How to Get Stains Out of Chrome

by Chris Anzalone
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Chrome is a hard, shiny metal derived from the element chromium. You can most often find chrome in the form of chrome plating, whereby the metal is molded for surfaces like motorcycles and tire rims. Certain chemicals can cause chrome to rust and certain cleaning surfaces can cause it to scratch. If you wish to take on the task of removing stains and rust, use an effective but cautious approach to maintain the quality of your chrome.

Step 1

Rinse the chrome surface with a damp sponge or cloth to remove the surface dust and dirt. When preparing to scrub rust and other stains on chrome, always remove the general dirt accumulation first, so you can focus entirely on the stain without spreading dirt around.

Step 2

Spray the chrome surface with liquid chrome cleaner. You can find chrome cleaners at automotive supply stores, and some home improvement and hardware stores. After allowing the liquid to soften the stain for a minute or two, buff the surface with a soft cloth. In some cases, this alone may do the trick.

Step 3

Scrub the stain with a piece of high, very fine grade steel wool. Fine grade steel wools include #00 and #000. Fine steel wool does not scratch chrome and you can use it dry or dampened with water. Since chrome is non-porous, stains cannot penetrate beneath the surface, so with enough force, you can remove the entire stain.

Step 4

Dampen a piece of aluminum foil with water on the shiny side. Scrub the stain using the foil. This method can remove even difficult rust stains, because the foil reacts chemically with the chrome and leaves behind the appearance of a bright polish. Aluminum foil does not scratch chrome surfaces.

Step 5

Buff the entire chrome surface with a chrome polish, which is sold in automotive supply stores. If you used aluminum foil on your chrome surface, you may not need a polish, but if you simply removed the stain and the chrome appears dull, a good polish can restore its shine. Apply the polish to a soft cloth and wipe down the entire surface.

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