How to Make Stainless Steel Look Like Chrome

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Things You'll Need

  • 1000-grit sandpaper

  • 2000-grit sandpaper

  • 3000-grit sandpaper

  • Dual-action sander with soft sanding pad

  • Bench-mounted polisher with buffing wheel

  • Red polishing compound stick

  • White polishing compound stick

  • Clean rag

Chrome has a distinctive sheen that is difficult to mimic.

Making stainless steel look like chrome involves little more than sanding and polishing the surface until it has a mirrorlike sheen. Stainless steel can't perfectly mimic chrome because chrome has a bluish coloration that can be seen by looking at it closely, but polishing can do the job adequately.

Step 1

Attach the 1000-grit sandpaper to the dual-action sander, then sand the stainless steel surface until all of the heavier sanding scratches or brush marks are removed. Some stainless steel products have a protective coating that must be sanded through to remove heavy scratches.

Step 2

Attach the 2000-grit sandpaper to the dual-action sander and continue sanding. Hazy reflections begin to form in the stainless steel.

Step 3

Attach the 3000-grit sandpaper to the dual action sander and continue sanding. The reflections become much more distinct, and details can be seen in them, but a slight haze remains on the surface. This is the final sanding stage prior to using the bench polisher.

Step 4

Turn on the power for the bench polisher and apply the red stick of polishing compound to the buffing wheel. The stick will melt into the buffing wheel. Press the stainless steel against the wheel, applying slight pressure. Too much pressure might cause overheating and discoloration. Move the stainless steel constantly over the pad, taking care not to catch the edges of the stainless steel on the cloth. This could pull the part out of your hands and mar the surface.

Step 5

Apply a finer grit of polishing compound, generally a white stick, to the wheel. Buff the stainless steel surface with the buffing wheel, again taking care to avoid overheating the stainless steel. When you are finished, the stainless steel will have a deep, reflective shine with no haze or discoloration. Wipe the stainless steel with a clean rag to remove the polishing compound.

Don Kress

Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.