Chromium is a hard but brittle metal that is often used as a coating for other metals. The chrome plating process is often used in the manufacture of chrome grilles, rims and other automotive parts, bathroom and kitchen faucets, bicycle parts, and more. At the same time, chrome is sufficiently well cleaned of dirt and rust and does not even require expensive cleaning agents or special tools for this. However, chrome can smudge and tarnish very quickly, so if you want to maintain its shine, it is important to regularly clean the chrome surface.
Part 1 of 3: Cleaning the chrome surface
Step 1. Prepare an aqueous solution of dishwashing detergent
First of all, chrome must be cleaned of dirt, stains and grease in order to expose the rust that may have formed on its surface. Fill a bucket with lukewarm water. Add 10 drops of liquid dish soap to it. Stir the soap solution by hand until a light lather forms.
To clean chrome items that can be immersed in the solution (such as small parts, pots or dishes), it is best to use the kitchen sink instead of a bucket
Step 2. Wipe the chrome surface with a cleaning solution
Dampen a sponge or microfiber cloth with soapy water. Squeeze out excess water so that it does not splatter everything around. Rub the chrome surface with soapy water, making sure not to miss a single spot. Rinse the sponge regularly in soapy water to clean and re-soak with the cleaning solution.
- Use a soft toothbrush moistened with soapy water to reach hard-to-reach corners and slots.
- For best results, clean chrome surfaces weekly or as soon as they start to tarnish.
Step 3. Rinse the surface
When the chrome, in your opinion, is already well cleaned, drain the soapy water. Rinse the bucket and fill it with clean water. Rinse the sponge thoroughly in running water. Squeeze excess water out of the sponge and wipe the chrome again to remove any residual cleaning solution from it.
- For items that you washed in the kitchen sink, simply rinse off the cleaning solution in running water.
- When working outdoors with car and bicycle parts, simply rinse them with water from a garden hose.
Step 4. Wash off stubborn stains with wine vinegar
Sometimes you have to deal with stains and marks that cannot be washed off with ordinary soapy water, and they need to be wiped off with a mildly acidic solution of wine vinegar. Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a bucket or sink. Moisten a sponge with the solution and squeeze, then rub it over stubborn stains to work on them with diluted vinegar.
When you are satisfied with the result achieved, once again rinse the chrome surface with clean water
Step 5. Wipe the chrome surface dry and inspect it for rust
Take a dry microfiber cloth and wipe the chrome surface with it. Traces of dried water drops easily remain on chrome, so fresh drops must be wiped off immediately, even before they dry. When wiping off the chrome, check for rust.
If you find rust on the chrome surface, use the following rust removal method
Part 2 of 3: Removing rust
Step 1. Cut square pieces of aluminum foil
Tear off a strip about 7.5 cm wide from the foil roll. Cut it into three equal parts. Each piece should be about 7.5-10 cm long. To remove rust from the chrome, you will need to wipe it down with aluminum foil.
- Aluminum foil is ideal for cleaning chrome surfaces as it is made from a softer metal that does not scratch chrome.
- Steel wool and metal sponges are not recommended for cleaning chrome, as working with them requires a lot of effort and can lead to tarnishing of the chrome.
Step 2. Fill a bowl with water
Take a small bowl from the kitchen and fill it with plain water. The water will act as a lubricant between chromium and aluminum. Rust is removed by a chemical reaction when these two metals come into contact.
There is no need to use cola or vinegar as a lubricant to remove rust from chromium
Step 3. Rub the rust with foil soaked in water
Dip a piece of foil into a bowl of water to wet it. Lightly rub the rusted area of the chrome surface with wet foil. There is no need to apply excessive pressure and excessive force as very little friction is required to form the rust-dissolving aluminum oxide.
- As a result of friction, the rust will gradually dissolve and the chrome-plated surface will become smooth and shiny again.
- If you are cleaning a large enough area, move to a new piece of foil after every 25 cm of the treated area.
Step 4. Use an aluminum foil ball to clean the chipped areas
Chromium is prone to chipped areas, especially where rust appears. Use a crumpled ball of aluminum foil to remove rust from these areas and give them a sleek look. Tear off another 7.5 cm wide strip of foil. Crumple it into a not very tight ball. Wet the ball and rub it gently over the dents.
As you work with the ball, the foil ribs on the surface will help smooth out any dents on the metal surface and remove rust
Step 5. Rinse and dry the chrome surface
Once all the rust has been removed, use a sponge or hose to rinse off the brown paste that has formed during operation. After removing rust particles and paste residues, wipe the surface dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
Do not leave the chrome surface to dry on its own as it will be stained by water droplets
Part 3 of 3: Polishing
Step 1. Polish the chrome surface with a dry cloth
Take a clean, dry microfiber cloth and polish the chrome surface completely with it. Apply light pressure and rub the metal in a circular motion. This will help remove any residual traces of moisture, dirt and rust, and will also polish the metal to a shine.
You can also use a portable polisher with a clean, dry polishing pad
Step 2. Lubricate the chrome with baby oil
Baby oil is essentially petroleum jelly and is an excellent polish for wood and metal. It will not only help to make the metal surface smooth, but also give it a beautiful shine. Place a few drops of baby oil on the chrome surface, spreading the drops 2.5-5 cm apart.
Automotive wax and other wax polishes can also be used to protect and polish chrome
Step 3. Wipe the chrome surface with a cloth
Use a dry microfiber cloth to rub the baby oil onto the chrome surface. While working, lightly press on the cloth and move in a circular motion. Once you have covered all the required area, repeat the process with another clean cloth to remove excess oil from the surface.