Like many other metals, anodized aluminum temporarily loses a bit of its luster over time, especially if exposed to the elements. Dirt, pollen and pollution build up and dull the aluminum's finish. In many cases, regular household cleaners can be used to get that aluminum clean again. Aluminum with a severely pitted or damaged anodized finish may be cleaned but will still show flaws in the finish.
Things You'll Need
Non-abrasive household cleanser
Mild dish soap
Cart the aluminum outdoors, if it is not already outside. Rinse it with a garden hose; cleansers work better on aluminum when the aluminum is wet. If the aluminum piece contains other materials that cannot get wet, wipe the aluminum areas down with a damp rag. If you are cleaning cookware, rinse the pieces in the sink rather than outdoors with a hose.
Make a paste in a shallow bowl from a non-abrasive household cleanser and just enough water to get a paste-like consistency. The amount of cleanser depends on the surface area of the project; exact proportions do not matter.
Dip a nylon scrub pad into the paste and gently scrub the damp aluminum. Rinse the metal. Scrub areas that still look dirty with the paste and scrub pad, then rinse again.
Squirt a little mild dish soap into a bucket of water. Dip a scrub brush into the soapy water and scrub the aluminum. The soap helps remove any greasy, oily residues on the metal. Rinse the metal.
For an extra touch, apply an aluminum protectant designed for anodized aluminum over the surface after it is clean. Some protectants require first cleaning the aluminum with a solvent such as denatured alcohol.
Avoid harsh abrasives such as steel wool, which may damage the anodized finish or scratch the aluminum.