How to Polish Aluminum When it Is Painted

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Polishing a painted aluminum surface can be a daunting task or a breeze, depending on the particular object being polished. For example, working on wheels, with all their nooks and crannies, may be more labor-intensive and time-consuming than polishing aluminum furniture. Nevertheless, the general procedure is the same for all painted aluminum objects. The item must be thoroughly cleaned and prepared. Once this is done, it is ready to be polished.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Feather duster
  • Dish washing soap
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Lint-free towel
  • Garden hose
  • Automotive paste wax
  • Shop rags

Remove any dust from the object's surface. Depending on the size and type of item, a vacuum cleaner or a feather duster may be the best way to remove any loose dust particles.

Wash the item using a sponge dipped in a mixture of dish washing soap and warm water. Avoid using an abrasive pad. If the stains are particularly difficult to remove, use a stronger detergent, such as trisodium phosphate (TSP). TSP is a heavy-duty, non-toxic solution that works well on stains. It can be purchased at any hardware or home supply store.

Rinse the aluminum object with water, using either a garden hose or a clean sponge and bucket of water. Dry it with a clean, lint-free towel.

Apply automotive paste wax with a clean cloth. Dip the cloth in the wax. Use circular motions to work the wax into the finish. Allow the wax to dry to a white haze.

Buff the wax with a clean cloth. Use the same circular motions to buff the wax. Continue buffing until the white haze dissipates and you see a clear and shiny surface. Work on one area at a time, overlapping the areas until all the parts are buffed.

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