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Cleaning and Polishing Aluminum Cookware

Category Metal
Some elbow grease may be necessary for shining pots and pans. This guide is about cleaning and polishing aluminum cookware.


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By 8 found this helpful
September 28, 2010

Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water.

By Ron from Cortez, CO

Comment Was this helpful? 8


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
February 7, 2011

How does one clean an aluminum baking pan that has baked on oil?

By Alice from Russell, MB. Canada


February 7, 20110 found this helpful

Use an SOS pad (a steel wool pad with soap in the USA) and lots of elbow grease.

truerblue in PA

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 8, 20110 found this helpful

Engine shampoo for aluminum blocks works fine. Spray it on, let it work for a minute or two, lightly scrub or agitate with a soft dish-washing brush or sponge, rinse with warm water. This does not dull the shine of polished aluminum.
It also works well on stainless steel.

Have FUN!

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February 8, 20110 found this helpful

I would make sure that you know what the ingredients are in the engine shampoo before using it in a cooking pan because chemicals do leach in to them that could be harmful to your health. TSP is safe for cleaning cookware but is not really environmentally friendly because it's not easily removable during sewer water filtration.


The safest way is to make a paste of baking soda and water, use a heavy duty scrubbing sponge and elbow grease. ;-)

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February 8, 20110 found this helpful

I take a cheap can of oven cleaner ($1) & spray a heavy coat onto the bad areas, then seal it in a plastic bag over night. The next day use rubber gloves & S.O.S. pad to remove the build up. Then make sure you wash it very well with dish soap & rinse, to get oven cleaner completely off for reuse. It may, or may not discolor the aluminum somewhat...but does not harm it. (I use this same procedure when cleaning my grill top every time I grill out.)

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March 7, 20110 found this helpful

The easy way for me is cheap. I put a drop of dish soap and fill pan with boiling water, and let it sit til it cools.


Very rare is the time when I have to do this twice but it works and no elbow grease needed.

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October 1, 2006

I have an older Presto pressure cooker and it is pitted in the bottom and stained badly. I got it at yard sale today. The stains in the bottom look black but also appear to be pitted. Is it possible to remove them? I have lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar with water inside now soaking. Any help will be appreciated.



October 2, 20060 found this helpful

I use ammonia for cleaning burnt on messes. Like the stove inserts under the burners. I place them in double or triple plastic store bags then pour a bottle of ammonia on them, tie the bag and let sit overnight. When I open the bag, CAREFULLY, not to breathe the ammonia, I remove the parts and begin using a scouring pad which easily removes the mess.


this might work for the pressure cooker, pour in some ammonia, put the lid on, without the rubber gasket and let sit. As for it being pitted, I do not know if it is safe to use, or not, but after cleaning, I would take a toothpick and try to remove anything left in the pits, just to see if it can be removed.

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By Grandma Margie (Guest Post)
October 2, 20060 found this helpful

If your pressure cooker is made of heavy aluminum (mine is !) you can try putting enough water in the pan to cover the darkened areas.....then add 1 or 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar. Heat this to a simmer and see if the dark stain disappears after 10 minutes or so. This is how I used to clean and shine up the inside of an old aluminum pan my mother had.

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By Katylou (Guest Post)
October 4, 20060 found this helpful

There is a product that is sold in Dollar General Stores called "The Works" bathroom cleaner. Apply just enough to cover the bottom of the pot, and a little hot water and let it soak for a while.


This product is also great at removing lime scale buildup from glass vases and ceramic flower pots.

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October 5, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks to those who responded. I will try to see if it works.
I love this site so much. Have been reading for a long time.This was my first time to post.

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October 16, 20090 found this helpful

Simple solution...put onion skin (2-3 layers including the outermost one), add water and heat the cooker and let the water boil for 20-30 minutes then you can just scrub it off easily.

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January 12, 20150 found this helpful

How do I clean the outside of an aluminum pressure cooker? The inside is clean, but the outside part has become reddish. How do I clean that?

By Arun


January 18, 20150 found this helpful

I found a product and Advanced Auto that is specifically for aluminum. You can't believe how it shines up aluminum.


It is called Mothers Mag and Wheel cleaner for aluminum. I have also seen it at Wal-Mart. I paid $6.99 for it. It is a cream in a small jar. Hope this helps.

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October 25, 20130 found this helpful

What is the easiest way to remove the burnt areas from my pan? I let my beans burn in it (was cleaning and forgot they were cooking) so it's kinda bad!

By Lois B.


October 25, 20130 found this helpful

My mum always puts a little bit of water in the pan, adds a lot of salt to it and then brings it to boil on the hob or until things start to dissolve.

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March 10, 20130 found this helpful

My aluminum pots are very dark. What can I use to restore the original color? My pots are over 40 years old. Is there an aluminum polish?



March 11, 20130 found this helpful

Rhubarb contains oxalic acid, which will scour an aluminum pot to shiny perfection. An iron pot will turn the rhubarb into malevolent black for the same reason.

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