When I first noticed specks of brown on my chrome rims, I was sure it was dirt or grease. When it didn’t come off at the car wash, I knew I was in deep. The chrome was beginning to rust, and I had no idea how to stop it.
I called up my favorite mechanic and begged him to give me all his rust removal secrets. He offered me a few solutions, and I was willing to follow along. In no time, my silvery rims were once again glistening in the sunlight.
Now, I am taking my knowledge to you. Below, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for eradicating rust from chrome. Just think, if you follow along, you’ll be able to go back to checking your reflection in the mirror-like surface of your metal parts.
What You Need
- Dish soap
- Chrome cleaner
- Rust remover
- Rubber gloves
- Protective eyeglasses
- Aluminum foil
- Fine Steel wool
- Coca Cola
- White vinegar
How to Remove Rust From Chrome Rims
Before you go about removing rust from your car’s chrome rims, be sure that the material you’re dealing with is chrome. Many manufacturers produce objects coated in chrome-like coatings. Chrome only covers the surface of the metal, creating a plate-like preventative surface.
1. Scrub the Surface
Use mild dish detergent and water to wipe away any dirt or grime that is stuck to the surface of your chrome rims. When you are finished, wipe the surface with a clean, dry rag.
2. Remove the Rust
There are several rust removal options. You can opt for a commercial rust remover that is safe on chrome. You may also consider making a homemade rust removal solution out of an acid liquid, such as coca-cola or white vinegar.
Once you’ve selected a rust remover, you can apply it directly to the rust on your chrome rims. After that, use the rust removal process that corresponds with the rust remover you have opted to use. You don’t need to scrub commercial rust removers. However, homemade acids and abrasives require a little elbow grease.
Choose the Right Rust Remover
Opt for a rust remover that will not damage nearby surfaces. What’s more, opt for a rust remover that doubles as a rust inhibitor. This way, you skip the chrome polish.
3. Seal in Your Progress
Use vehicle wax to seal in your progress. Chrome is merely a coating on the surface of the metal. The rust you see is breaking through the surface of damaged chrome. If it isn’t treated with a rust inhibitor, the spots may continue to sprout up and grow.
How to Remove Rust From a Chrome Motorcycle
While any of rust removal techniques would work on a chrome motorcycle, let’s explore an inexpensive and noninvasive option.
Method 1: Abrasion
1. Clean the Motorcycle
Clean your chrome motorcycle before starting the rust removal process. Ensure that debris, dirt, and grease are eradicated from the surface of the chrome.
2. Scrub with Aluminum Foil
Cut a small piece of aluminum foil and wad it into a ball. Then, dip the aluminum foil into saltwater. Use the wet ball of aluminum foil to scrub the surface of the rusted chrome.
Rest assured that the aluminum foil will not scratch the metal underneath. Aluminum is a soft, nonabrasive metal. What’s more, salt merely serves to speed up the rust removal process.
Re-wet the aluminum foil whenever it begins to dry. Use a dry rag to wipe away loose rust.
4. Clean the Motorcycle
When you are finished, clean the motorcycle again. Use soap and water to rinse away any remaining rust. Then, use a clean, dry rag to wipe away the moisture.
Method 2: Acid
1.Use an Acidic Cleaner
Either purchase to make an acid-based cleaner. Popular DIY options include Coke, lemon juice, and vinegar.
2. Let it Soak
Use a dense rag to absorb some of the acids. Place it over the rusted area and let it sit. Wait for 15 to 30 minutes before removing the dressing.
3. Use Force
Use a nylon bristle brush to loosen the remaining rust. We recommend using an old toothbrush or something similar. Don’t be afraid to chip away at rusty clumps. You want to remove as much iron oxide as possible. Anything that remains will become the breeding ground for metal decay.
4. Rinse Away
Use a hose or wet washcloth to wipe away any remaining residue. Keep in mind that the sugars in Coke and citrus juice can become very sticky.
How to Remove Heavy Rust From Chrome
If your chrome is heavily rusted, you’re going to need to increase the intensity of your removal tactics. Below, you’ll find an additional method for removing rust from chrome.
1. Wash the Rusted Area
Wash the rusted area with soap and water. Then, rinse the rusted part to remove any remaining soap scum. Use a clean, dry rag to wipe down the rusted part.
2. Apply Chrome Polish
Cover the rusted area in chrome polish. Then, use a piece of steel wool to rub the rusted area and remove any loose rust. The chrome polish will create a temporary seal over the damaged metal. This will help prevent the rust from reemerging.
Continue to apply chrome polish until all of the rust spots have been removed. Rub the steel wool in a circular motion to eradicate stubborn patches of iron oxide.
3. Dry the Area
When you are satisfied with your progress, use a clean rag to dry the areas that you just treated. After that, rinse the area with water. If rust remains, cycle back through the previous step or consider testings out another method.
How to Remove Rust From a Chrome Bumper
In this last method, we put common household cleaners to the est. Of course, the previously mentioned rust removal methods serve as suitable alternatives to the following method.
1. Select an Acidic Substance
Mildly acid liquids do a great job of removing rust. You can use Coca Cola, vinegar, or lemon juice.
2. Wash the Rusted Area with Acidic Cleaner
Use the acidic substance of your choice to wipe the rust off your chrome bumper. Soak a clean rag in the substance to create a moist wrap. This enables the substance to soak in longer.
3. Use a Scrub Brush to Loosen the Rust
Use a nylon scrub brush to remove rust. Wipe the surface in a circular motion. This will help you loosen clumps of stuck-on rust.
4. Treat with Chrome Polish
Apply a coating of chrome polish to protect the chrome from future occurrences of rust. This final step is especially important on pitted surfaces.
Rust Removal Tips and Tricks
Try More Methods
Don’t let failure keep you down. If one method yields unsatisfactory results, try another. If the rust has spread extensively, you may need to repeat a process two or more times.
Touch It Up
You may need to have your rusted object re-chromed. Re-chroming is a professional service offered by some mechanics. It’s possible to re-plate chrome objects at home. However, the chemicals and methods can be costly and tedious.
Use Silver Paint
Many people opt to spray heavily damaged areas with silver automotive paint. This paint helps improve the look and feel of pitted metal. We recommend that you a smooth, even coat of paint. When it’ dries, use fine sandpaper to smooth out the surface.
Use What You Already Have On-Hand
You don’t need to purchase expensive chemicals and polishes to bring your chrome back to life. In most cases, you can remove rust with common household ingredients and supplies.
Always Apply Sealant
Use chrome polish or automotive wax to protect treated chrome from further damage. Apply the wax. Then, buff the chrome by spreading the wax around in a figure-eight motion. Apply a second layer to guarantee that the entire surface is sealed.
Always Check Again
Always check for remaining rust spots. If you notice any, repeat the rust removal process of your choice until no rust spots remain.
Neutralize the Acids
If the item you are treating is small, soak it in a baking soda and water bath to neutralize any acids.
Suitable Rust Removers
Are you struggling to choose just one rust removal product? If so, read about the different rust removers in the section below. If the rust has affected the metal below the chrome, you may need to replace it.
You can use aluminum foil or finely ground aluminum to clean rust off of chrome. Pair the aluminum with salt and a mildly acid cleaner. As you can see in this video to see the amazing before and after pictures of aluminum rust remover in action. You can remove most rust just by soaking damaged items in a bath of distilled white vinegar and water.
Mildly acid liquids do a great job of removing rust. As you can see here, vinegar eats through heavy rust without issue. We recommend mixing vinegar with salt when removing rust. Salt acts as an electrolyte and, therefore, speeds up the process. When your items are finished soaking, use an abrasive pad or steel wool to wipe away any remaining rust.
It’s important to select an abrasive pad that can rub away rust without scratching the surface of the chrome. Aluminum foil is a great option because it is very soft. However, fine steel wool is another suitable alternative. Anything rougher has the potential to mark up the surface of your chrome.
Commercial Rust Removers
Not all rust removers and inhibitors are safe to use on chrome. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that a product will not damage or discolor your chrome..
Many people swear by Bar Keepers Friend. This household cleaner removes smudges and hard water stains from chrome parts and features. While most people use it on their bathroom and kitchen faucets, it can also be applied to less conventional chrome surfaces. Always test it in an inconspicuous place.
You may also want to pull out some of your mother’s S.O.S. Pads. These handy cleaners combine the power of soap suds and steel wool. Just be sure to limit the amount of pressure you use when applying an S.O.S. Pad to a chrome surface.
We hope you enjoyed our step-by-step guide to removing rust from chrome. While iron oxide can be unsightly, it isn’t a death sentence for chrome.