How to Use Vinegar on Aluminum

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A simple vinegar solution can restore the shine to aluminum.
A simple vinegar solution can restore the shine to aluminum. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Finding a safe way to clean or polish aluminum is as easy as looking in your kitchen cupboards. Aluminum may tarnish. Whether you want to restore its shine or prepare the surface for painting, vinegar will do the job without harsh chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Cream of tartar
  • Baking soda
  • Soap flakes
  • Water
  • Sponge or steel-wool pad

Tarnish And Grease Removal From Cookware

Mix 8 tbsp. of cream of tartar and 8 tbsp. of baking soda together in a bowl. Add 4 oz. of vinegar, stirring the mixture into a paste. Mix in 4 tbsp. of soap flakes. This mixture can last one or two years if stored in a tightly sealed jar.

Apply the paste to the aluminum surface using a sponge. If you are cleaning a badly tarnished area, gently rub with a steel-wool pad.

Rinse the aluminum with warm water. Repeat the process if necessary.

Stain Removal From Sports Equipment

Make a paste by mixing one part white vinegar with three parts baking soda.

Apply the paste to the aluminum equipment using a sponge. Scrub any stains or mud.

Remove the vinegar paste with soapy water. Rinse with water.

Mineral Deposit Removal

Fill your aluminum pot or teakettle with equal parts of vinegar and water. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Allow the hot vinegar and water mixture to sit for at least an hour to loosen the mineral deposits. For heavy deposits, leave the solution sit overnight.

Rinse the vinegar and loosened mineral deposits out of the aluminum container. It may be necessary to repeat the process to remove stubborn deposits.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when using steel wool on your aluminum surfaces. Aluminum will scratch.

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