State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500288
Aluminum Outdoor Furniture--Cleaning
Aluminum does not rust, but it will discolor and develop a pitted or
rough surface. Aluminum is affected by air pollutants. The surface will
appear to have fine grit stuck to the surface, but it will not wipe
away easily. If you observe aluminum storm windows and screens which
have been exposed to weather for a couple years you will see what
happens to aluminum outdoor furniture; the surface has oxidized.
Care will depend on the condition of the aluminum:
If surface is only mildly discolored, wash with soap and water, to
which some mild household acid has been added; lemon juice, vinegar, or
cream of tartar. Most water is slightly alkaline, so do not add
ammonia, TSP or soda. Wash as needed during the season; wash at end of
season. (Remember the darkening of aluminum pans when low acid or
alkali foods are cooked..it blackens. When acid foods such as tomatoes
are cooked in aluminum, it will become shiny.)
If surface is pitted, polish with a soap-filled steel wool pot cleaner,
rinse and dry. All steel wool must be removed or it will rust and stain
the aluminum. Wash and dry.
There are also a variety of commercial cleaners used for aluminum
surfaces on boats and automobiles which may help clean extremely dirty
Do not use commercial cleaners on anodized aluminum.
A coat of auto wax, or a silicon spray will protect aluminum from
corrosion and pitting.
Colored Anodized Aluminum:
Use only mild detergent and water to wash anodized aluminum. Rinse
well. The anodized finish resists corrosion.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with references from Mary Ellen Delsipee and Isabel Jones, Previous
Extension Specialists, and the Aluminum Association.
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This information is for
educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension.
Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product
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employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender,
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status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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