International Styles

Aluminum Care

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 surface.

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.

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