For many, chromium (or chrome for short) is the material of choice for metal plating. Industries in the automotive and home appliances space are commonly seen utilizing the material for its corrosion-resistant benefits for metals and its distinctive shine. Learning how to clean chrome plated metal safely and effectively will save you headaches and money! When searching on the Internet for how to clean chrome plated metal safely, you’ll come across various DIY methods. We’ll present some of the common DIY chrome cleaning myths on the Internet. We’ll present the pros and cons of those methods so that you can make your own decision on whether they are worth risking. Then, we’ll present the safest and most effective way to clean chrome plated metal.
How to Clean Chrome Plated Metal–Safely!
As with anything, safety comes first. When it comes to cleaning chrome plated metal, there are numerous factors to consider. Regardless of the metal below the chrome’s layer, you don’t want to use harsh cleaners. Chrome can be damaged by some of these so-called DIY cleaning methods and harsh commercial chemicals.
If you choose to use liquid chemicals, be sure to wear gloves and safety goggles, and always store them in a safe place away from anywhere that could potentially be exposed to sparks or fire. You don’t want to find these harsher cleaning solutions making their way onto surfaces they don’t belong on.
Keeping them out of the way of pets, children, or any non-intended surface should be standard practice. Gloves are also very useful for protection against grime and rust that may be on surfaces. A simple, affordable glove material such as nitrile should do the trick. Again, when dealing with harsh chemicals, always wear goggles!
By the way, our Champion Polishing Cloth is biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and is a much safer alternative to standard caustic chrome cleaners.
Getting the Best Clean
The way you clean your chrome plated fixtures is dependent on the amount and type of buildup. Before you tackle rust, it may be beneficial to do an initial cleaning. If the surface has a lot of dirt, gunk, or grime build-up, you want to be sure to get this off first. The classic dish soap, water, and suds should work fine, along with a cloth or sponge.
Heavily Rusted Surfaces
You will want to remove any tough surface buildup before you start to clean. Rust is the result of ongoing oxidation of the metal from moisture and air exposure. These two factors are inevitable more often than not, and over time, create a real hassle. Humidity speeds up this rusting process. Items that get heavy exposure to the elements, such as your bumper or wheels, tend to be more corrosion-prone and require more attention.
Whichever of the following methods you prefer, there are some things that stay the same throughout when it comes to how to remove rust from chrome. For one, after you’ve broken up the rust, make sure any loose bits of rust are completely removed from the surface. This should be as easy as a simple wipe-down.
Foil Does the Trick?
The following is a popular DIY method to remove rust from chrome. Is it effective? Although it may seem crazy, many people swear by aluminum foil! The claim is that the soft texture of this metal doesn’t scratch chrome. Supposedly it does a nice job of getting stubborn rust off chrome surfaces. People seem to favor this low-cost method of removing rust from chrome on bikes and other surfaces that get time outside and experience rough use.
Simply crumble a piece, dab on some water, and gently rub tarnished areas. Occasionally replace your piece of foil with a fresh one.
Where the recipe starts to become questionable is when it mentions that if water doesn’t do the trick, then one should turn to something more acidic. This particular DIY recipe offers up vinegar as a solution. We take exception to anything that is acidic to remove rust from metal. Why? Vinegar is extremely caustic, and in fact, if not removed completely will cause even more rust! This is totally counterproductive. In fact, we have a personal story to share about just how corrosive vinegar actually is.
As a backdrop to this story, Champion Supplies specializes in manufacturing and marketing safe and effective cleaners for both home and industrial use. In particular, over the years we’ve encountered a consistent experience with customers as it relates to their use of vinegar when cleaning around the home. We market our own mops and handles to go with those mops. Where the mop connects to the handle, there is a metal connector. When customers purchase our mop and handle together, we always tell customers “please do not use vinegar when mopping your floor.”
With that said, we occasionally get calls from our customers complaining that their mop and the mop handle are rusting! The first question we ask them is “what are you using in the water to clean your floors?” Every single time, the answer is vinegar! Vinegar will attack metal. Over time it will corrode and rust the metal. Creating a cleaner requires in-depth knowledge of chemistry to safely provide clients with a product that cleans but does so safely without causing other problems. These DIY recipes in many cases do more harm than good. In the case of chrome, the use of vinegar will most likely end up in tears. Something to think about…
Aluminum foil seems harmless enough, though it may be tempting to experiment with other materials that seem similar to aluminum foil. Don’t risk it! Other such materials may remove the rust, but they may also add unneeded blemishes and scratches. Knowing how to clean chrome plated metal without needless damage is a must!
Aluminum foil may be a cheap method for removing rust, but the key word is MAY. The Champion Polishing Cloth is an extremely cost-effective, safe, and proven product that will without a doubt remove not only rust from chrome but will leave behind a long-lasting protective coating that will stop any future formation of rust.
That’s the problem with DIY solutions. They’re cheap and offer only a temporary solution. When you’re talking about an automobile, motorcycle, or any items you may be cleaning, we encourage that you seriously consider a proven product that has over 90 years of history and technology behind it. It’s simple, it’s fast, and the Champion Polishing Cloth not only delivers a long-lasting solution to rust removal but the cloth can be used over and over again!
Other Ways of Fighting Rust
What if the aluminum foil DIY method doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, yet you still need to know how to clean chrome plated metal with rust build-up? Another popular DIY rust removal recipe floating around the Internet suggests the use of an acidic solution. It claims that using vinegar and simply applying it to the rust directly could help in breaking up corrosion. It further states that you should try to thoroughly cover and soak the rust for about ten minutes, depending on the amount of rust build-up.
Strangely, it mentions that you should remove the solution gently. It’s strange because there is nothing gentle about a caustic ingredient like vinegar! The funny thing about all these DIY remedies is that they make us chuckle in our office because we know how caustic vinegar and other acidic ingredients are to metal surfaces! Sure, vinegar and other acidic solutions can remove rust, but if you’re not careful, it removes your chrome too! Then, like a vicious cycle, the rust will return if that vinegar isn’t COMPLETELY washed away. It simply doesn’t seem worth the risk.
Another simple DIY rust removing method that is found online involves using a popular lubricating oil. The problem with these types of aerosol oils is they contain solvents. These solvents will loosen rust, but once the rust is removed, you need to think about protecting the bare chrome spots where the rust was previously present and the solvent simply won’t provide this necessary protection.
Yet another method to be wary of is commercial rust cleaning solutions. They may work, but these chemical blends also tend to be harsh. They require much more care when using as well since they can be a substantial health hazard when mishandled. These cleaners can also be a problem environmentally, especially when the cleaning of outside items is involved.
We at Champion Supplies prefer simple, safe, and effective solutions to a problem. Rust removal requires a simple solution that is provided by the Champion Polishing Cloth. As stated before, it will effectively remove rust, and more importantly, after the rust has been removed it will solve the problem of the rust returning. The polishing cloth does this by imparting a tenacious protective coating of wax and other proprietary rust-retarding ingredients that penetrate deep into the metal. This will keep your chrome protected and shiny! It’s a 90-year-old rust removal solution that flat-out works!
How to Clean Chrome Plated Metal the Right Way
Maintaining your chrome items requires common sense and consistency in keeping them clean. Use mild dish soap and water, along with a non-abrasive cloth or soft sponge to get any grime or dirt build-up off of the chrome surface.
One rule of thumb is that if it’s good for cleaning glass, it’s good for cleaning chrome. Glass is very sensitive in that it can be scratched and cracked even more easily. You want to treat the surface of your chrome similar to the way you treat your windows. This way, you ensure shine without damage being done to your chrome.
Without a doubt, steer clear of scrubbers used for hard metals such as wool sponges or pads. Although it is a metal as well, a chrome finish is there to act as a decorative, shiny finish for the metal structure. It won’t hold up with abrasive material friction. In fact, for basic cleanings, aim for especially soft material such as a cloth or soft sponge. Practicing a plan of cleanliness also reduces the effort you eventually have to put in to remove dirt buildup from a neglected finish.
Also, be mindful of those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. A sponge or cloth may not reach certain crevices. For these spots, you may opt to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Don’t be tempted to use an old toothbrush. Why? Well, toothpaste is rather abrasive and could scratch the surface of your chrome.
When your cleaning is done, it may be easy to forget to dry. Make sure to dry your chrome surface after cleaning to prevent watermarks from forming. For drying, look for a soft cloth such as a microfiber cloth. This material is not only soft, but it is also effective at absorbing moisture.
Don’t Forget to Polish
We’ve presented some popular DIY methods found on the Internet. All of the DIY methods that are typically found on the Internet for removing rust from chrome on the surface seem to be a low-cost solution to rust removal. This assumption is based on the notion that you’re using ingredients typically found in the home. Are they effective? Maybe. Are they a cheap solution? That’s debatable. It’s not cheap if it damages or ruins the piece that you’re cleaning. In that case, it’s become an unfortunate damaging result.
Why not consider the Champion Polishing Cloth? Here’s a simple solution that’s been proven for over 90 years and has consistently delivered amazing rust removal results on chrome surfaces. With this product, you simply take it out of its package, walk over to the chrome piece, and start rubbing the rust right off! It was formulated to work in a safe but highly effective manner. In terms of value for your money, one single 9″ x 12″ cloth is the equivalent of one gallon of a liquid chrome cleaner and polish.
Don’t forget, not only does the Champion Polishing Cloth safely remove rust, but you can be sure that the protective coating left behind will prevent rust from returning. You’ll be amazed at the beautiful shine that your chrome item will exhibit!
We have presented a simple solution that answers the question of how to clean chrome plated metal. Grab a Champion Polishing Cloth today! Whether you’re needing to polish the beautiful chrome on your hot rod or any other chrome surface, you’ll without a doubt become a loyal user.
Keeping It Clean
Now that you have the big points out of the way, you might want to consider a few small pointers that may very well save you extra time and money! Although these things may not seem like they’re deal breakers, they could make a difference when put together and done correctly. Your knowing how to clean chrome plated metal properly will work well with a few extra complimentary tips.
After you clean, make sure to give your sponge a good rinse to remove any residue. If you are using a microfiber cloth, give it a wash on a gentle cycle. By washing your cleaning gear, you avoid reintroducing dirt and grime to the surface you’ve worked so hard to clean.
When targeting smaller decorative items, you’ll most likely go through a lighter process of polishing. You want to treat these items with special care so that no damage is done. Before going through these items, be sure you are working with clean hands. You don’t want to get in your own way when working for a shiny finish. Although not necessary, it doesn’t hurt to wear gloves here. Using them prevents fingerprints that may track onto these surfaces.
Another important tip within knowing how to clean chrome plated metal is the use of quality products. Quality products could save you additional time. A poor brand of dish soap, for example, may not get the clean you want. You may even have to use higher amounts of it to compensate, which ends up costing more in the long run.
To Sum It All Up…
First, stay safe! Protect your skin and wear gloves if you’re using one of the more caustic or liquid rust removers and chrome cleaners. Be sure that you are working with a clean surface before you start to buff or polish. When doing general cleans, use a general dish soap and water mixture. Be sure to dry with a clean, absorbent microfiber towel. Wash your cloth or sponge between uses. Now you’re ready to remove rust from the chrome surface with the Champion Polishing Cloth.
Last but not least, good luck cleaning or polishing your surface in order to keep that signature shine! Now you know how to clean chrome plated metal!