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How to Bring the Patina Back to Hammered Aluminum

Jennifer Moore

Hammered aluminum home decorative accents or serving ware make fantastic conversation pieces because of their handmade craftsmanship. These items, unfortunately, tend to fade and dull after time, making them look poorly made, and eventually cause the owners to no longer use or showcase the hammered aluminum piece.

Clean hammered aluminum to bring out its natural patina.

However, regular cleaning of the aluminum will bring back that patina shine hammered aluminum pieces are known for.

  1. Wash the hammered aluminum piece by hand using warm water and a mild dish soap mixture.

  2. Fill a pot with water and two tablespoons of cream of tartar. Place the pot on the stove to boil and add 2 tablespoons of lime juice to the mixture. Reduce heat to simmer. Place the hammered aluminum item in the pot and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the aluminum item from the pot and wash it using the mild dish washing soap and warm water mixture again. If the stains have been removed, dry the item with a soft lint-free cloth.

  3. Boil equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and place the aluminum item in the mixture to remove corrosion and lime deposits from the aluminum. Simmer again for another 10 to 15 minutes if the lime deposits and corrosion spots were not removed in Step 2.

  4. Remove the aluminum piece from the boiling mixture and buff with a soft lint-free cloth. Avoid over-polishing the piece, as aluminum should have a shine but not a high shine.

  5. Apply a special pewter polish which works for both pewter and hammered aluminum. This type of polish does not scratch the aluminum or dull it as silver polish does. Pewter polish can be found at retailers who sell pewter serving items. Avoid using silver polish on aluminum or pewter pieces.

  6. Allow the piece to dry. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and go over any polish stains or things you may have left with the polishing cloth. Proudly display your hammered aluminum piece again.

  7. Tip

    There are also dedicated aluminum cleaners on the market. See Resources.