How To: Clean Chrome
Faucets, towel bars, shower heads, hinges—chrome shows up all over the house, especially in the bathroom. Try some of these cleaning methods to keep your chrome gleaming and blemish-free.
When it’s clean, chrome glimmers—there’s no other word for it. The downside? Chrome succumbs fairly easily to surface blemishes, and while these blotches and streaks do catch the eye, it’s for all the wrong reasons. Compared with other common household materials, even different types of metal, chrome is not especially difficult to clean. More than anything else, persistence is the key to keeping chrome looking its best. For tips on making your chrome shine, check out the suggestions below.
Soap and Water
One of the most effective ways to clean chrome is also one of the simplest. Add dish soap to a bucket of warm water, dip a soft cloth or nonabrasive sponge into the solution, then get to work scrubbing the chrome. As you go along, rinse the cloth or sponge frequently in order to dispel the dirt that has begun to loosen and break free from the metal. To clean any creases or crevices you come across in the chrome, opt for an old toothbrush; the bristles can work the soapy water into areas you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Finish up by rinsing the metal with clean water in order to eliminate any residual traces of soap that remain on the chrome.
More potent than dish soap is distilled white vinegar. Using a one-to-one ratio, mix the vinegar with plain old tap water, then apply the solution by means of a cloth or nonabrasive sponge. Again, use a toothbrush for any hard-to-reach areas. Remember that vinegar works so well on account of its acidity, which dissolves even long-established grime. So as not to dilute its strength, take care not to mix the vinegar with too great a volume of water.
The methods discussed here involve neither harsh chemicals nor heavy-duty cleaning tools. That’s because chrome is a soft metal. It can be scratched even by a scouring pad, so avoid the temptation to use a sharp edge on stubborn stains. Also, if you’re intent on using a commercial cleanser, be sure that its label says the product is suitable for chrome.
Now that you’ve done a thorough job of cleaning, you can either call it a day or go one step further to leave the chrome with an impressive shine. Interested? Two words: chrome polish. You can find it at most auto stores, or you can buy it online. Different polishes require different application processes, so closely follow the directions listed on the container of polish you decide to purchase. Now, instead of noticing fingerprint smudges, you’ll be seeing your reflection in the newly gleaming chrome.