How to Clean Corroded Aluminum

By Brandon Getty

Aluminum is a durable, yet lightweight and malleable metal with a number of commercial and industrial applications. It is commonly used in the construction of bicycle frames, as housing for electrical wiring and as sheet metal for storage units. Depending on the roughness of the metal's surface, it has a bright silver to dim grey appearance. While it resists corrosion fairly well, long-term exposure to sun and moisture ultimately results in surface damage. You can remove most corrosion with common household items.

List of Items Needed

  • Dish soap
  • Plastic bristled brush
  • Towels
  • Handheld rotary tool with stainless steel brush and polishing wheel accessories
  • Lubricating oil
  • Metal polish
  1. Clean the corroded area of the aluminum using water, dish soap and a plastic bristled brush. Pat the area dry with a towel.

  2. Dip the steel brush accessory on your handheld rotary tool with lubricating oil, and apply the brush to the corrosion at a medium speed setting. For areas of tough corrosion, use a higher speed setting

  3. Wipe the area clean with a damp towel intermittently to check your progress.

  4. Wash the area clean using dish soap and a bristled brush. Dry the area completely.

  5. Replace the steel brush on your handheld rotary tool with the polishing wheel accessory. Apply a small amount of metal polish to the wheel, and buff the cleaned area and allow it to dry for the time suggested on the container.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can use steel wool in place of the rotary tool for corrosion removal, but this involves more physical effort.
  • Aluminum is a soft metal, and bits of corrosion and metal may clog your stainless steel brush during the cleaning process. Stop periodically to check your brush and remove any clogging particles.
  • Wear safety goggles while using the rotary tool on the aluminum.

© Demand Media 2011