Well, after a vigorous night of sausage making, I tried to take a quick way out by throwing my grinder attachments and trays into the dishwasher. I have always washed them by hand up until now. The other night, I finished up the stuffing and smoking around 2am, and was ready to get some sleep. It didn’t register to me at the time that my grinder attachments were aluminum, and I’m well aware that putting aluminum in to the dishwasher would do this because I have done it before. It’s the detergents and chemicals in the soaps being blasted at the aluminum at high temperatures.
But the deed was done, I opened the dishwasher this morning to find all the aluminum had turned a dark “gunmetal gray,” almost black! Reading around, I found everything from using citric acids, to vinegar, and even cream of tartar. I tried the vinegar and it turns out it needs a harsher acid. Cream of Tartar was next, however, this only did the trick when boiling the parts in a mixture of the tartar and the water. Even still, when it came out, the darkness was gone, but so was my shiny “stainless steel” sheen that it had previously. Also, the finish still had traces of gray colors. Here’s where I took out the steel wool and gave it some elbow grease. This did help. It buffed out the variations but it still looked like a “brushed” stainless steel instead of original shine of the aluminum. This was still acceptable to me. I happen to prefer the brushed look over the glossy look when it comes to my sink faucets and the like.
- 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to 1 quart of water
Process: Boil the parts in the water solution for at least 10 minutes. Take out and submerge in cool water just enough to be able to handle it. Take the steel wool and polish to your desired sheen. I also tried a magic eraser. It didn’t work, so don’t bother. I did go as far as putting the polished parts back in to boil and repeated the process thinking it might improve the finish. I little more sheen was achieved, but I’m pretty confident it was just from the second round of polishing with the steel wool. My advice would be to just boil the parts once, and then polish with the steel wool to the sheen you want. The more you do it, the deeper you are polishing and therefore reaching the original shine of the aluminum. There were also recommendations to try SOS pads. Since these are pretty much steel wool with soap in it, it’s worth a try, but I again would wonder about the detergents in the pads. It’s not a fun process, but it did make the finish much less dreaded. The outcome wasn’t ideal, but it was perfectly acceptable. See some of the before and after pics below, and good luck.