Remove Rust from Chrome and Prevent Future Rust
Since the early 1900s, auto manufacturers have been using chrome to add beautiful and durable finishes to their vehicles. However, while chrome certainly does create a wonderful appearance, it is a common misconception that it does not rust.
Chrome, like other metals, readily reacts when it is exposed to oxygen and moisture, and while it is more resilient than other metals, rust can start to set in over time. The good news is that there are effective ways to remove rust from chrome and prevent future rust from appearing.
Removing Rust From Chrome the Easy Way
When you’ve invested in a vehicle with a gleaming chrome finish you’ll want to keep it that way. Chrome isn’t actually a metal on its own, but a coating that is applied to another metal to create a decorative feature and protect the metal underneath from corrosion and damage.
Aluminum Foil Method
The aluminum foil method is one of the most effective ways to clean, protect and enhance your chrome. This is down to the chemical reaction that is created during the cleaning process.
- Remove all dirt and debris from the surface of the chrome using a soft sponge and clean water.
- Dip aluminum foil into clean water. Water with a little salt added works best as the salts and electrolytes in the water can help to speed up the chemical reaction. Tear small strips of foil to use on rusted chrome areas.
- Rub the piece of foil backward and forwards over any spots of rust, paying particular attention to heavily rusted areas. The aluminum in the foil actually helps to file over, fill and seal each rust spot and the results can last a very long time.
- Once you have finished removing the rust, wipe the entire area you have been working on with a wet cloth to rinse away any residue. Dry thoroughly with a dry cloth.
The Metal Polish Method
Did you know that polishing your car regularly with the right polish can help to remove and prevent rust? Using a 4-in-1 Metal Polish such as 303 Metal Polish, for example, can help to remove any surface dirt and rust and help to stop rust from occurring in the future. This type of product is extremely versatile as it can also clean and polish other metals on your car such as aluminum, nickel and stainless steel. It’s a great all-rounder product to have handy and can also clean household stainless steel and silver and gold.
- Chrome polish may be more expensive than other methods that use household objects, but a quality product will ensure quick and complete removal.
- Before applying the polish, clean the area using a soft cloth or sponge and soapy water. This will help to ensure all dust, dirt and debris is removed and give you a clear area to work with. If the surface is very dirty, adding a little vinegar into your water can help to remove more stubborn stains.
- Apply metal polish to all rusted areas. Use a soft cloth to spread the cleaning polish on the rusted chrome and ensure it is covered completely. A soft cloth is essential to avoid scratching the surface.
- Using very fine steel or brass wool, rub the chrome in a circular motion taking care not to apply too much pressure.
- Rinse the area with clean water to reveal a beautifully polished and rust-free chrome finish.
Preventing Future Rust From Appearing
The best way to protect your vehicle from developing rust spots is to keep it in your garage. If this is not possible, using a good-quality chrome polish regularly can help to remove and prevent future rust spots and will keep your vehicle looking its best all year round.
My motorcycles are kept in the garage. But due to temperature changes causing condensation. It seems that chrome over billet aluminum starts to pit and chrome flakes off. Is this normal, and is there any way to prevent this from happening. Thanks Mark
Hi. There is really no way to fully prevent chrome finishes from peeling over time. However, this process can be prolonged. Chrome needs regular cleaning and maintenance by polishing it regularly with a chrome polisher. Then, using a sealant or protectant to keep condensation off as much as possible –especially during storage, helps greatly. Hope this is useful!
Wow! this is amazing! I have been restoring old sewing machines and this method works beautifully! thank you.
surely the rust is from the steel base the chrome is on and no amount of cleaning will bring the chrome back. that is why the best chrome has a brass base.