Your car’s wash job isn’t complete without paying some attention to the chrome parts. After all, the chrome glinting in the sun is what catches your eye when you first see a car. The chrome on your rims, door handles, window trim, and other parts needs special maintenance with products designed for it.
The chrome on most modern cars is actually plastic coated with chrome, and you need to be aware of this to avoid damaging it. You don’t want to overdo the polishing or buffing because this will wear away the chrome finish.
Here’s how to polish both plastic and genuine chrome.
Steps to Polish Chrome & Other Metals
For plastic chrome, you’ll need a car chrome cleaner and mild chrome polish. For genuine chrome, you’ll need a chrome cleaner, a higher-grade chrome polish, and a rotary polisher. For both types, you’ll need a wheel brush and an absorbent cloth.
1) Get Rid of Rust
Before you start the cleaning and polishing process, you need to remove any rust from the metal parts of your car. You can use a ball of foil dipped in either water or vinegar to rub away the rust. If this doesn’t work, you can use a piece of steel wool.
2) Choose the Right Metal Polish
Next, select a professional polishing product designed for the metals on your car. There are all-in-one products that can polish chrome, aluminum, nickel, gold, silver, and stainless steel.
The purpose of metal polish isn’t only to make your chrome shine—it also leaves a protective layer that helps prevent scratches and keeps the chrome clean for longer.
3) Clean the Chrome & Metal
Before polishing, clean all dirt and debris from your car’s chrome trim. Using a polishing compound while there is still dirt on the chrome can damage the finish.
Start by hosing down the chrome to get rid of any mud or other gunk.
For the trim on your wheels, apply a chrome cleaner for cars and use a wheel brush to work it in and remove any hard-to-reach dirt.
As you clean your chrome with the chrome cleaner, work in small sections, and don’t let the cleaner dry on the surface. If you encounter stubborn stains, use some steel wool.
When you’re finished, thoroughly rinse off the chrome cleaner. Then dry the chrome using a clean, absorbent cloth. Not forgetting these two steps will guarantee that no cleaner stains or water spots are left behind.
4) Polish the Chrome & Metal
Use the chrome polish that you picked for your car. Remember, a higher-grade polish and a rotary polisher may be needed to shine genuine chrome. Apply the polish and slowly increase the speed of the polisher until the polish is no longer visible.
For plastic chrome, you can work in a milder polish by hand. Simply apply it and use circular motions to work it in. You can use a soft cloth to do this—you don’t want to use abrasive pads, which can damage the chrome.
Lastly, buff all the areas you polished to seal in the wax from the polishing compound. This wax layer will reduce water staining and oxidation, and it reduces the need for cleaning and polishing.
Polish Chrome Like a Pro With CleanTools
Now that you know the best way to clean and polish the chrome on your car, all you need are the right tools. A soft cloth like The Absorber, a buffing ball, and a chrome polish specially designed for your car will make polishing chrome a breeze.