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Need help cleaning/polishing aluminum cookware

+++++

Q. Hi,

I've read several of the editorials regarding aluminum refinishing/polishing, but I don't see anything regarding aluminum cookware. I have been given and purchased several pieces of aluminum cookware. Some of my pieces have pitting and utensil scratches inside of them. Others have years of baked/cooked on grease and goo on the outside. Still others are just dark from who knows what. I'm trying to find the best way to clean and possibly refinish (or remove the majority of the scratching and pitting) on the inside of my pots. I would also like to find the best way to clean the grease and goo from the outside and restore them to there former shiny finish. The outside of my pots are what some people call hammered aluminum finish. I'm not sure how to best describe the outside but it looks like indentions on the surface. I've tried scrubbing with a brass bristle brush and steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler]. It doesn't remove any of the pitting and scratching on the inside and very little of the goo and grease on the outside. The indentions seem to fill up with the grease and goo. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Heather Hammock
hobbyist - Allons, Tennessee


+++++

A. 5% Citric acid solution?

Marc Banks
Elizabeth City, North Carolina


+++++

A. To clean the inside of the pans you could try soaking it with a mixture of Cream of Tartar and water. It won't remove the scratches and pitting but it should remove any discoloring. As for the outside of it you could try a industrial strength orange cleaner. These usually remove grease build ups with a little bit of old fashion elbow grease.

Tera Sandon
- Mankato, Minnesota



July 4, 2010appended

Q. How about Cream of Tartar to clean old hammered aluminum cooking pieces? I see this mentioned now and then in various places. Thanks, Ann

Ann Hollander
- Frederick, Maryland


June 14, 2011

thumbsup2 Thank you for the advice.

After putting a Kenwood mixer's aluminium 'K' beater in the dishwasher, it came out black. Just handling it turned my fingers black.

I tried washing and scouring it but just made my hands, the scourer and the washing-up bowl black.

Researched online, found this site, and then tried scrubbing it with a nylon scourer in a Cream of Tartar solution. It worked a treat and it has come up all shiny! Excellent!

(My wife reckons that pot of Cream of Tartar had been in the cupboard since at least 1999!)

Simon Reed
- Warrington, Cheshire, UK

Cream of Tartar



June 16, 2011appended

Q. I recently acquired a cast aluminum juice king from an estate sale. It's beautiful, but I put the cup in the dishwasher and it came out with a grey film that I can't seem to scrub off. Any advice on how to clean it so I can use it again?

Rachel Gustafson
vintage kitchenwear lover - Bloomington, Minnesota USA


June 16, 2011

A. Hi, Rachel.

Never put aluminum in a dishwasher. Most dishwasher detergents ere extremely alkaline and readily pit and discolor aluminum. Please try the cream of tartar suggestion above. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


January 5, 2011

thumbsup2Thank you Ted! My sister in law boiled some t-shirts in my aluminum stock pot. It was a wedding present my grandmother received when she married in 1925, and the only thing I have of hers. She put homemade lye soap in the water, and my pot turned BLACK inside. I thought it was ruined. I boiled it with vinegar and scrubbed it with sos pads. It looks like new, and I'm not threatening to remove her from the family any more! Thanks again.

Vickie Gower
- bethlehem north carolina

January 5, 2011

Hi, Vickie. Thanks for the happy news, and for the feedback. I feel better about what we post here when people come back and tell us what happened when they tried it. Readers may wish to see letter 22551 for more info about the boiling with vinegar approach.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


+++++appended

Q. I have purchased some cookware on e-bay but it is dull and shiny. Is there some type of cleaner to make it shiny again or some "do at home" remedy that I can use?

Thanks,

Sandra Morris
- Kenner, Louisiana


+++++

Q. Several years ago I was given three very old hammered aluminum bowls, which, at that time, I needed to used for baking. I have just finished soaking them and cleaning them in a dish soap solution with about 2 tablespoons of bleach added. It has completely removed the grease that was baked on, but now the bowls are darker where the grease was. Is there a way to remove the darkening and then to polish them up a bit?

After reading the other responses on this question, I am now going to try a baking sodaamazoninfo paste, but I'm not completely optimistic!

Thanks so much.

Jean Henderson
- Willimantic, Connecticut


+++++

A. Look into the citric acidamazoninfo solution, Jean. I think the baking soda is unlikely to help.

Bleach is very highly alkaline (to keep the chlorine in solution), and as a result it rapidly dissolves aluminum. This leaves a disproportionately high concentration of copper or the other alloying materials from the aluminum alloy on the surface, and that's the cause of the black color. Baking soda will not dissolve this copper, but citric acid may (even though citric acid is not usually recommended for cleaning aluminum).

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 26, 2009

thumbsup2Thank you so much, Ted Mooney! The citric acid worked great on my caked on popcorn grease. I make popcorn in my aluminum pot on the stove and the grease was stubborn.

I reached under the sink and used my Veggie Wash which is organic citric acid that I use to was my fruits and vegetables. Thanks, again, for your advice. It worked.

Judy Serafano
- St. Clair Shores, Michigan


+++++++

Q. My guardian service was left outside and suffered the consequences. Please help! What is the safest way to remove the rust?

Thanks,

Brenda J. Alban
Consumer - Parkville, Maryland


+++++++

A. Hi, Brenda. Only ferrous cookware (cast iron and stainless steel) can actually "rust" because rust is the corrosion product of iron. Is this cookware aluminum that is corroded in some similar fashion (pits, white spots, black stains)? There's some good advice on this page for restoring aluminum cookware. But maybe it is cast iron or stainless steel? That would probably benefit from a different approach. Thanks.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

+++++++

Q. I collect antique hammered aluminum serving pieces at flea markets and would like to know how to clean them. Thank you.

Judy Becker
- Seeley California


March 9, 2010

A. I've found great results cleaning my mother's 1940 set of aluminum cookware. Her set was entirely black on the outside from daily use for 60 years. I put the pieces in my self cleaning oven and cut in on the three hour cycle. They come out perfectly clean, but a little ashy. I then wash them and season them with oil much like cast iron. I also will leave my pizza stone in the self clean cycle when I want it to look brand new. We also solved the warped bottoms of my mom's cookware by putting the pieces on hot coals of a campfire, heating the pots and them covering the bottoms with a board and hammering with a sledge hammer....each pot is now perfectly flat and can be used on a glass stove top.

Marsha Johnson
- Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina


April 26, 2014

!! Hi All, This is just a kind Warning for the pizza brick in the oven post. I left mine in accidentally. The oils rise up and because the oven on self cleaning gets so hot it ignited a flame and set the oven on fire. It was locked and I could not open it. The oven and the Mircro hood were screaming with alarms and billowing with smoke. Just in case this ever happens. The firefighters immediately unplugged the appliances. (Wasn't thinking, shuffling the kids out.)

Kathleen Lewis
- Palmdale, California, USA


May 13, 2010

A. I clean pots, pans and roasters all the time. I love to go the thrift stores and ebay to buy these items. It appears that I buy the greasiest, most burnt up, baked on gooked up cookware there is. However, it is a joy for me to see just how clean and beautiful these items are once cleaned.

I found a round Guardian Roaster in a thrift store and, get this, for $10.00 with $5.00 off. I was elated. The roaster was as I described above except for the "most burnt up" part. I was afraid to clean it as I normally clean my other cookware such as stainless steel and enamel. So; I tried to clean it with just an SOS pad since I didn't have any aluminum cleaner. Of course, this had some effect but not much.

I decided I would clean it using Easy Off. Although, on the Easy Off can it doesn't mention aluminum as being one of the products to use it on. I sprayed the Easy Off on the roaster and just let it stay on long enough for me to see the Easy Off turn brown from the grease and gook. Then I used one of those sponges with the scouring pad and scrubbed it all over. Once I got it cleaned with the Easy Off, I used a SOS pad to scrub the roaster again. You can't imagine how clean and beautiful this item came. Easy Off is not usually used on aluminum. But I have also used it on aluminum skillet and then scrubbed them with a SOS pad.

You can also use comet and if the aluminum has turned dark from the Easy Off the SOS pads, Brillo Pads, and Comet will shine it right up. Try it, I promise you that you won't be disappointed. I certainly don't think so, if fact I know you won't.

Joyce Branch
- Naperville, Illinois, USA

Easy-Off
(12-pack)


Thanks for the highly detailed help, Joyce!

But readers: please don't extrapolate. While Easy-off cleaned Joyce's heavy cast aluminum cookware to her satisfaction when used judiciously, it's strong stuff that can quite quickly destroy thinner aluminum, or the finish on polished aluminum.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Ted, that is why I said let it stay on just long enough to see the brown gook start to dissolve (which is immediately). The only difference I see in my pan is the cleanness. Easy Off didn't harm my pan and it is part of the Guardian collection.

Joyce

Joyce Branch
- Naperville, Illinois, USA


thumbsup2Hi, Joyce. I wasn't arguing your advice. There's so much stuff on the internet that I often just quickly then run with something and I just wanted to warn other hasty readers to pay attention to the details that you offered them. Thanks again.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 25, 2011

Q. Does cleaning my Aluminum ware in a self cleaning oven really clean the outside of my items? How detrimental is it to my Guardian ware? ALSO I have bought a lid to one of the tri-pots but has a film inside the lid that doesn't seem to want to clean off, it is sort of a opaque could someone give me a clues as to how to clean it ? Can the glass lids go in the dishwasher?

Sharon Brooks
- Bristol, Connecticut USA

October 24, 2011

Q. Hello,
I just literally stumbled across some of my fiance's grandmother's aluminum cookware in a box in the basement (we live in her old house). The basement flooded at one point and the cookware has this crumbly, white stuff all over it (I assume from the well water drying on it?). When I scrub it with an SOS pad and mild dish washing soap the white stuff is replaced with dark stains. It's very hard to get all the roughness off. Is there anything I can do to clean it all the way? There is a beautiful roaster with an aluminum lid I would love to use!!

Bridget Berry
- Crownsville, Maryland

July 1, 2012

A. I severely burned spaghetti sauce with meat into my vintage cast aluminum dutch oven. This 45 year old pot is one of my favorites. Just before throwing it out, I put a dishwasher soap tablet in it and boiled it gently on the stove. All of the burned sauce and meat came off.

Nancy McGinty
- Ellijay, Georgia, USA


July 2, 2012

Hi Nancy.

Glad that it worked, but I personally wouldn't use a dishwasher tablet on aluminum. Some of them are highly alkaline and will attack aluminum as well as the burned sauce.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 4, 2012

Q. Hi, My son went to turn on my electric fryer without checking to see if there was any oil in it for frying. Consequently, it completely burned the bottom of the fryer which is aluminum. I tried a baking soda paste and scrubbed with a steel wool pad with no result. Any suggestions?

Sonya Balling
- Kaysville, Utah USA


November 30, 2012

Q. So I cleaned my pot with oven cleaner and now it has a ruined finish inside and out What do I do now. I don't care if it is ugly just as long as it is safe to cook in.
I had bought it at a garage sale and it was completely black with built up crude for about 30 years. Any chance to salvage it?

Carolyn Tilley
- Mandeville, Louisiana, USA


November 30, 2012

A. Hi Carolyn.

As long as the oven cleaner has been completely washed away, it's safe.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 18, 2012

A. If you cook tomatoes or rhubarb in the blackened aluminum pans/pots they will be shiny once again.

Jean Hodges
- San Antonio, Texas



December 29, 2012

Q. Hi, the tips for cleaning are welcome.
But, once cleaned, are pots like Magnalite safe to use if they are second hand and the interior is pitted?
Thank you

Reanada Darensbourg
- Euless, Texas, USA


December 31, 2012

Q. I just received a Magnalite aluminum cast roaster from my mother in law. There was no product literature enclosed. She told me not to worry about the protective film on the inside, but to cook it, empty, in a 300 degree oven. I've done as directed... twice!... but the film has only turned an opaque yellowish color and is now sticky and a little smelly (chemical smell). I'm guessing this film was applied by the manufacturer, even though the roaster did not arrive with any original packaging.

Does anybody know how I should remove this film? Should I cook it at a higher temperature? Or do I want to pull out a disposable scrubber and give some dish soap and elbow grease a try? Or will it take something a bit more industrial than dish soap?

And while I'm at it, once I get the coating off, what are the proper care instructions for a cast aluminum pan? I couldn't find any info on the manufacturer's website.

Thanks!

Anne Berry
- Sacramento, California


March 14, 2013

Q. I just bought a Wagner Ware 1911 Aluminum tea kettle that was used as a humidifier. The inside is in very good condition with some light calcium/lime deposits. The surface on the inside is a little textured, not smooth like a cooking pan. Can I use the vinegar and water boiling method to clean the inside? The pot does not have any pitting and I want to keep it that way. Thank you for your help.

Valarie Seibold
- Yorba Linda, California, United States


September 1, 2013

Q. I recently bought two antique hammered aluminum platters that are Farberware limoges. I would like to display them together. One of the platters appears to be cleaner and shinier than the other. How should I clean/shine up the dull platter? Thanks

Charlotte Erickson
- North Andover, Massachusetts
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


September 17, 2013

A. I see that a lot of people want to clean their aluminum pieces of cookware and related pieces. If you are cleaning an aluminum pot or other cooking utensil, you should note that the inside should not be cleaned. The natural oils that have been absorbed into the metal act as a barrier against sticking. If you do scrub it off, it should be re-seasoned to protect against cooking on raw aluminum. If the piece is a serving or ornamental piece which is not in contact with food, it can easily be cleaned with some automotive wheel cleaners which will also leave a protective coating to prevent oxidation.

Robin Thede
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada


October 6, 2013

Q. Just acquired a Magnalite pot that was bead blasted with aluminum oxide to remove film that was on it. Scrubbed it with scouring pad and cleaned numerous times with dish detergent but still has film on it. Is there a trick to this? Does it need to be polished?

Neal Trahan
- St. Martinville, Louisiana, USA
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


October 10, 2013

A. The blasting has roughened the surface to the point that a professional polisher with the best equipment will have a hard time restoring it if it can be done at all.

Likely you can buy a new pot cheaper.

jeffrey holmes Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
- Spartanburg, South Carolina


January 5, 2014

Q. I have an Imusa cast aluminum cauldron (caldero) that I used to burn some paper in. As a result the finish inside is ruined and it is discolored.
Imusa cast aluminum cauldron before

Can this pot be restored?

laura_taveras
Laura Taveras
- Salem, New Hampshire


January 7, 2014

A. Hello Laura,
I had a pot like this that had burnt gravy imbedded in the Aluminum. Try putting the pot on the stove with an inch or 2 of water and a teaspoon of table salt. Boil the salt water for 10 minutes, discard and let the pot cool. This will soften the burned area. Take cream of tartar (grocery store brand) and mix up a paste with warm water. You will want to wear gloves or you will have metallic fingernails! With the bottom of the pot still moist, apply the cream of tartar paste on a scotch brite pad and scour. You will notice a grey foam after scrubbing. You will have to remove a thin layer of the aluminum to get down to clean metal. You may have to repeat the scouring process a few times, but it should work.

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Malone, New York, USA


February 1, 2014

thumbsup2It worked as you said.

pot cleaned with cream of tartar

After three 3-oz bottles of cream of tartar and A LOT of elbow grease, I have gotten the pot to a much better place.

laura_taveras
Laura Taveras [returning]
- Salem, New Hampshire, USA


February 3, 2014

thumbsup2Hello Laura,
Glad we could help. Bet your wrist and arms are stronger now!

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Malone, New York USA


February 5, 2014

It was pretty intense! I worked on it over a period of a week or so. I left it on the counter w/ the cream of tartar in it and moistened it w/ water every few days when I was in the mood to scrub...

laura_taveras
Laura Taveras [returning]
- Salem, New Hampshire, USA



March 2, 2014

Q. I watched a video online that said clean Wagner Magnalite with Zep Purple Grease Cleaner. I did that and it did clean the inside, a dull finish AND streaks on the outside of the pot! How do I shine everything back to original shine?? Help!!

Elaine Callahan
- Nacogdoches, Texas


February 2014

A. Hi Elaine. Zep Purple is a powerful caustic similar to lye; it's for cleaning steel, and is unsuitable for aluminum per the Zep site's FAQs. You should relate your experience to whoever suggested it for aluminum pots and pans.

I'd suggest following Laura's advice. The only labor saving I'd suggest is to get a soft buff for a battery operated electric drill rather than scrubbing by hand. Today's battery drills are dangerously powerful though. Set the clutch lower and preferably use an old 9 or 12 volt drill.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 3, 2014

Q. So, just use Cream of Tartar on a little buffing machine? Will this turn it back to shiny?

Elaine Callahan [returning]
- Nacogdoches, Texas


February 2014

A. Hi. I don't have Magnalite and haven't encountered the problem personally. But, yes, you'll buff away the aluminum that was oxidized with a buff and cream of tartar. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 4, 2014

Q. I guess the question I should have been asking is "does aluminum Magnalite have a bright shiny finish to it naturally?" If so, then if I continue to buff the pan, it will be the shiny gloss all over, yes? I do not know if there was a shiny finish put on the outside of the pots and pans or if that was the natural finish of the Magnalite aluminum. Thank you.

Elaine Callahan
- Nacogdoches, Texas


March 2014

A. Hi again. "Shiny" is a relative term. Although pure aluminum can be mirror-polished so perfectly that it's used as a telescope mirror; magnesium oxidizes and turns gray quickly, so this cast alloy of aluminum and magnesium probably will never get mirror bright. But Laura posted before-and-after pictures, and I think that's what you can expect from cleaning old Magnalite at home.

"Magnalite" is also a relative term because it's a trademark and includes pots made in America since 1934, and pots made in China in 2014 -- it means whatever the trademark holder decides it means. We are not trademark attorneys and can't comment knowledgeably, but it also appears that there was/is a trademark dispute, with American Culinary Corp. making "Magnalite" here, and World Kitchens making it in China -- rendering it all even more confusing. If anyone can clarify my poor understanding of the trademark situation, I'd appreciate it.

Look at the Magnalite listings from American Culinary Corp. or World Kitchens to see how shiny it looks when new today, and look at the reviews on Amazon where some people feel the "Magnalite" they bought recently is excellent and others hate it as being nothing like the older pieces they have.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 4, 2014

Q. Appreciate your comments. My question is still "using cream of tartar and polishing with a buffer will bring back the "shiny" polish effect on the outside of the Magnalite pan?" Yes or No. Thank you.

Elaine Callahan
- Nacogdoches, Texas


March 2014

A. Hi. It is unlikely that there was ever a shiny coating on that pot, just the aluminum itself. Sorry, but my answer remains that shiny is a relative term, not a yes or no answer. Please look at the pictures that were suggested and decide for yourself whether they meet your definition of shiny. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 22, 2012

A. This is it, all you really need to know about getting all that burned on grease from Guardian Service -- or any aluminum for that matter...

I got some Gas Grate Cleaner from Sears. It comes in a little packet and you mix the packet with two gallons of boiling water in your sink or a plastic tub. Then you soak your Guardian Service in it. My pot was okay along the top, but along the bottom, it was awful. The directions say to soak the gas grates overnight. I put my pot in about three hours ago, and the water is now cool and very black. When I lifted it to check just now, all the grease just poured off. The pot does not look like it tarnished at all. Will let it soak a bit longer. But just think how this would work on regular gas grates? Drip bowls? Broiler pans? Wow!

If you don't have a Sears nearby, the name of the product again is Gas Grate Cleaner; the package says Made in U.S.A. by Elco Laboratories, Inc. 2545 Palmer Avenue, University Park, Illinois 60466
Part No. SR-100.

It's a wow!

Vickie Vaughn
- Emporia, Kansas, United States

Gas grate cleaner
(pack of 6)



August 2, 2012

Q. I have a mudpie cast aluminum serving dish. Someone put it in the dishwasher which removed all the shine. What can I do to get the shine back?

Lucy Jones
- Clayton, Georgia, Rabun


August 18, 2014appended

Q. I have an old Magnalite roaster that I inherited from my mother-in-law. I put it in the dishwasher and now it is pitted. How can I remove the pits and restore the roaster?

Janet Trotter
- Martinsville, Indiana USA


August 2014

A. Hi Lucy. Hi Janet. Unfortunately, once it has been through the dishwasher, there is no chemical "undoing" of the etching and pitting that has been created . . .
rubyiat

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."

- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

All that can be done is mechanically repolishing it to make the surface smooth again. If you can get a buffing attachment for your battery operated drill (Mothers Power Ballamazoninfo), and some Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polishamazoninfo, though, you should be able to fix it (don't use a plug-in drill or a drill too strong to handle surely). Best of luck and please let us know how you did!

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Is the dark deposit on Kenwood attachments that is caused by dishwashers poisonous?

August 18, 2014

Q. I put my Kenwood attachments into the dishwasher and have now, without realising until too late (I just finished making the cake...) that they have these dark deposits on them. The deposits are described in other posts to your blog, but not whether they are poisonous or not! Is the dark deposit on Kenwood attachments that is caused by dishwashers poisonous? That is, if I used the darkened attachments to mix a cake, is there poison in the cake? Many thanks.

Susan Iremonger
- Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


August 2014

A. Hi Susan. We have several long threads on here about the safety of aluminum cookware. My personal opinion is that it is completely safe, while some others feel it is unsafe; but safety is a relative thing, and nobody really knows either :-(

Please start with letter 22551, "Is there a danger in Cast aluminum cookware?", which talks about those dark deposits, and form your own opinion from the weight of evidence. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


August 19, 2014

Q. Hi, thanks for that suggestion of viewing items under whether aluminium cookware is safe or not. However my question wasn't about that specifically but only about the dark deposits that are on the attachments I put in the dishwasher. I am not asking if the aluminium cookware itself is dangerous itself (I understand that some people think it may be linked to Alzheimers, among other things, but that is not my question). I am really asking what actually are those dark deposits themselves, (not the actual aluminium item), and if these deposits are consumed, could they be harmful? I have read in one of the other posts that they may have copper in them - in which case, I guess they actually are poisonous. Have there been any studies of this? I would really like to know! Thank you for any responses!

Susan Iremonger
- Westport, Co. Mayo. Ireland


August 2014

A. Hi again Susan. The referenced thread suggests that these dark deposits are probably aluminum oxide dusts formed by the reaction of the caustic dishwasher detergent with aluminum (which is soluble in caustic); and that the deposit is dark because it is a small porous dust (when a surface is sponge-like, it doesn't reflect the light back).

I strongly doubt that any epidemiologist ever studied this because it is so hard to exactly define and delimit (realistically, how can you do a controlled study?) but if you can rub any of the dust off, it presumably does increase the quantity of aluminum you might ingest. Rather than trying to find a study on it, I think you should rub off what you can with paper towels and, if you're not making real progress (in other words, the paper towels continue to get gray), then either do the cream of tartar hand cleaning/polishing or the "Mother's" mechanical repolishing.

Some aluminum alloys (depending on whether the pot is cast or otherwise manufactured) might contain a small amount of copper (probably under a half of a percent), but while excess copper is not good for you, copper is not poison, in fact it's an essential nutrient. Best of luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



August 20, 2014appended

Q. I have an old Saftborn juicer that I am assuming is aluminum. The bottom pan, which holds the water for boiling, is very pitted, and I am wondering if there is a way to restore this to prevent it from getting worse. I got the pan on a garage sale, and am guessing that they must have let the pan dry out on the stove a few times to get these pits.

34157-2

Are they "poisoning" my juice, and is there anything I can do about them?
Thanks!

Rachael Vrieselaar
- Chilliwack, BC, Canada


August 2014

A. Hi Rachel. You should be able to tell whether it's stainless steel or aluminum from its weight, since stainless is 3X heavier; some stainless steel is also magnetic. Your pits are really deep! We appended your inquiry to a thread on the subject which attempts to answers your questions; if aluminum, try re-buffing it with the "Mother's" setup -- but they may be too deep to practically get out with equipment that it is relatively safe for an untrained polisher to use because you have to remove the metal which is above the bottom of the pit. But maybe you can at least smooth them out :-(

If it's stainless though, it will be way beyond the cutting power of a portable drill and aluminum polish. Please let us know how you do.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


34157-3 September 20, 2014

Q. I have a large pot which is porous and labeled at the bottom Household Institute Cooking Utensils Aluminum. I love this pan because my Italian sauce and meat does not stick to the bottom. I bought this at a flea market and not sure how to clean the inside. The inside of the pot is a dull gray and a few spots look white. My sister has the same pan as well and bought her pan as I did at a church sale and both of us have tried numerous ways to get the pans more of the original color. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Joanne

Joanne Eydenbereg
- Palm Beach Gardens, Florida


September 2014

A. Hi Joanne. You might clean it with the cream of tartar described above, but I'm pretty confident that the gray color you are seeing is the right color. Hard anodized aluminum is not metallic looking but is a soft charcoal gray; the "white" areas are probably where the anodizing has worn thin so you are seeing closer to the aluminum color.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



October 19, 2014

Q. I saw someone put gasoline in a large silver aluminum bowl as he had a hole in his gas tank. My question is what can this be cleaned with, and is it safe to put food in, or is it best to throw it away. Any answer would be appreciated.

Alice Jensen
- Mankato, Minnesota Blue Earth


October 2014

A. Hi Alice. I don't think anyone can answer your question really well. Certainly, you can get all traces of gasoline and oil out by repeated cleaning with detergent, sponges & plastic scouring pads. But can you ever convince your nose not to smell a faint odor of gasoline after the image has been burned into your eyes?

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 27, 2014

Q. I just made meatballs on an aluminum baking pan with a top with holes in it for the meat to drain. I didnt realize that I probably never put it in the dishwasher when I lived in Queens. So now that I did (I have moved to Florida), it has black stains all over it looks like it got burnt. I tried cleaning it tonight with comet and scouring pads it got a bit better but I REALLY WANT TO CLEAN IT AND HAVE IT BE all good. I am not buying a new pan. What can I use? Thanks, I will never put it in the dishwasher again :-(

DONNA SHARP
- DELRAY BEACH Florida


October 2014

A. Hi Donna. I guess I'd try the cream of tartar. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 27, 2014

Q. I will try the CREAM OF TARTAR THANKS WHERE DO I GET THAT
HARDWARE STORE OR FOOD STORE?

THANKS

DONNA

DONNA SHARP
- DELRAY BEACH


October 2014

A. Hi Donna. The spice aisle of the food store. But you might want to buy an 8-ounce or so jar on-line as an alternate to several tiny spice jars.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Cream of Tartar

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