Back to its shiny self – polishing chrome perfectly!
Is the sparkly chrome look gone? Are your bathroom and kitchen faucets covered in limescale? Does your favorite picture frame have a scratch on it? No problem! We have tips for you on the best way to clean and polish chrome and get it looking as good as new.
Polishing chrome – how it gets its shine
It is likely that your cutlery, the decorative trim on your mirror cabinet, and your lamp are chrome plated, meaning that there’s a thin layer of chrome plating on the surface of the object. Underneath this chrome plating is usually steel, aluminum, brass, copper or some other material. It’s interesting to know that the chrome plating isn’t actually shiny at all. The shine comes to be during the refinement process due to the underlying metal layer. Surface treatment with chrome not only gives metal a fine appearance, but the chrome plating also protects against corrosion and damage. Another advantage of chrome is that dirt and grime do not stick to the surface for long and it’s also possible to polish chrome to a high shine. The disadvantage, however, of being this shiny is that even the smallest bits of dirt and scratches are obvious. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to polish chrome and remove small, not-too-deep scratches.
Properly caring for and polishing chrome
Chrome-plated surfaces do not rust and actually repel dirt, so you’re probably wondering why chrome still loses its shine and why limescale and rust stains can often be seen. It’s simple: the refined layer is very thin, often leaving tiny scratches that allow the metal underneath to react with oxygen. Sometimes this results in rust, especially if the metal is frequently exposed to moisture. If limescale stains form on your bathroom fittings, this is not always due to hard water, but possibly also to the fact that you do not dry and polish the chrome parts after showering or bathing. Luckily, chrome surfaces can be cleaned without much effort. You can clean and polish chrome with simple household products, which you probably already have in your cupboards, or you can also choose to use special cleaning agents. The right cleaner for the job depends on what the exact problem is:
- Everyday dirt
If you clean chrome surfaces regularly, then you won’t need to put in much effort when it comes to polishing the chrome. Above all, make sure that no moisture settles on the surfaces and causes stains. Whether the chrome item is inside your house, on your bicycle, or on your car, a normal degree of dirt can be removed with a few drops of dish soap and a clean cloth – a microfiber cloth or a soft sponge is best.
You can also clean your chrome bathroom and kitchen fixtures with Soft Scrub® All Purpose Cleanser. If you don’t have that on hand, put some vinegar or lemon in warm water and try wiping the chrome with this solution. If that does not help either, use baking soda or baking powder. Spread the powder evenly on a damp cloth, dab the surface with it, and rinse thoroughly with warm water after it has sat for about two hours. Are you satisfied with the cleaning result? Then rub the surface dry with a soft cloth and polish the chrome until it’s shiny
Streaks, grease, and fingerprints on chrome-plated fittings can be removed with either soap and water or vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, soak a cleaning cloth in the solution, and apply some of it to the affected areas. Then polish the chrome parts with small, circular movements. You’re done!
- Limescale and soap scum
Soft Scrub® can also be used to remove soap scum and limescale stains. Make sure to follow cleaning directions according to the product label.
Alternatively, you can also use a lemon. A similar cleaning effect to that of citric acid can be achieved with vinegar.
If you discover rust has appeared on the chrome, hopefully you have some cola in the house, as this is an ideal cleaning agent. The secret of success lies in phosphoric acid, one of the ingredients in in some colas. This acid reacts with the rust and makes the stain disappear as if by magic. All you have to do is take an absorbent cloth or sponge and pour the cola generously over it. Then wipe over the rust stain. After about an hour, check whether the stain is still visible. If there‘s still something there, repeat the procedure. As soon as the rust has disappeared, you can polish the chrome.
Another way to remove rust from chrome-plated surfaces: Get some aluminum foil and rub the matt side over the rust – you might need a bit of elbow grease though.
- Rust bubbles
The trick with the cola also works for rust bubbles. However, after removing the rust, there will be some damage left on the chrome. If the marks aren’t too big, you could sand them down and then polish the chrome. You don’t need any special appliances for this – simply make a ball out of aluminum foil and rub vigorously over the damaged areas. If that doesn’t work, purchase a metal polish suitable for chrome.
- Dull spots
Dull spots on chrome can be polished with pure olive oil on a microfiber cloth in no time at all. Is olive oil a bit too expensive to use for cleaning? Then try this: Mix about two tablespoons of baking powder or baking soda with a little water to make a paste. Put some of it on a microfiber cloth and rub evenly over the chrome surface using circular movements. If the dull areas disappear, wipe the solution away with a clean, damp cloth. Then polish the chrome really well and everything will shine like new again!
Polishing scratched chrome – is this a good idea? Yes, if the scratches are small and only superficial. Try aluminum foil and carry out the procedure described for rust bubbles. However, if there are scratches in the chrome paint on your car, you will need a special chrome polish to remove the problem areas or at least to conceal them. When using this polish, be sure to follow the instructions for use!
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