How to Polish Pitted Aluminum

Written by michelle raphael
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Pitted metals like aluminium require extra attention when polishing to a clean finish, as they tend to catch and gather the polishing compound as you are working. The pitting is a result of corrosion in the surface of the aluminium, which leaves slight bumps and valleys in the metal. You can easily work with this sort of damage to allow for a smooth and complete polishing job.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Scouring pad
  • Degreaser
  • Painter's foam abrasive pad
  • Stainless metal buffing compound set
  • Buffing wheel
  • Power buffer
  • Aluminium polish
  • Chamois cloth

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  1. 1

    Remove any accessories or hardware that is attached to the aluminium so you are able to access the entire piece. Clean the aluminium thoroughly with a scouring pad and degreaser until all of the dirt and grime is removed.

  2. 2

    Rub the aluminium down a with a foam abrasive pad designed for painting, focusing on the pitted spots. Keep on rubbing the aluminium until the pits have disappeared.

  3. 3

    Clean the aluminium again with the cloth to remove any particles and check carefully for any remain pits. Lightly rub the areas again where the pitting persists and clean the aluminium again.

  4. 4

    Apply a coarse stainless buffing compound to a buffing wheel for a power buffer. Run the wheel all over the aluminium until the entire surface has had compound worked into it.

  5. 5

    Put the next compound onto a clean wheel and buff the aluminium in the same way. Do this for each of the compounds, working up until the finest compound you have.

  6. 6

    Clean the aluminium again and finish it by polishing it with an aluminium polish and a chamois cloth. Buff the aluminium by hand until it is clean and shiny all over.

Tips and warnings

  • Polishing kits with all of the needed tools can be found in some automotive stores.
  • Do not try to buff your aluminium before removing the grease or you will force it into the grain of the metal.

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