Etching aluminum can be a pretreatment step for anodizing, chemical conversion coating, metal-to-rubber bonding, and a host of other processes. Chemical etching, using either alkaline or acid solutions, produces a matte finish on aluminum products. This article describes the alkaline etching and acid etching of aluminum. Alkaline etching reduces or eliminates surface scratches, nicks, extrusion die lines, and other imperfections. Acid etching can be done without heavy smut problems, particularly on aluminum die castings. Hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, nitric, phosphoric, chromic, and sulfuric acids are used in acid etching. The article presents a flow chart of the operations used in acid etching.