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Surprising Ways to Care for Chrome
December 15, 2017

In the world of kitchen and bathroom faucets, numerous metallic finishes are rising in popularity; but chrome is still the superstar. If you love that brilliant shine in your home fixtures, you're going to want to protect it and keep it clean. Let's be real. With kids, cleanup of the faucet after each use is a thought never had. And most adults sleepwalk through brushing their teeth and grooming; reserving cleanup for that elusive time, "later". But at some point those stains and splatters will become intolerable and action will need to be taken. Here are some useful and unique tips to maintain your chrome faucets.

If you are one of those diligent cleaners, you don't need me to tell you that a daily wipe down is the best approach. For the rest of us, routine cleanups of toothpaste, soap, and hard water splatters, can be done with a mild soap and water wash. No matter how soft your water might be, some degree of mineral residue will be left behind if droplets are left to dry on the chrome. Though unsightly, they are luckily not hazardous to the chrome itself.

If any of these blemishes are stubborn, other cleaning approaches are available; and one is quite ironic. The very thing creating part of the mess can be used to clean and polish the entire faucet! As it turns out, the acidity of most toothpastes make them a viable cleaner of chrome. Just squeeze some on a damp cloth, wipe down the faucet, and rinse to a restored shine!

The next level of cleaning power is in your pantry. It's vinegar. Dilute it with water by half and it provides a slightly acidic remedy as well. If the stains are tougher yet, soak a paper towel in the vinegar mixture and wrap the faucet in it for an hour or so. Rinse with water and the vinegar smell will dissipate fast. Consider rubbing some lemon around, then rinsing, to freshen things up even more. If some of those blemishes are a bit crusty, light scouring power can be had by sprinkling a little baking soda on them before rubbing with the vinegar solution. If the problem has degraded to the point of having large mineral deposits present, a commercial product that dissolves lime and calcium can cautiously be used if thoroughly rinsed off. Grab an old toothbrush to scour the nooks and crannies too.

The worst problem is rust. Chrome is a soft metal that is applied over another metal like nickel or brass to avoid rust and provide a brilliant shine. It is only when the chrome finish is scratched or pitted that rust can begin. Some suggest a very fine steel wool to clean off rust, but that is very risky business and is most likely going to scratch and remove even more of the chrome coating. Commercial cleansers can help; but a really cool way to remove the rust is to rub it out with aluminum foil. Yes, ordinary foil, being softer than the chrome, buffs it clean and free of rust!

After cleaning, future stains can be delayed from reoccurring by applying some sort of clear protective coating over the chrome. There are several surprising, simple, and inexpensive techniques to accomplish this. Regular car wax, such as Turtle Wax, works well. Glass treatments, like RainX, cause water to roll away. WD40 rubbed over the chrome is invisible and water resistant. Even tearing off a sheet of common wax paper and firmly rubbing it all over the finish leaves a clear, light, wax protection.

Chrome is stunningly beautiful when cleaned and polished, and it's really not difficult to keep it that way.