The high gleam and bright finish of chrome is attractive, and the finish is resistant to corrosion in an active bathroom or kitchen. However, a pitted chrome faucet can make the entire space seem dingy and dirty.
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Ridding the pits and scratches from the chrome faucet's finish can be done a few ways before restoring the fixture with a protective lacquer or layer of paint.
Causes of Pitting in Chrome
While resistant to corrosion and fairly durable, chrome can be pitted by a number of household detergents and just plain old tap water. It's actually a soft metal that won't stand up to a scouring pad or sharp tools to chip away any hard water build up.
When bleach, CLR or another harsh chemical is used on the chrome finish to clean it, the corrosive detergents will eat through the finish over time. The corrosion will look like small white bumps or rust.
Cleaning Chrome Faucets
Keeping it clean is essential to keeping the mirror-like finish free from the pitting that typically occurs from corrosive minerals in the tap water and harsh cleaning detergents. Home Cleaning for You suggests using a mix of 10 drops of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. This will clean and shine the chrome and remove odors. The vinegar may also take out any minor pitting that has already occurred.
To clean chrome faucets, use mild dishwashing liquid and water. Use a soft, narrow nylon brush or an old toothbrush to clean around the base of the faucet where it meets the countertop and around the narrow opening of the spout. Lift the handle and clean out the crevices and joints to keep the fixture operating well and avoid a buildup of hard water deposits.
A good chrome cleaner or polish, such as Turtle Wax T-280RA Liquid Chrome Polish & Rust Remover, can remove all the grunge that builds up at the base and spout of the faucet and give the chrome a proper shine. Follow the manufacturer's application instructions for the chrome polish you plan to use to get the most out of the commercial product.
Restoring a Pitted Chrome Faucet
To remove the unsightly white bumps or rust spots from a chrome faucet, use a ball of aluminum foil and water to remove the pitting. Dip a strip of aluminum foil in water and gently rub it into the pitted areas of the chrome faucet. This will not only remove the pits, but return the shine to the chrome, according to Merry Maids.
Sandpaper in varying grits can also remove more serious pitting on chrome. Start with a 400-grit piece of sandpaper and work up to 800 and finish with a 1,000-grit to reduce serious pitting. Use small, circular motions. A piece of 0000 fine steel wool in warm water can also whisk away the pitting and return the shine.
Once the pitting has been completely removed, spray a light coat of clear lacquer or chrome paint, onto the faucet. Make sure to have the area well ventilated and wear protective eye gear and a painter's mask before working with spray paint.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.