Cleaning The Chrome on Your Car

I really love to see the chrome parts on my car really shining. Jet black wheels and clean bright chrome can really make your car stand out. Trying to find some of the best ways to do that is certainly an interesting subject. I am not talking here about using any of the commercial cleaners (though there are plenty) but more about the things people use to try and achieve a similar look. I have listed below some of the tips and tricks that I have used myself, and also some others that friends have used with varying degrees of success.

shining chrome headlights on a car

Cleaning Chrome Without Commercial Products

Using Foil

You really come up with two main problems when it comes to cleaning metal and chrome. These are the natural dirt and grime, and then of course, the dreaded signs of rust. A great and almost free way of dealing with both problems is to use aluminium foil and water. The foil will not scratch anything as long as you keep it flat, and wet it all over. Then just rub it on the headlamp or bumper and watch it do its magic. There is a scientific reason why this works which would bore you to death to read about, but basically the heat produced when rubbing gets rid of the rust, and when water hits the foil it creates a thing fine polishing compound, that goes to work on the cleaning.

When you have rubbed it down with the foil, then buff up the chrome or metal with a fine cloth and I think you may just be impressed. Just be aware that if the rust has got deep enough, known as pitting, then the foil will still remove most of it, but clearly can not fix the hole made by the rust.

I have also used foil and cola and that also works great, especially on heavier rust spots.

Using Vinegar

I have seen this trick work pretty well. I think it works best on wheel trims. Give the wheel trims a good washing down with some soap and water. That way you end up removing most of the day to day dirt. Then make up a mixture of a 1-1 vinegar and hot water solution and wash them again. If any stubborn parts remain, then try using an old toothbrush, and rub those out. You could also use the foil I mentioned above in conjunction with the vinegar as that would work really well. Finally dry it off with a fine cloth or a micro fiber towel for best results. Ideally you should then apply a chrome polish mainly for protection.

Baking Soda & H2O

Some people I know, who shall I say are of more mature ages, still use a paste that they make up with baking soda and water. They then carefully apply this to the chrome, making sure to avoid the paintwork, and allow to sit for maybe an hour. Then they buff this off with a fine cloth. I have seen this one done and yes it works. What I didn’t like was that it is just too fiddly, and if that paste gets anywhere near the paint, it can lift it. It is not one for me as it is just to much work, and too risky, and difficult to get done properly.

Water, Salt & Lemon Juice

This does make a great all-purpose cleaner and is used in bathrooms by many of the leading cleaning companies. That isn’t because it is cheap, but simply because it does actually work. It is especially good on metals and chrome plating. If you have to deal with a lot of rust spots, this one works really well.

Steel Wool

I have seen many people advise people to use a really fine steel wool to remove rust spots. I am not in that fan club at all. That is for two reasons:

  1. It takes way too much effort and elbow grease
  2. Even the finest of wools will scratch

I have used this on older cars that need the chrome brought back to life. I don’t mean vintage cars, just older cars where the chrome looks jaded and tired. It works and does a good job, but it will still leave the chrome looking pretty dull. It should always be polished afterwards.

Those are some basic tips that you can try out to see if it helps clean up and shine the chrome parts on your car.

Enda
 

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