Aluminum pots, pans, utensils and even sinks can become dull over time. This tarnish is innocuous and caused by the metal's natural reaction to oxygen. But fear not, you can get the shine back with some DIY and store-bought cleaning products.
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Cleaning Aluminum Pans With Apples
You can create a simple and all natural cleanser with two ingredients. DIY Network suggests using apple peels since the acid in the apples helps remove stains. First, bring water to a boil in the stained aluminum pot. Place apple peels in the boiling water. Next, turn the heat down and let the apple peels simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Dump out the water and apple peels and allow the pot to cool. Rinse out the pot with dish soap and water. It should look and smell fresh and clean.
Polishing Aluminum Pans
When cleaning the outside of aluminum pots and pans, Bob Vila suggests using a nonabrasive metal polish. Always follow the instructions carefully to prevent damaging the metal. Aluminum is sensitive to certain chemicals. DIY Network recommends using Brasso, Bar Keepers Friend or silver polish as cleaning options for aluminum pan black residue.
Homemade Cleanser Recipe
One of the best ways to clean aluminum pots is with a homemade cleanser with a few simple ingredients. DIY Network recommends a recipe consisting of 1 quart of water, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Adjust the recipe depending on the size of your pots and pans. Pour this mixture into the pot and bring it to a boil for approximately 10 minutes. Next, move the pot and rinse out the cleanser. Allow the pot to cool. Once cool, wash the pot out with soap and hot water. If the stain is especially stubborn, you can scrub it with a steel wool pad. Cleaning aluminum pans with vinegar is very effective.
Read more: The Properties of Steel Wool
Using Lemon Cleanser
A similar variation to the homemade cleanser includes lemon juice. Bob Vila mentions a recipe where for every quart of water, add 2 tablespoons of a cleaning agent of your choice: white vinegar, cream of tartar or lemon juice. Bring the solution to a boil and let it simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
The pot should begin to look cleaner and shinier as the minutes pass. Pour out the solution and wash the pot out with soap and water. You may need to use a nonscratch sponge to get out more stubborn stains. Dry it off with rags or a dish towel. Your pot's natural shine should return and look good as new.
Create a Baking Soda Cleanser
You can create a baking soda paste that will help with discoloration. HowStuffWorks states that you can make a baking soda paste by adding a small amount of water to baking soda. Gradually add water to keep the substance paste-like. This can be used with a synthetic scouring pad to polish both cast and sheet aluminum. This all-natural alternative can really bring out the sparkle.
While tarnish is common, there are several ways to prevent it. To avoid discoloration, HowStuffWorks recommends not letting aluminum cookware soak in soapy water for long periods of time. They also warn against washing aluminum pots, pans or utensils in a dishwasher; hand wash them instead. This will help your pots and pans wear well.
You can use a variety of DIY cleaners and some store-bought products to restore the color and shine to your aluminum cookware. Your pots and pans will thank you.
Read more: How to Clean Tarnish From Aluminum
Meg Scanlon earned a Masters from Johns Hopkins University. Her writing can be found on Hunker, Cuteness, Funny or Die, BarkPost, Taste of Home, LoveTV and ALittleBitFunny.com.