Katherine asked: Why is it not advisable to use sandpaper or steel wool in cleaning aluminum pots and pans?
Though sandpaper is not a commonly used cleaning tool, steel wool is quite often used to clean aluminum pots and pans. Some worry that the steel wool will contaminate the alum and cause the piece to lose its original look. This pertains more to shiny aluminum on bikes and cars than pots and pans. Here are some tips when cleaning with steel wool.
Tips for Cleaning With Steel Wool
- Steel wool is best for cast aluminum pans. For sheet aluminum pans, use a green scrubbing pad or plastic mesh pad.
- Use a fine grade of steel wool to keep from creating large surface marks while cleaning.
- Use a back and forth motion, rather than a circular motion while scrubbing. This keeps the look of the pot or pan uniform.
- There are pads with soap already in them, such as SOS pads that work well for stubborn stains.
- If you are hesitant to use steel wool, but need something more aggressive than a sponge, try a green scrubbing pad. They are abrasive enough to remove many tough food stains and debris, but will not mark up the surface like steel wool can.