How to Polish Aluminum: Step-by-Step Guide


Aluminum is a popular choice for many different types of projects. It is strong yet lightweight, and it doesn’t rust. If you have a piece of aluminum that needs polishing, don’t worry – it’s not difficult to do! This step-by-step guide will show you how to polish aluminum using simple methods that anyone can follow.

Table of Contents

Three Ways to Polish Aluminum

Galvanized polished aluminum sheet metal.

Galvanized polished aluminum sheet metal.

If you’ve been wondering how to polish aluminum, there are three key ways.

Hand Polishing

The first way is to hand-polish the aluminum. It is a good option if you have a small piece of aluminum that needs polishing or want to avoid using power tools. Hand polishing is most effective for aluminum that is already in good condition – if your aluminum is very dirty or has a lot of scratches, you will probably want to use one of the other methods described below.

Dual Action Polisher

The second way to polish it is to use a dual-action polisher. It is a powerful tool that will speed up the polishing process and is ideal for larger aluminum surfaces. Dual action polishers work best with a polishing pad and polish. This method can quickly polish large aluminum surfaces such as boat hulls and trailer fenders.

Rotary Polishing

A rotary polisher is slightly different from a dual-action polisher – it has a spinning head that does most of the work for you. It makes it the quickest and easiest way to polish aluminum, but it’s also the most expensive option. A rotary polisher is best used when you have a hefty aluminum surface that needs to be polished quickly, giving you the best results.

Aluminum sheet metal.

Aluminum sheet metal.

Prepare Well Before You Polish Aluminum

Washing aluminum.

Washing aluminum.

Before polishing, you should start with safety equipment such as a full-face respirator, safety flanges, and masking tape. These will help to protect you from aluminum oxide, which can be harmful if you inhale them. Masking tape is essential for protecting the paint around the areas you’re polishing from being damaged.

The Best Tools for Aluminum Polish Jobs

Before starting, check out some of the best tools you’ll need for a high-quality aluminum polish job:

  1. Buffing rake
  2. Random orbital sander
  3. Rotary polisher
  4. Buffing wheels

How to Polish Aluminum – Step-by-Step

Cleaning aluminum mesh.

Cleaning aluminum mesh.

  1. Sand the aluminum – Use a random orbital sander to sand the aluminum. You’ll want to use medium-grit sandpaper for this step.
  2. Clean the aluminum – Once you’ve sanded the aluminum, use dish soap and water to clean it. It will remove any dust or debris from the surface.
  3. Buff/polish the aluminum – Use a buffing rake to buff the aluminum. Start with a coarse-grit buffing wheel and move to a finer-grit wheel.
  4. Apply aluminum polishes – Apply polishes to the surface using a clean cloth. Rub it using circular motions until the entire surface is covered. Wipe off excess wax with a soft cloth.


Now you know how to prepare, buff, and polish aluminums to a perfect shine. If you’re looking for the best aluminum polishing tools, look no further than NC Cutting Tools. Contact us for more information today.

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