Most manufacturers issue directions and suggestions for the care of aluminum
utensils. They are not, as is often supposed, hard to keep in good condition.
The one point which all manufacturers emphasize is that caustic alkalies,
such as lye, ammonia, strong washing powders or soaps containing alkalies, must
not be used in cleaning the utensils. The reason for this is that these substances
attack aluminum freely and dissolve portions of the metal every time they come
in contact with it.
Any pure soap or metal polish that is not gritty will cleanse the polished
The inside often becomes discolored after cooking foods containing iron, such
as spinach; or if hard water is used. This is harmless, and can be easily removed
by the use of cleaning powder. Persistent black coatings may be removed with
steel wool. Coatings of burned grease may be removed by boiling the utensil
about five minutes in a gallon of water to which three or four tablespoons of
oxalic acid crystals have been added. Wash the utensil afterwards in plenty
of soap and hot water.
Some people have the impression that aluminum is easily melted. The fact is
that its melting point is 12150, while water boils at 2120. Therefore, there
is no danger that aluminum will melt in ordinary cooking operations, if water
or moist food is contained in the vessel. But if the dish is allowed to remain
over the fire without water it may melt.
Another wrong impression is that it is harmful to cook acid foods in aluminum
utensils. Very careful
experiments have been made to discover the exact nature of the changes which
take place when such foods are prepared, and it has been proved that there is
no danger from the use of aluminum articles.