium, it's time to take things further. You want to make those household items shine. Sometimes, your aluminium stuff needs a bit of extra love to gleam.

You'll need:

  • Aluminium polish
  • Soft cloth

Polishing steps:

  1. Apply aluminium polish: Put a small bit of aluminium polish on the surface you want to shine. You should read the instructions to see what it says first.
  2. Buff it up: Use a soft cloth and gently rub the polish into the aluminium in small circles. You will see that the aluminium starts to change when you do this.
  3. Admire the shine: Keep buffing until your aluminium shines like new. The more hard work you put into it, the better the aluminium will start to look.

5. Cleaning aluminium kadai and utensils

Kadais are authentic fire bowls and are becoming very popular. If you have aluminium kadai or utensils in your garden, you'll want to keep them clean — even if you only use them once a year! Here's how you can do that:

You'll need:

  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Baking soda (for stubborn stains)

Cleaning steps:

  1. Soapy water: Fill your sink with warm, soapy water. You should use the same quantities that we described earlier in this guide.
  2. Scrub away: Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the kadai or utensils. Pay attention to any food bits or stains. These can stick on the metal and be tough.
  3. Stubborn stains: If there are tough stains, mix baking soda and water into a paste, apply it to the stains, and scrub.
  4. Rinse and dry: Rinse everything thoroughly and ensure it's completely dry before putting it away.

And there you have it, our ultimate guide to making your aluminium sparkle! Take these easy-peasy tips and set out to conquer dirt and grime. Now, work your cleaning magic, and may your aluminium always gleam as brilliantly as your smile when you see those shiny results. You may be surprised by how much your items glimmer now.

Want to learn how to clean other metals? Read our guide on how to clean stainless steel next! 


Did we miss something along the way? If you're looking for more answers, we've got you covered. Let's take a quick look at some of the frequently asked questions about how to clean aluminium. Here's what you need to know.

How do you clean a greenhouse frame?

Learning how to clean aluminium greenhouse frames doesn't have to be complicated. You can use our tutorial on how to clean garden furniture above. The steps that you will take will be the same. However, you will need to use a stepladder to get to the top of the frame here.

Does vinegar react with aluminium?

Yes. Aluminium will start to dissolve in vinegar as it is an acidic substance. So, when you spill this on your metal, you may notice that it starts to cause a real reaction. When that happens, you will see that there is damage to your aluminium objects.

How do you rejuvenate aluminium?

You can use the tutorials that we have outlined in the guide here. If you want to give your aluminium more attention, it is worth looking at polishing sets or sprays designed for the metal. You can use them to restore the shine of the metal.

Will ketchup clean aluminium?

The jury is still out on this use for ketchup. While there is anecdotal evidence that you can use ketchup to clean aluminium, you might want to think twice before doing so. This move can be messy, and there is no guarantee it will work. Instead, follow our simple step-by-step guides above to clean your aluminium surfaces and products.

What type of aluminium are you cleaning? Let us know in the comments below!

Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

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