How To Polish Anodized Aluminum

Anodizing is an excellent aluminum finish till it is damaged. It is not an easy task to remove the old layer and polish it. It is an effective method to make a weather-resistant surface, and this layer will last for a long time and prevent tarnishing. But you have to replace and polish a surface when it becomes dull, scratched, and stained.

Cleaning of an anodizing surface is possible after its de-anodizing. It would be best to have electric current, dyes, acid baths, and follow some cleaning steps.

Aluminum is a metal that is possible to chemically de-anodize by using the right chemical. One of the usable and effective chemicals is sodium hydroxide. You can find it in crystal and liquid form and is easily available at any grocery store.

How To Polish Anodized Aluminum
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The Process of Polishing Anodized Aluminum

You may need some knowledge about how to anodize aluminum in a shallow pan, rubber gloves, eye protectors, drain cleaner, and warm water for the process of de-anodizing.

Step 1

You can fill the pan with warm water and add drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide) to it. For one gallon of water, 1 tablespoon cleaner will be enough. The water should be sufficient for dipping the piece. Your piece should completely dip in the water. 

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Step 2

Place the aluminum piece in drain water. Air movement is necessary over the pan because fumes are toxic. It may prove harmful to inhale them. When you see bubbles form on the piece, lift the aluminum piece out to remove the “smut”- a chemical residue that can form in this process. You can increase the quantity of cleaner if the process of de-anodizing is processing too slow. You should need to remove the smut to get a spotless surface of the aluminum piece.

Step 3

When flat color and piece uniformity appear, blemishes and stains disappear. It is time to take the piece out of water. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and let it dry for some time. Make sure there will be no residual anodized spots on the aluminum piece. Otherwise, you can extend the time, rub the piece, rinse, and leave it for drying.

Process of Polishing Anodized Aluminum

Step 4

By using 800 grit papers, you can sand the aluminum piece and remove scratches. Silicon oxide sandpaper may be more effective as compared to other sandpaper. It works faster and gives a long-lasting result on aluminum pieces.  Now polish the surface to look shinier and brighter.

Step 5

You can repeat the process. Otherwise, it may look soft. Polishing aluminum is not a straightforward task. It requires experience and expertise to perform this function. You may require some equipment to polish the aluminum surface. Coating and waxing can prove helpful to increase protection and may increase the life span of aluminum pieces.

Step 6

To prevent tarnishing, adding a coat of wax is suggested and proves effective for preventing staining. A spray of clear lacquer and enamel is also proving beneficial, and your piece can withstand the harsh and sturdy environment. Don’t touch the piece after spraying and let it dry completely.

How to Perform Cleaning Anodizing Aluminum

To get clear anodized aluminum, you must know how to anodize aluminum and the requirements for this process. You may need a sponge, cleaning detergents or soap, cloth towel, or tissue and wax to perform the brushing and cleaning process.

Cleaning Anodizing Aluminum

You can clean/brush anodizing polished aluminum by following some steps.

  • Brush the piece in one direction with cleaning soap and pads.
  • Dip and wash it with warm water and soap, using and scrubbing a sponge to make it free from dirt and grease.
  • You must achieve your desired look by scrubbing and cleaning.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and set it for dry.
  • You can coat it with beeswax and rub it with a clean cloth. You can apply a second coat and brush your aluminum piece again.

The Importance of Polish Anodized Aluminum

Anodizing is a method to change the surface chemistry of metals. It is a chemical conversion method and leaves a hard surface finish on your piece. It can apply to a wide range of materials such as aluminum, titanium, magnesium, and conductive plastics. It is durable, reliable, and a cheap process and protects against corrosion.

Anodizing can provide good corrosion resistance, and it is hard to remove it. Scrubbing the aluminum is good to make it clean and shiny.

The anodizing increases aesthetic beauty and provides resistance against scratching due to this reason. It uses in architectural fittings. The preparation of aluminum for anodizing starts with surface cleaning.

You need to thoroughly lean, rinse, and then you can place a solution such as sulfuric acid to clean its surface. Oven cleaner will also remove the aluminum anodizing, and it can use only for small objects. For oversized items, you may select another solution to clean them.

Importance of Polish Anodized Aluminum
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The advantages of polishing anodizing aluminum are numerous, and it can increase the durability and lifespan of aluminum. Some significant benefits are:

  • It is a unique finish available in the industry that provides a superior quality aluminum finish.
  • It is suitable for color stability and also can withstand UV rays.
  • It is cost-effective and beneficial for many operations and maintenance processes.
  • Anodizing polishing aluminum is easy to repeat, and it is easy to clean with mild soap and water.
  • You can use mild abrasive soaps or cleansers for more arduous coats.
  • It doesn’t rust and can react with oxygen. When it is exposed to air, it can form an aluminum oxide layer. This layer provides extra protection against corrosion.
  • Hard anodizing can also provide more corrosion resistance and wear resistance. It is costly but gives you better results.
  • The cost of clear anodized aluminum and anodized aluminum polish combine to give you more practical value for your parts and give long-term effects.
  • Aluminum anodizing can decrease the color variations and allows the material to maintain its appearance. It also offers a large number of glosses.
  • Polishing anodizing aluminum is a safe method and doesn’t harm health. It is chemically stable, non-toxic, and heat resistant at melting points.

Conclusion

Anodizing can produce a uniform and regular coating that prove susceptible to chemical dissolution in the presence of high and low-pH chemistry. Anodizing finish made aluminum the most widely used and valuable material for the manufacturing of industrial, commercial, and consumer products. It is safe for the environment and doesn’t have harmful effects on the earth.

Anodizing is a process that can convert the metal surface into a durable, decorative, and anodic oxide finish. For anodizing, aluminum metals are one of the most suitable metals and can improve lubrication, adhesion and increase corrosion resistance. However, the strength of aluminum can’t increase with the anodizing process.