Aluminum Polishing Tips

Written by david arnold
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Aluminum Polishing Tips
Aluminium is frequently used to make car wheels. Because aluminium is soft, it is tarnishes easily, which is why polishing it frequently is essential. (Automobile wheel of Bentley closeup image by Georgiy Pashin from

Aluminium and its byproducts, such as potassium aluminium sulphate, have been used for thousands of years for building, healing wounds and dyeing fabrics. Currently, aluminium has hundreds of uses; however, most aluminium products come in the form of cans and vehicle components, such as engines and wheels. When aluminium becomes neglected and dirty, it tarnishes easily. Therefore, it is important to polish aluminium frequently to keep its look clean and classic. While it may seem easy to simply polish aluminium, there are a few tips and tricks you should take into consideration before attempting to polish any aluminium products.

Remove Aluminum Coating

When attempting to polish or restore aluminium that has began to tarnish or is resistant to traditional polishing tools, it is important to remove the clear coating that most aluminium products are treated with. Use an aircraft stripper or a furniture-grade paint stripper to easily remove the coating from the product without doing damage to the item. This will allow the bare aluminium to be exposed and ready for polishing.

Remove Scratches with Sandpaper

Polishing aluminium will not only enhance the metal's overall look, but it will also enhance any imperfections, such as scratches. Therefore, it is important to sand away any scratches before polishing. Opt to use 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper while it's wet so the aluminium particles can be washed off the sandpaper to prevent build-up and give more even sanding results.

Use Electric Buffers and Sanders

When sanding or performing the actual polishing of aluminium, opt to use electric buffers and sanders. Electric items such as buffers and sanders will produce a more even finish than hand-sanding and buffing alone. Additionally, utilising these tools will save on time and reduce the risk of polishing mistakes due to human error.

Use Mag Polish or Jeweller's Rouge

Always use a mag polish for aluminium finishes when polishing your aluminium products by hand. If polishing by machine, then use jeweller’s rouge instead. Jeweller’s rouge comes in a bar. Simply apply an ample amount to the buffing wheel itself while the wheel is on and spinning. This will give an even coat around the entire buffer. Apply light pressure to the wheel as it is pressed against the aluminium. Continue until the polished result is produced. For hand-polishing, add mag polish to a soft, lint-free cloth and apply in a circular motion until the mag polish has turned black or grey. Next, take a clean lint-free cloth and polish away any mag polish from the aluminium. The result will be a rejuvenated, gleaming aluminium product.

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