Remove Black Anodizing From Aluminum

Colored anodizing makes aluminum clips more durable.

Anodizing creates a hard layer on metal that makes it more durable and weather resistant, but over time, anodized surfaces develop scratches that don’t clean or polish away. As with most things, the darker the color, the more defects tend to show, making black anodizing one of the worst colors for showing scratches and dings. Because anodizing is a chemical process in creation, a chemical process is also required to de-anodize aluminum, but the de-anodizing process is much easier. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Remove the aluminum parts from other objects if possible. If you cannot detach the aluminum parts from adjacent objects, cover the adjacent objects with plastic and tape them with duct tape so that they will not be damaged during the de-anodizing process.

2. Fill a gallon container with warm water, and add 1 tbsp. of drain cleaner.

3. Mix the drain cleaner in the water, and place the aluminum pieces in the container. If you could not remove the aluminum pieces, apply the cleaner to the pieces using a sponge.

4. Remove the pieces from the container every minute or two to wipe away the residue, called smut, with a rag. Place the pieces back in the container, and repeat the process every minute or two until you have removed all the anodizing. For stationary pieces, wipe down with a rag every minute to remove the smut, and reapply the cleaner with a sponge. Repeat this process every minute or two until you have removed all the anodizing.

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5. Rinse the pieces thoroughly with cool water. Rinse separate pieces in a container or with a water hose. Spray attached pieces with a water bottle or rinse with a sponge.