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How do I clean aluminum step plates

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Wayne mcMichael, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. I put the plates in the dish washer and instead of shining they turn dull grey ! I was told wheel cleaner and it did not work ! I was told vinegar and baking soda and it did nit work. I can't use Mothers because of the diamond pattern which is very raised. Is there an old fashioned method to clean and shine ?
    Thanks Wayne
  2. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    The dish washer(with I assume dish washer detergent) will etch aluminum and kill the shine. Same same on that highly acidic wheel cleaner. Vinegar plus baking soda makes what is basically salt water, and in combination don't do much of any thing.
    Shine comes from a smooth surface. Your options are polish the smooth parts and paint the diamonds, buy new ones, have them chrome plated, or learn to live with what you have. The only way to dip aluminum and make it really shine is to dip it in a big bucket of elbow grease.
  3. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,456


    Easiest way would be a Mothers PowerBall.

  4. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,979

    from Berry, AL

    On the big trucks, we use a product called "aluminum brightner", which is in fact, an acid cleaner. It will turn polished aluminum a whitish color, but it will clean it. If you want it to shine like chrome after that, you will have to polish it out again. If it's not too bad scratched up, a liquid jewlers rouge will do it, but if there are a lot of deeper scratches, you will probably have to buff it with a coarser compound, then work you way to the finer rouge. A powered buffer helps a lot, otherwise it's elbow power! :D

  5. blackanglia
    Joined: Oct 6, 2008
    Posts: 92


    Hollywood's Metal Polish and Mothers Power Ball works great on checker plate, they use it up here on the fire trucks.
  6. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,717


    elbow grease and Never-Dull.
  7. Aluminum cleaner or a acid will in fact brighten it up, however on something that's to be polished I don't use it, my experience is it doesn't hold a shine as long after using acid. They will have to be polished now that they are dull, lots and lots of rubbing by hand, or as said use an electric polisher, not a grinder, and cotton pads with tripoli to start and jewlers rouge as the finish step. Power balls work good to maintain the shine, however not good for heavy cutting.
  8. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,669


    Purple stuff works well on aluminum, but that's just for a preliminary deep cleaning.
  9. X2 on elbow grease and Never-Dull.
  10. Any sort of degreaser, purple stuff, spray nine etc will etch aluminum if left on too long
  11. mustang6147
    Joined: Feb 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,847

    from Kent, Ohio

    If you live near a truck wash, they might spray it down with Aluminum Bright.... or 3rd the elbow grease and never dull...
  12. Depends on how much time you want to spend to maybe get them to look fair, I'd opt for some new ones and chalk it up to a lesson learned. I bought mine for $ 50.00 for the pair, polished aluminum with the Ford oval. Got them at Templin Old Time Auto in Wisc. They sell all Model A Ford stuff, nice people. Throw your old ones on the swap meet table, they'll bring about $20.00, maybe $ 25.00. You can't clean them for the difference new ones cost.
  13. Vimtage Iron
    Joined: Feb 28, 2010
    Posts: 552

    Vimtage Iron

    A little acid bath and then a liquid polish using a small square of medium pile carpet cleans in and around the diamonds no problem.
  14. This is an acid too, but go to your local Heating and Cooling supply and ask for A/C coil cleaner. I have used it on everythiing from centerline wheels to my Avion camper. While it will not polish, it will clean it. I would try to change how long you leave the stuff on before you hose it off. I found the longer you leave it on, the whiter the aluminum gets. If you just leave it one for a little, it makes it brite with out to much effect on the shine.
  15. I can't say what product my dad used, but he used a Mother's Power Ball to apply it on his diamond plate aluminum p/u truck box when he moved it from his old truck to his newly purchased truck. Made it look brand new again.
  16. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    Soaps(like ordinary dish soap) won't dull shiny aluminum, but detergents(like ordinary laundry detergent) will. Acid aluminum cleaners will dull shiny aluminum. Acid aluminum cleaners will brighten really dull aluminum but not make it shiny. The only way to make aluminum shiny is some form of abrasive tumbling or buffing.
  17. nali
    Joined: Sep 15, 2009
    Posts: 828


    Autosol works great.

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