How To Prevent Bathroom Chrome From Rusting in 5 Steps (Three Different Ways!)

Our bathrooms are our sanctuaries after long days. Clean, organized bathroom spaces offer a retreat from the pressures and stress of our lives for a few minutes. That is why worn down, and corroded materials in the bathroom can affect the peace of mind. 

How to prevent bathroom chrome from rusting? The steps to take to avoid chrome fixtures from rusting include cleaning the chrome as spots of corrosion build-up begins to appear. You can quickly complete cleaning chrome with aluminum foil and cola, baking soda and vinegar, and some over the counter cleaning products. 

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The chrome rusting that builds up on chrome fixtures in bathrooms is unsightly and almost impossible to eliminate. That is why it is essential to take steps to prevent rust from building up on chrome before it starts. 

What Is Chrome Plating? 

The plating done on bathroom fixtures protects the metal that composes the accessories. The base metal of fixtures is prone to corrosion, especially in the damp environment of the bathroom. Chrome coating provides protections as well as a look that is sleek and shiny. There are two reasons for using chrome, which include either for the aesthetic beauty of the polished surface and for protection of the fixture. 

How Can Chrome Plating Protect Bathroom Fixtures? 

Chrome plating of bathroom fixtures helps with the longevity of these fixtures. Since chrome plating is an electrolyte process, it can be applied to multiple types of base metal, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and other materials! The chrome adds hardness to the metal, prevents wear, friction, and sometimes can prevent corrosion (

What Are The Different Types Of Chrome Plating? 

When it comes to chrome plating, there are two major types: hard chrome-plated surfaces and thin dense chrome-plated surfaces. Each surface of chrome plating is structured differently and used for different situations. For instance, hard chrome-plating is generally a thicker layer of chrome materials. On the other hand, dense chrome-plating is thinner layered material. 

Hard Chrome-Plating

Hard chrome plating is used in 95% of all appliances. It is usually applied in a thicker layer because it is designed for high use areas and increased wear. Most bathroom fixtures are coated in hard chrome-plating. 

Thin Dense Chrome-Plating

Thin Dense Chrome-plating is used on the interior of surfaces and can generally reduce corrosion. The uses include uniformity of the surface and increase smoothness and fatigue life of the metal beneath. 

What Are The Steps To Prevent Bathroom Chrome From Rusting? 

The best techniques to prevent rusting and corrosion from building up on your chrome fixtures and parts in your bathroom all include consistent cleaning. Before heavy rusting or corrosion builds up, you want to use these techniques in your bathroom. As you start to see build up on the chrome, the methods in this article will help you to keep your chrome looking fresh and clean. Read on to find the steps from multiple different techniques to prevent bathroom chrome from rusting. 

How To Use Aluminum To Prevent Bathroom Chrome From Rusting? 

Many techniques of cleaning chrome to prevent rusting or corrosion on bathroom fixtures can damage the chrome finish. According to Gary Parobek, who is a member of the Customer Quality Improvement Group for the Multi-national home fixture company Moen, stated in a recent interview with the Washington Post that cleaning products and even vinegar solutions left to sit on chrome could damage the chrome surface. “Damage depends on contact time and concentration.” 

In other words, the time and concentration of the mixture are in contact with the chrome could damage the finish.  ( That is why techniques like using aluminum are popular. 

So How Do You Protect Your Chrome From Rusting? A Tutorial

Below are the materials needed and steps to take to use aluminum to prevent bathroom chrome from rusting. 

Materials Needed: 

Step #1: Wipe The Chrome

You need to clean the chrome surface with a damp sponge. Wipe away dirt, scum, or other residues with the damp sponge. 

Step #2: Make Aluminum Foil Ball

Take twelve to sixteen inches of aluminum foil from a roll and crumple the foil into the shape of a ball. If you would like to work with a smaller ball, use smaller amounts of foil. The size does not matter; just use what you are comfortable working with.

Step #3: Get Foil Wet

After you have your aluminum foil ball ready, hold it under a faucet of cold water and get it slightly wet. 

Step #4: Clean Chrome With The Foil Ball

Using a mild pressure, use the ball of foil and rub it over the entire surface of the fixture you are cleaning. Rub lightly on all chrome surfaces. The chrome surface should feel smooth after some rubbing with the aluminum foil ball. 

Step #5: Wipe Down The Chrome Surface

After you have rubbed the entire surface of the chrome fixture with the aluminum ball and the surface feels smooth, wipe the surface off with a clean, dry cloth or rag. Repeat the steps above if you need to polish more or missed any spots. Next, move on to another chrome fixture in your bathroom. Cleaning chrome with aluminum to prevent rust can be used on any bathroom fixture with a chrome finish! 

  • The foil and water polishing method is especially useful on slightly rusted chrome. Aluminum is helpful on rust because there is a reaction between the rust, aluminum, and water that creates aluminum oxide, which is a metal polishing substance. If the area contains a lot of rust, switch to a fresh piece of foil partway through the job to effectively create more polish.

Why Does Aluminum Foil Work Well As Chrome Polish? 

There are several reasons why using aluminum foil is an excellent method for preventing rust from building up on the chrome-plated surfaces in your bathroom. Below are some of the reasons that aluminum foil should be used to clean your chrome-plated bathroom fixtures in your home. 

Using Aluminum Foil Doesn’t Require Abrasive Chemicals

All you have to do with is wad-up aluminum foil into a ball and use it to polish your chrome fixtures. You are not using abrasive cleaning products that could damage your chrome finish on your accessories. Some common chemical cleaners have granules that could pit or scratch the surface of the chrome. 

Using Aluminum Foil Doesn’t Require Smelly Or Hazardous Chemicals

Some cleaning products are horrible and smelly. After using them in your bathroom, you may be forced to evacuate for an hour or more if there is no fan. Using aluminum foil to polish your chrome fixtures has no dangerous chemicals or smells involved, so it is safe for a family with kids or pets. 

Using Aluminum Foil On Chrome With Rust Works Very Well

Finally, the aluminum foil ball method of cleaning chrome works well on chrome that is slightly rusted already. There is a chemical reaction between the rust and the aluminum. This chemical reaction creates aluminum oxide, a widely used polishing agent.

How To Use Vinegar To Prevent Bathroom Chrome From Rusting In 5 Steps? 

One of the best homemade cleaning solutions for the prevention of rusting on chrome fixtures in the bathroom is to use a vinegar mixture.  Cleaning with vinegar is a simple, safe, and effective way to clean many different things in your home. If you have children or pets, this is an excellent option for you! 

Recently, HGTV even listed the top 30 things you should be cleaning with vinegar in your home ( This versatile cleaning product works excellent on preventing rust from forming and building-up on the chrome in your bathroom. 

Materials you will need:

Step #1: Make The Vinegar Solution

In a bowl or small bucket, make a mixture that is equal parts of water and distilled white vinegar. Soak a cloth with the vinegar and water mixture and then wrap the fabric around the chrome of the bath fixture. This should be done when you start to see spotting on the chrome. Leave the cloth wrapped around the chrome for at least 15 minutes. 

Step #2: Toothbrush Scrub

Use a toothbrush to apply the vinegar mixture to the chrome surface of the bathroom fixture. Scrub all hard to reach or see places where water could be sitting for long periods of time. Pay extra special attention to the areas where you are noticing soap and scum spotting or build up. These areas are the trouble spots that can lead to rusting on chrome-plated bathroom fixtures. 

Step #3: Wipe Chrome 

Using one of the dry and clean cloths, wipe the chrome of the fixture clean. Wiping the chrome fixtures of your bathroom regularly will help to prevent scum and corrosive build-up on their surfaces. 

Step #4: Washing The Chrome 

Occasionally, you will want to clean the chrome surfaces of your bathroom fixtures with mild dish soap and water. Rust and corrosion come from the build-up of scum and spots caused by the consistent use of water and detergent around the chrome. Cleaning the surface with dish soap regularly can help to keep the chrome fresh and clean longer. 

Step #5: Clean With Vinegar Occasionally

If you use the dish soap to clean regularly, you will find that a deep clean with vinegar is not usually needed. However, the occasional deep clean using the vinegar mixture is a good idea every month to help keep those hard to reach places with water and soap scum build-up from corroding the chrome of your bathroom fixtures. 

How To Use Household Cleaning Products To Prevent Chrome From Rusting? 

Even though they can be abrasive, certain cleaning products with chemicals work exceptionally well at preventing chrome from rusting. Many mild glass cleaners are strong enough to remove soap scum and water spots that can develop on chrome surfaces. 

Materials you will need:

Step #1: Clean Chrome With Dish Soap

Use a clean cloth and get damp with water. Place a small amount of dish soap on the fabric and scrub around the surface of the chrome fixture. Then, use a clean side of the damp cloth with no soap on it to wash off the soapy water from the chrome. Make sure to try and clean off the residue from soap scum and any hard water spots that you can. 

Step #2: Apply Mild Glass Cleaner

Spray mild glass cleaner all over the surface of the chrome and let sit for a minute or two. Next, use the non-abrasive sponge to wipe the surface of the chrome fixture. You may need to apply a polishing rotation motion as you remove the glass cleaner spray from the chrome surface. 

Step #3: Wipe With Clean Cloth

After polishing the chrome with the glass cleaner and removing most, if not all, of the scum and water build-up, make sure to wipe the surface of the chrome clean with a damp, clean cloth to remove any of the glass cleaner left behind. 

Step #4: Wipe With A Dry Cloth

To avoid water spots, wipe the chrome fixture clean with a dry cloth. It is a good idea to keep chrome surfaced accessories dry and wiped off at all times in your bathroom. 

Step #5: Clean With Mild Dish Soap Weekly

To prevent rust, consistent cleaning of chrome surfaces is needed. You will need to use cleaning products like glass cleaners less frequently if you keep the chrome surface dry and clean about every week with dish soap. 

Replace With Solid Brass Base Fixtures

If you still see black spots of corrosion on your bathroom fixtures after doing these cleaning techniques, you will probably want to replace your fixture. If this is the case, look to get an installation with a solid brass base as these are some of the most durable( 

Top Mistakes That Causes Chrome Surfaces To Rust

Chrome appliances and fixtures are made to look great and help your home metal last longer. Corrosion and rust are common and sometimes unavoidable, like in bathrooms without fans. However, there may be things that you are doing to your chrome-plated appliances and fixtures that may be damaging and increase the likelihood of corrosion and rust. Below is a list of the top mistakes that you may be making that can damage chrome surfaces. 

#1: Wiping Or Polishing Against The Grain Of The Metal

If you clean or polish your chrome surfaces, try to wipe and polish in the direction that the grain of the metal is going. If you are shining chrome, you will leave lines already. Therefore, it is essential to not go against these lines as this can cause pitting and wear out the chrome quicker, possibly causing corrosion and rust to build-up faster. 

#2: Use Of Strong, Or Abrasive Chemical Products

Some abrasive cleaners have granules in the cleaning mixture. When spread over the surface of chrome, these granules can scratch the surface of the fixture. Also, some more robust cleaning products can leave pitting on the surface of chrome products. Sure, chemical cleaners or abrasive cleaners work well to get rid of dirt and scum from bathroom fixtures. Still, they can also leave the chrome surface scratched or damaged. 

Better cleaning products to use are ones with a low amount of chloride. Make sure to wipe and wash the product clean on the surface you are cleaning and wipe dry with a cloth. 

#3: Leaving Water On Chrome Surfaces

When you splash water onto the chrome faucet or even let moisture from steam build up on the fixtures that hold lights, you are allowing hard water deposits to build up or even corrosion to take root. It is good practice to keep chrome wiped off and if it gets wet to limit the amount of soap scum, water spots, and other deposits to build up. These deposits on chrome are what eventually can cause corrosion and rust. 

#4: Chlorine And Bleach 

It is not recommended to use strong chemicals like bleach or chlorine on chrome. These chemicals can leave streaks, discolor metal, and even cause pitting, which gives corrosion and rust a secure foothold to get started. 

#5: Using Abrasive Cleaning Pads

Using abrasive cleaning pads like steel brushes, abrasive sponges, or steel wool will leave scratches on chrome. These types of pads should never be used when polishing the chrome-plated appliances or fixtures in your bathroom!

Some better cleaning products to use on chrome would be those made of fabric or paper, such as paper towels, mesh, and soft sponges, microfiber cloth, and other more delicate materials. 

#6: Leaving Scum For A Long Time

If you rarely clean your chrome-plated appliances or fixtures in the bathroom, you are allowing the soap scum and water spots to get worse and even become rust. Corrosion of chrome happens over a long period. The chrome surface must stay continuously damp for rust and corrosion to occur. Unfortunately, by leaving scum and other grime on the chrome surface of fixtures for a long time, you are inviting rust to get started and giving it the perfect place to start growing in size. 

How To Clean A Chrome Surface If It Is Already Corroded? 

Sometimes, the prevention of corrosion and rust is just not possible anymore. The damage has been done, and the chrome-plated surface of your bathroom fixtures have already been mistakenly left to get destroyed. When this happens, you may think that replacing your fixture is your best bet. However, there are other options for you to consider before you decide to spend a large amount of money on the replacement of your chrome-plated appliance or fixture. Read on to find out your options for cleaning chrome surfaces that are already corroded with rust or other oxidation. 

Use Car Cleaner & Polish To Remove Rust From Chrome

In a Washington Post article where a member of the Customer Quality Improvement Group was interviewed, it was advised that car cleaner and polish could be used to reverse corrosive rust on chrome finishes for bathroom appliances and fixtures. Some of the best car cleaners and polishes recommended by the article were the Flitz Metal, Plastic, & Fiberglass Polish, which retails for $12.25 and comes in a 1.76-ounce tube at  

Use Household Acid To Remove Rust From Chrome

Household acids, such as cola and lime juice, eat away at the surface and chrome and, in the process, can remove the corrosion or rust build-up on these chrome surfaces. The procedure for this is relatively easy to follow. However, acid is a component that dissolves metal surfaces and can end up leaving pitting and even rust metal surfaces. So, it is essential to follow the steps to make sure you clean without making a bigger mess than you started with. 

Step #1: Use Cola Or Lime Juice

Phosphoric acid is the active ingredient in cola that will eat away the rust on the chrome surface of bathroom fixtures. Since phosphoric acid is seen in most sodas, any of this soda can be used for this cleaning trick. 

Other things that you can use with acid in them are lime juice and even vinegar. You may want to use diet sodas since these types of mixers don’t have sugar making the cleaning less gummed up and sticky. If you use phosphoric acid on its own, it will be more durable. However, make sure the room is significantly ventilated for you during the cleaning process. You may want to consider wearing a mask. 

Step #2: Chrome Cleaning

Before starting to clean with acids, remove any debris or scum from the chrome surface of the fixture. Cleaning away grime and scum from over and around the rust and corrosion can help the acid to adhere to the rust and eat away the rust more easily. 

Step #3: Soak The Surface of the Chrome With The Acid

Soaking the surface means continual coverage of acid on the surface of the chrome-plating. If it is not possible to submerge the surface in the acid, you can soak a cloth in the acid and wrap it around the surface of the chrome fixture or appliance where rust and corrosion are formed. Let the acid sit on the surface of the chrome and work for at least 15 minutes. 

Step #4: Use A Glass Oven Top Cleaner To Scrub Off Rust

The acid solution should have loosened and eaten away much of the rust on the chrome surface. Now you can scrub the rust from the chrome. You may want to use dish scrubbers that are not very abrasive to avoid scratching. Glass oventop cleaner is a great product to use with the soft scrubber to remove rust after an acid bath since the glass oven top cleaner is meant to be used with scratching surfaces. 

Step #5: Wipe Clean

Using a clean cloth, dampen, and then wipe the surface of the chrome clean. Use the other dry side of the fabric to wipe the entire chrome surface clean. Make sure to get any moisture off as this will cause streaking to dry. 

Final Thoughts

The chrome in your bathroom is in an awkward location to keep clean. The corrosion from water and soap residue is a constant threat to chrome-plated appliances and fixtures. The best way to stop rust from building up and making your bathroom look gross is to use preventative techniques to keep the chrome clean. When soap and water spots accumulate on the surface of chrome, it gives corrosion a foothold to do its damage. By practicing cleaning techniques for chrome with household acids, aluminum, or even some mild cleaning products, you will lessen the chance that severe corrosion or rust can take place.

Related Questions

  1. Does chrome plating prevent rust? Chrome plating does prevent rusting. This is due to the fact that the copper and chromium layer act as a barrier to oxygen.
  2. Does WD 40 remove rust from chrome? WD-40 does help remove rust from chrome and stainless steel without damaging the surface.

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