How to Remove Rust Stains on Aluminum Pans

What You'll Need
Baking Soda
A Knife
A potato
Washing up liquid
A soft cloth
Silver Polish

If you own aluminum pans, they may have rust on them. Rust can be unslightly and can build up over time. Often it is caused by cooking highly acidic foods in the pans on a regular basis, such as apples, rhubarb, asparagus and tomatoes. If you do find you have rust on your aluminum pans, do not use them until all rust has been completely removed. However rather than throwing away the pans, there is a simple way to remove the rust and extend the life of your pans. Here is a simple guide showing you how to remove the rust from an aluminum pan in a way that is both easy and inexpensive.

Step 1 - Preparing the Cleaning Paste

Mix a teaspoon of baking soda and a small squeeze of toothpaste together with enough water to make a thick paste. The baking soda and the toothpaste are mildly abrasive cleaners that are eco-friendly and safe to use on food products. They can be purchased from most supermarkets.

Step 2 - Preparing the Potato

Using the knife, cut a potato in half to expose the middle. Potatoes are mildly acidic and are a good tool for cleaning stains. Dip the potato into the cleaning paste you have prepared and cover the inside of the potato completely.

Step 3 - Treating the Rusted Area

Rub the potato completely over the rusted area and leave the pan to stand for twenty minutes. This will give the cleaning paste time to work and break down the rust ready for cleaning. There are some other cleaning products available on the market for removing rust from aluminum pans. If you are thinking about using these, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully.

Step 4 - Cleaning the Aluminum Pan

When you have removed the rust from the aluminum pan you will need to thoroughly clean it. Use hot water and washing up liquid to do this. Do not put your pan in the dishwasher as this will damage the pan. Do not leave your pan to soak either as this can remove any protective coating that is on the pan or cause a Teflon coating to flake. Dry the pan afterwards with a soft cloth.

When you are washing aluminum pans, do not use scouring pads, steel wool or any other abrasive cleaners or cleaning solutions as these can cause scratching and damage. If you have burnt on food that is stuck to the pan, make sure this is fully removed as it may cause rust and further oxidization. Do not use a scraper however as you will risk scratching the pan causing further damage. 

Step 5 - Polishing the Aluminum Pan

Use silver polish and a soft cloth to give your pan a layer of protection afterwards. This will also help to keep the pan shiny and looking new. Make sure you rinse the pan thoroughly once you have polished it.