How to Clean an Aluminum Pans
Aluminum’s affinity to oxygen strengthens its resistance to corrosion but weakens its defense against chemicals. The formation of aluminum oxide (thin layer of dull gray matter) on the surface protects the metal but triggers the deterioration and discoloration of aluminum wares. This happens through constant exposure to air, contact with other materials and washing. When cleaning aluminum wares such as pans, the goal is to remove the dull gray layer and expose the bare aluminum underneath. Through such, wares are spared from stain, cloudy appearance and easily wearing out.
Clean and restore aluminum pans’ luster by following this procedure:
- Wash the aluminum pan with hot water and dish detergent.
- Completely scrape off all residues on the pan’s interior. To remove grease and burnt-on food, fill the wares with a few cups of water then bring to a boil. Let it cool for about five minutes then scrape off the deposits using a wooden spatula or a flat-edged utensil.
- Fill the pan with a solution of one part white vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar to ten parts hot water. Place over medium heat then bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 10-20 minutes to remove stubborn stains and discoloration.
- Drain water and let the pan cool. Rinse the pan with cold water at least twice.
- Wearing rubber gloves, thoroughly scrub the pan with a mild dish detergent using steel wool pads. Do this gently in a back and forth motion. Do not scour in circular motion to avoid an uneven outcome. Make sure to use only the finest grade of steel wool. Steel wool pads that are too abrasive tend to riddle aluminum wares with scratches. When using these, make it a point to apply the least pressure possible while maintaining that the wares are still cleaned scrupulously.
- Rinse the pan again with cold water at least twice.
- Clean the exterior with the same water solution. Wet a sponge with the solution and wipe down the pan’s exterior. Scrub gently but thoroughly to remove stubborn dirt and stain.
- Wash the pan with hot water. Make sure that to rinse the pan meticulously since acids such as white vinegar, lemon juice and cream of tartar are very sticky.
- Dry the pan and put away.
An expedient practice is to wash aluminum wares every after use. It prevents food from being mounted on the interior surface and subsequently much more difficult to remove. To preserve the aluminum pan’s appearance, the ware should be dried immediately after washing.
As much as possible, do not use a dishwasher when cleaning aluminum pans. Certain minerals in the water used in automatic dishwashers can cause further staining on the surface of aluminum wares. Hand washing is greatly preferable.
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