Chrome plating is not only protective, adding surface hardness and heat resistance to metal surfaces, it also adds a dazzling shine to pots, pans, fixtures, car bumpers and rims. Regular cleaning not only keeps your chrome looking great, it protects it from corrosion and tough stains caused by salt, hard water and grease buildup. Though there are numerous commercial products you can buy to help keep your chrome shiny and clean, you can save money and maintain it just as well with safe, simple household ingredients.

Cleaning

As with anything, the best way to keep chrome clean is to not let it get too dirty in the first place. Regular cleaning of your chrome can be as simple as using soap, water and a soft rag. Wash your chrome pots and pans in simple dish water, taking care the water is not greasy from other dishes. Regular cleaning of bathroom fixtures as well as chrome auto parts often needs no more than a quick once-over with soap and water as well. Make sure not to use too much soap to avoid a soapy buildup. To avoid water spots, be sure to dry chrome thoroughly after each cleaning.

Stain and Rust Removal

For deeper cleaning and to remove tough grime, the acidic properties of vinegar may do the trick. Either white or cider vinegar applied with a soft cloth will remove built-up grease, hard water deposits and tarnish. You can also try slicing a lemon in half and using it, inside down, as a scouring pad. The lemon's acid will cut through grease and loosen mineral deposits making them easier to wipe away. To clean tough grime from small crevices in your kitchen and bathroom fixtures, try using a bit of toothpaste with a soft toothbrush. Toothpaste not only cleans chrome, but it leaves a bright shine as well. You can also make a paste from baking soda and water, applied with a toothbrush for fixture cleaning. To remove rust from car rims, bumpers or other chrome surfaces, use a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, shiny side out, dipped in vinegar, Coca-Cola or any other acidic fluid. Scrub with medium pressure, and make sure the foil stays wet by continuing to dip it into the fluid.

Polishing

To give chrome added shine after cleaning, polish it with a small amount of baby oil or olive oil. Don't use too much, however, as an oily buildup will attract dirt that will dull your chrome's surface.