How to Restore Shine to Aluminum After Dishwasher

Aluminum kitchenware, whether it be pots, pans, or utensils, can lose its luster after being subjected to the high heat and detergent action of a dishwasher.

This often results in a dull, chalky, or discolored appearance. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to restore shine to aluminum after dishwasher exposure,

Using simple yet effective methods that you can easily implement at home. With our step-by-step instructions, you’ll have your aluminum items gleaming like new in no time.

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How to Restore Shine to Aluminum After Dishwasher

To restore shine to aluminum after running it through the dishwasher, you can try using a mixture of water and cream of tartar.

Simply create a paste with equal parts water and cream of tartar, then apply it to the aluminum surface and scrub gently with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry the aluminum completely to reveal its shiny finish.

Another option is to use white vinegar or lemon juice as a natural cleaner for aluminum. Simply soak a cloth in either vinegar or lemon juice, then rub it onto the aluminum surface. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing with water and drying thoroughly.

This method can help remove any residue or dullness from the dishwasher cycle and bring back the shine to your aluminum items.


Understanding the Problem

When aluminum is washed in a dishwasher, it often reacts with the detergent and the minerals in the water, causing oxidation. This oxidation layer is what gives the aluminum that unattractive, dull finish. It’s crucial to address this issue promptly to maintain the appearance and functionality of your cookware.

Materials Needed

Before we dive into the restoration process, gather the following materials:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lemon juice
  • Soft cloths or sponges
  • Aluminum polish (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Restore Shine

1. Cleaning with Vinegar

White vinegar is a fantastic cleaner for aluminum due to its acidic properties.

  1. Mix Vinegar Solution: Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl.
  2. Soak the Aluminum: Submerge the dull aluminum item in the solution. If the item is too large, dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe the surface thoroughly.
  3. Scrub Gently: Use a soft cloth or sponge to scrub the aluminum gently. Avoid using abrasive pads as they can scratch the surface.
  4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the item thoroughly with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.

2. Polishing with Baking Soda

Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive that can help polish aluminum.

  1. Create a Paste: Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to form a thick paste.
  2. Apply the Paste: Spread the paste evenly over the aluminum surface.
  3. Scrub Lightly: Using a soft cloth or sponge, scrub the paste into the surface with circular motions.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Wash off the baking soda paste with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

3. Using Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another effective method to restore aluminum shine due to its natural acidity.

  1. Prepare Lemon Solution: Squeeze fresh lemon juice and mix it with an equal part of water.
  2. Apply and Scrub: Use a cloth or sponge to apply the solution to the aluminum surface. Scrub gently.
  3. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the item with warm water and dry immediately.

4. Cream of Tartar Method

Cream of tartar is an excellent agent for restoring aluminum.

  1. Mix with Water: Combine cream of tartar with water to create a paste.
  2. Apply Paste: Rub the paste onto the aluminum using a soft cloth.
  3. Buff the Surface: Buff the surface gently to bring back the shine.
  4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse off the paste with warm water and dry the item thoroughly.

5. Optional: Aluminum Polish

For an extra shine, consider using a commercial aluminum polish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Preventive Measures

1. Avoid Dishwashers

To maintain the shine of your aluminum kitchenware, it is best to avoid cleaning them in the dishwasher. Hand washing with mild detergent and warm water is more gentle and prevents oxidation.

2. Dry Immediately

After washing, dry your aluminum items immediately with a soft cloth to prevent water spots and oxidation.

3. Store Properly

Store aluminum items in a dry place to avoid prolonged exposure to moisture, which can cause oxidation.


Restoring the shine to aluminum after dishwasher exposure is straightforward with the right techniques and materials. By using common household items like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and cream of tartar, you can easily bring back the luster of your aluminum cookware. Additionally, adopting preventive measures will help maintain their shine for a longer time.

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