The Dos and Don'ts of Cleaning Aluminum Cookware

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.08 - 2024 7:30 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
While baking soda is a household cleaning powerhouse, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution — especially when it comes to aluminum pots and pans. Discover the risks and safer alternatives for keeping your aluminum cookware sparkling.

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Baking soda has long been celebrated for its multipurpose cleaning capabilities, tackling everything from grimy sinks to stained countertops with ease. However, when it comes to caring for your aluminum cookware, it's time to pause and reconsider reaching for that all-purpose powder.

Baking Soda and Aluminum

Aluminum cookware, known for its heat conductivity and lightweight nature, requires a gentle touch when cleaning.

Baking soda, albeit effective for scrubbing away stubborn stains on various surfaces, poses a risk to aluminum. Its abrasive nature can scratch the metal's surface, while its chemical composition can cause oxidation. This not only damages the cookware but can also lead to unsightly discoloration, turning your shiny pots and pans a dull brown.

When Baking Soda is Necessary

Despite the warnings, there may come a time when baking soda feels like the only option left, especially for removing those pesky burnt stains that seem immune to everything else.

If you find yourself in such a situation, proceed with caution. Creating a paste of baking soda and water allows for a gentler application. Apply this mixture with a soft sponge or cloth, rubbing it gently into the affected area. It's crucial to rinse the cookware thoroughly afterward to prevent any baking soda residue from causing further damage.

Note: Before going all in with baking soda, it's wise to conduct a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area of your cookware. This step ensures that the aluminum won't react negatively, saving you from potentially ruining your pots and pans.

Safer Alternatives for Sparkling Aluminum

For everyday cleaning, steer clear of baking soda and opt for milder solutions.

A simple mix of dish soap and water can do wonders without risking damage. For a deeper clean, especially effective for tackling tarnish and buildup, consider using a solution of vinegar and water. Bring this mixture to a boil in the cookware, then let it soak.

This method not only cleans but can also help restore some of the aluminum's original luster without the harsh side effects of baking soda.

Note: Kitchen items where it's best to steer clear of baking soda for cleaning are dinnerware with gold plating, antique silver, ceramic stovetops, marble surfaces, and notably, aluminum cookware.

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