Tin Foil vs Aluminum Foil

What happened to tin foil?

Before 1926, Americans were using foil made of actual tin. The metal sheet was made for industrial use, and it was popular in the early 1900s as packing material and insulation, and used to line cigarette packs. The foil is less durable and more expensive than the aluminum counterpart though, and it’s rare that you’ll find any sort of tin foil these days. When the cheaper aluminum alternative came along, there wasn’t much use for tin foil.



At this point, I’m positive that you’re well understood that tin foil and aluminum foil are different things. However, if you’re still confused with the information or struggling with using aluminum foil, here are some of the most asked questions to solve your problems.

When Was Tin Foil Changed To Aluminum Foil?

It’s a historical and long answer, but in short, it was after World War 2 that almost all the tin foil was replaced with aluminum foil.

What To Use In Place Of Aluminum Foil?

Depending on your needs, there are multiple substitutes for aluminum foil. However, you can use parchment paper or butcher paper in most cases.

Is Aluminum Foil Flammable?

The answer is yes. However, the melting or burning temperature of aluminum foil is over 1200oF, so that you can barely burn it in your kitchen unless you put it in the microwave.

Can I Cook With Aluminum Foil?

Yes. Thanks to their magnificent heat resistance, you can cook with aluminum foil; however, you should note that acidic food with foil can cause harmful effects on your health.

Can Aluminum Foil Go Into The Freezer?

Yes. With waterproof and greaseproof features, you can use aluminum foil to store your food in the freezer. However, since it can easily be torn, you should use proper freezer bags to store your food in order to avoid freezer burn.

Is Tin-foil Hat Really Effective To Block Radio Frequencies? Many people used to believe that tinfoil hats can prevent beams and other manipulating signals, it even became a trend in the old days. The new news: there’s no such thing.

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How Thick Is Aluminum Foil?

Regular aluminum foil, also called standard household or standard duty foil, will typically be around 0.63 mils thick. Some thicker aluminum foils or extra heavy-duty household foils can be up to 0.94 mils thick.

Manufacturers measure the thickness of foil, or the width of the foil, using a micrometer which measures the width to one-thousandth of an inch, represented as mils.

9 Common Uses of Aluminum Foil

These DIY solutions and hacks for common household problems may help make your life easier with just a few strips of aluminum foil:

  1. Baking pie: Covering a pie with aluminum foil while it bakes in the oven can help prevent the pie crust from burning by distributing heat evenly around the dessert.
  2. Improvising a frying pan: If you are camping in the woods and don’t have a frying pan handy, you can create one out of a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Wrap the sheet of foil around a forked branch, and place your pan over a fire.
  3. Insulating and storing food: Use aluminum foil as you would plastic wrap for food packaging or food storage. Aluminum foil can also insulate food to keep it warm.
  4. Ironing: Place a sheet of aluminum foil underneath the fabric on an ironing board to speed up the ironing process. The aluminum will reflect the heat up into the fabric as you iron.
  5. Polishing silverware: Polish or clean up silverware to remove tarnish and oxidation residue by placing a piece of aluminum foil in a pan filled with hot water, salt, and baking soda. Let your silverware soak in the solution overnight.
  6. Preventing oven messes: Place a layer of aluminum foil on an oven grate or lower rack of your oven to catch any drips. The foil will prevent burnt food from sticking to your oven. Simply remove and replace the foil when it gets messy.
  7. Protecting soap: Tear off a small piece of aluminum foil and place it underneath a bar of soap to prevent the soap from becoming mushy. The silver color of the foil blends in with most stainless-steel sink basins.
  8. Reflecting light: Use aluminum foil to reflect light for photography. You can create a light reflector by simply covering a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil. Hang your light reflector on a wall or have an assistant hold it up to your subject’s face.
  9. Scrubbing cast iron: Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball to create a scrubber similar to steel wool. Use your aluminum foil scrubber to remove small pieces of grime or stuck residue on cast-iron pans.

How Does Aluminium Foil Keep Houses Cool/Warm?

Because of it emissivity (or reflective properties

Because of it emissivity (or reflective properties) aluminium insulation is commonly used in the roof as well as the walls of houses in order to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer.

It works by reflecting the majority of the infrared heat that is trying to come into the house in summer or trying to leave the house in winter.

By itself it's not the best insulator as it only really stops radiant heat, but when combined with another thermal insulation like styrofoam or fibreglass the aluminium reflects the thermal radiation while the other insulation stops the conduction of heat.

Generally speaking aluminium insulation for houses

Generally speaking aluminium insulation for houses comes like bubble wrap with either the inner or outer layer being aluminium (or both) and plastic bubbles of air in the middle.

The air bubbles work as insulation to stop airflow and to stop heat transfer through convection and conduction while the aluminium layer stops the heat radiation.

Other Reasons to Use Aluminum Foil on Windows

Some people may put aluminum foil on windows in winter. They’re not necessarily trying to reflect the heat of summer out of the home; they are probably taking advantage of the tin foil’s other properties. Let’s look at a few more reasons why homeowners might choose to cover windows with aluminum foil.

Glare Protection

Whatever the annoyance the glare may be causing, fIf you live in a home where the sun tends to come in at a particular angle that causes severe glare, you may be interested in finding an inexpensive way to keep that from happening on a regular basis. The position of the sun as its beams surge into the home might be interfering with the use of a bathroom mirror in the morning, or with the viewing of the TV at noon, or with regular dishwashing and cleanup chores in the kitchen at sunset.

Whatever the annoyance the glare may be causing, for some people, it’s easier to quickly slap a sheet of aluminum foil over the offending window pane to block out the glare.

Room Darkening

They simply plaster the windows in the bedroom witSome people put aluminum foil on windows to keep light out. Individuals who work third shift or some other type of shift that necessitates sleeping while the sun up often has to resort to extreme measures to ensure that their bedroom is dark enough to allow them to sleep. Room-darkening shades or blinds or curtains can be very expensive, so some renters or homeowners choose a quick, temporary, easy, and cheap solution.

They simply plaster the windows in the bedroom with tin foil to effectively seal out light and create a room darkening effect. The aluminum foil can go all the way to the edges of each window pane and fit closely and tightly against the glass, enabling a better seal and a more thorough blocking out of any potential stray bits of light.


Or maybe you actually do have the money on hand foWindow coverings, in general, are intended, at least partly, to provide a form of privacy when it is needed. However, window coverings like blinds, shades, drapes, curtains, and shutters can be quite expensive, especially if your home has a lot of windows to cover. Maybe you simply don’t have that kind of money right now, and you need a quick, easy solution to provide the privacy you need while you’re saving up for the window treatments you really want.

After all, you don’t want passersby peeping Or maybe you actually do have the money on hand for curtains, blinds, or shades, but you are waiting on ordering them because you haven’t quite decided on the decor you’d like for that room yet. While you’re pondering the overall aesthetic of the room, you might need a quick temporary solution to cover those windows.

After all, you don’t want passersby peeping into your bedroom when you’re asleep or observing you as you dance with your significant other in the kitchen or lecture your kids about homework. Privacy is important, after all, and you shouldn’t have to forgo it just because you’re not ready to invest in window treatments. Aluminum foil works better than paper to thoroughly cover window panes. Where paper might turn see-through when there is a bright enough light behind it, tin foil on windows provides more opaque coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is aluminum tin foil eco friendly?

No. Aluminum foil or tin foil is not eco friendly because it is not reusable, is tricky to recycle and the production of aluminum foil is energy intensive. Luckily, there are some great alternatives that will cost you less in the long run and are much better for the environment! Check out these 5 Green Alternatives to Aluminum And Tin Foil here.

Can you recycle aluminum foil?

Aluminum foil can be recycled in the same way that aluminum cans/tins can be recycled but it needs to be thoroughly cleaned (if it is contaminated with food stuffs it cant be recycled) and many recycling centers do not accept it. Check with your local recycling depot if they accept aluminum foil or check out these 5 Green Alternatives to Aluminum And Tin Foil.

Are beeswax wraps better than aluminum foil?

Beeswax wraps are better than aluminum foil because they can be reused for much longer than aluminum foil, do not require a great deal of energy to produce and are compostable. Aluminum foil used a lot of energy to manufacture, is difficult to recycle and takes hundreds of years to breakdown in landfills. Read here for more info on beeswax wraps and other green alternatives aluminum and tin foil.


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