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Cleaning a pre WW1 canteen, advice?

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I picked up a Pre WW1 flat top canteen but the cup had some kind of horrible soup in it and the canteen has it all over it. Normally I would spray it with degreaser and scrub the heck out of it it with steel wool but I know that would scratch it up and shine up the aluminum. A plastic brush won't do the trick as the soup has oxidized the aluminum and it won't take that off.


How would you clean it?

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Maybe scrub a small trial area with hot water and baking soda....which could act as a semi-mild abrasive? Then sanitize with anti-bacterial soap and more hot water....


Just an idea!




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Not sure this will work




Or try soaking in Simple green or similar product like Lime Away etc??

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thanks guys, I just tried some dawn mixed with hot water and baking soda with a home made brush using a rounded piece of hard wood with some adhesive hook side Velcro. it looked like it was scratching it up so I switched to WD-40 and the brush which got most of it off the canteen but the inside of the cup is ugly. honestly I am not going to get to worked up over the cup as its a 1918 and they are pretty common. I have a ultra sonic vibrating cleaning tank somewhere, if I can find it I will try sticking it that with some degreaser and water and hopefully that will get the rest off, or fill my basement with suds. either way something will get clean haha.

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Be VERY careful about what you use in the tank with the aluminum canteen. Simple green is probably best. I used purple power in the ultrasonic at work on an aluminum carburetor and it actually was damaging the aluminum. Ended up cleaning it 5 times in simple green to remove the discoloration enough to not be so bad. The discoloration was the same as when a rivet gets loose on an aluminum panel and you get that black grease from the wear.

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I've used a soap Brillo pad on my metal canteens and stainless mess kits in the past. Make sure you do it under running water. Didn't really brighten or dull the finish and left no scratches that I could see.

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