How to Use Jewelers Rouge to Polish Aluminum

Buff aluminum to a shiny finish with jeweler's rouge.
Buff aluminum to a shiny finish with jeweler's rouge. (Image: Creative Crop/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Jeweler's rouge achieves stunningly smooth results when used to polish metals. The rouge comes in several colors, each of which represents a different grit. Powders of varying fineness make up the rouge compounds. The best color for a specific project depends on the metal, its condition and the smoothness of the sheen desired. According to jeweler's rouge manufacturer Schaffner Manufacturing Co., white "produces a clear, brilliant, mirror-like finish" on aluminum. However, you must first polish scratched aluminum with a grittier jeweler's rouge and then re-polish it with progressively finer-grit rouges until you've removed the scratches; then apply a finish polish.

Things You'll Need

  • Clamps
  • Buffing wheel drill attachment
  • Power drill
  • Non-scratching cloth

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Clamp the aluminum to a workbench or table, leaving the part you plan to polish exposed and easily accessible.

Attach a buffing wheel attachment to a power drill.

Apply a small amount of rouge to the wheel by touching it to the rouge as it spins.

Touch the spinning buffing wheel to the part of the aluminum you plan to polish. Move the wheel back and forth over the surface using light, even pressure.

Apply additional rouge to the buffing wheel as needed.

Continue buffing until you have polished the entire surface.

Repeat with a finer-grit rouge if you desire a shinier surface.

Wash the aluminum in warm, soapy water to remove any rouge residue. Dry with a soft, scratch-free cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • For badly scratched aluminum, sand the scratches out with sandpaper before polishing the piece with jeweler's rouge.
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