Asked on Feb 08, 2015

How to clean-up old chrome?

by NV87
New roadside find that I will be working on in the spring. What's the best way to clean up this chrome? I love this thing. All the parts are there and work. Stair treads need clean-up too if you've got suggestions for that. I think I'll use a synthetic crocodile/alligator fabric, vinyl, for the new upholstery. Sorry the pics are dark, winter here in Boston and all the basement windows are covered with snow making it difficult to get a pic...snow also doesn't allow for me to work on projects as quickly as I'd like to. Open to all and any suggestions. Thanks.
  23 answers
  • Fab and Pretty Fab and Pretty on Feb 08, 2015
    Wow awesome find! Spray oven cleaner (oh that chrome shines up), a toothbrush, scrubby pad and maybe bamboo skewer to get the gunk out of the crevasses! You can buy the foot covers at one of those big box hardware stores! I've done 2 chairs but you have a real beauty!
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Feb 08, 2015
    I will have the same problem with my mother's old stool. It's got copper legs and some of it is rusted and the step pieces are ragged. Can't wait til the snow goes here in PA so I can start my projects in the garage again. Thanks for the info on the oven cleaner. Will try it.
    • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 08, 2015
      @Shirley Kalinosky for cleaning up copper use Tarn-X it takes some work & a lot of rubbing but it will look great! I have several antique fire extinguishers & other copper things that I use Tarn-X on. It works better & easier than any diy cleaners like ketchup, salt, etc.......
  • Jrkma Jrkma on Feb 08, 2015
    They sell chrome cleaner for vehicle chrome in the auto dept...
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 08, 2015
    Just saw a post where someone cleaned chrome using CLR and someone use crumpled up foil dipped in some water. Maybe if you do a search for "clean chrome" or such on this site, it will take you to it.
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 08, 2015
    @NV87 Unless the oven cleaner specifically says it is OK to use on chrome I would NOT use oven cleaner as suggested above! Most oven cleaners will take the finish off of chrome! That is why the instruction tell you to remove the oven racks before cleaning! Check the auto section of Walmart, or go to any auto store & pick up something for cleaning chrome.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Feb 08, 2015
    Thanks. I do have a bottle of Tarn-x under my sink. Can't wait to try it!
  • Pat Massari Pat Massari on Feb 08, 2015
    Try steel wool I used it on my 2 step cosco stool I found by the curb it takes patience but its coming along I also bought a can of chrome spray paint for an alternative
  • Rebecca Rebecca on Feb 09, 2015
    Coca-Cola and a steel wool pad. I soak a towel in cola and wrap the legs, let sit and just swipe down with the pad. You get a bit sticky but it you get thirsty beverage is handy.
  • Jane Brenning Jane Brenning on Feb 09, 2015
    I love, SOS pads, not Brillo or any other brand..
  • Myrna Engle Myrna Engle on Feb 09, 2015
    If chrome is severely pitted it will have to be re-chromed. Sometimes things have gone to far. I believe this one will not clean up. If you try, go ahead and use oven cleaner and nothing scratchy.
  • Robert Snow Robert Snow on Feb 09, 2015
    I work at an auto parts store and one of the best I have used on chrome is a product that is coincidently named Semichrome . A small 2oz. tube will last a long time because you don't have to use much and it won't scratch the chrome . If it's to pitted you may not get what you are hoping for ............ Good luck !!
  • Rebecca K Rebecca K on Feb 10, 2015
    Barkeepers Friend and a 3M green pad. Make a paste on the pad and rub away. You will be amazed. I used it on two chrome projects (roadside finds) and restored them beautifully where I thought I might have to just spray paint them.
  • Donna Donna on Feb 10, 2015
    You could maybe restore the tread on the stairs by cutting old car floor mats, or welcome mats.
    • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on May 06, 2015
      @Donna This is a great idea! I had a couple of small mats in my car all winter and I took them out when I finally had the nice weather to vacuum the inside of car. I left them out in the rain and now I actually can use them for something else. Thanks for the suggestion. I have my mother's old step stool and have been wanting to re-do it. Now I know how.
  • Providence Hill Providence Hill on Feb 10, 2015
    This may sound weird... but I remove hard water water marks off my chrome bathroom fixtures with aluminum foil. I'm not sure if it would work well on any stain but it is work a try! :)
  • Sarah Coblentz Sarah Coblentz on Feb 10, 2015
    Have some really great memories playing on stools like this when I was young! I don't have much advice for cleaning it up but great find!
  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Feb 14, 2015
    I've used an auto chrome cleaner with an abrasive in it. It was so long ago I cannot remember a brand name.. It took a lot of elbow grease to get all the rust off.. Then I just used car wax to prevent the rust from coming back. My Mom uses Semichrome compound that you buy from an auto store. She polished collectible metal buttons with it. Works well on most metal finishes.
  • Donnita Donnita on Feb 15, 2015
    sos pads from the cleaning section of the grocery .a little elbow grease and what a shine as for the tread I removed the old stuff and cut a rubber to fit the tread glued them on
  • Donnita Donnita on Feb 15, 2015
    rubber mat
  • Gypsiwoman Gypsiwoman on Feb 15, 2015
    I have seen a YouTube video using Coca Cola and a steel wool pad to take rust off an old auto bumper. Use steel wool with no soap in it, not the kitchen type used to wash pots and pans. If the chrome is not too pitted, try Brasso, Nox-On or a good quality chrome cleaner. You can find one at an auto supply store. Be prepared to use plenty of elbow grease.
  • Donnita Donnita on Feb 16, 2015
    use sos pads it has the soap in it , scrub the chrome it also will remove rust . Then just wash and dry it.
  • Donnita Donnita on Feb 16, 2015
    The sos pads won't scratch up the chrome.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 29, 2023

    WD-40 if that doesn't work use Chrome look Mirror Sticky Backed Plastic to cover the frame. I've done it myself on Bathroom items and Electrical items!