What Will Bleach Do to Aluminum?

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Close-up of cleaning products and rubber gloves.
Close-up of cleaning products and rubber gloves. (Image: DoroO/iStock/Getty Images)

Bleach is one of the most common cleaning products, but you can’t use bleach on everything. You have to be careful about using certain chemicals like bleach in certain household applications. For instance, bleach can stain a metal like aluminum.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is commonly used in household applications. Contractors use aluminum siding to protect the exterior of homes. Consumers use aluminum foil to wrap up and store perishable goods. Some electronics contain aluminum components. Pots and pans are commonly manufactured using aluminum.

Bleach

Bleach is an oxidizing chemical that is used to disinfect and also to whiten fabrics. It is commonly used in household applications to clean white clothes and to disinfect surfaces. Bleach can be harsh when used at full strength, which is why it can cause permanent damage to fabrics if used improperly.

When the Two Meet

Bleach will not cause immediate corrosion or bubbling on aluminum foil or an aluminum surface. The bleach is not strong enough to eat away at the metal. However, bleach can change the color of the metal. After some time, the aluminum surface may darken or even turn black. So if you’re planning to clean a pot or pan that you want to keep silver and shiny, avoid using bleach.

Considerations

In certain cases, such as cleaning aluminum siding, using a detergent mixture containing a small portion of bleach diluted with water may not cause any damage to the surface. However to be safe, clean a small portion of the item with your cleaning mixture before washing the entire area. Do not allow the mixture to set on the surface for too long—rinse it thoroughly with water after cleaning.

References

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