How to Polish Chrome Bumpers

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Chrome bumper (Photo: @vitaly_pechkurou via Twenty20)
Can you see your reflection in your chrome bumper or is it cloudy, or, worse — rusty?
Chrome bumpers don’t stay shiny on their own. Metals will always show the effects of wear and tear in due time. Regardless of what condition your bumper is in, you can restore it to its former glory by giving it a polish.
Polishing your chrome bumper is easy by following these few simple steps.

Cleaning a chrome bumper

When you own a car with chrome on the exterior (mainly on your bumpers and wheels), you know the importance of keeping it clean. When chrome isn’t maintained, it oxidizes and rusts. A buildup of dirt and grime causes metals to oxidize. Allowing oxidation to remain on your chrome leads the surface to rust and become pitted.
To clean your chrome bumper, you need the following items.
Materials needed:
  • Bucket
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Clean cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush
Once you have all the materials, follow these simple steps:
  1. Mix the cleaner: Mix 4 cups of warm water and 5 cups of all-purpose cleaner in a bucket.
  2. Clean: Saturate the sponge with the cleaning solution and wipe down the bumper.
  3. Scrub: Scrub the bumper using a soft-bristled brush while making sure to scrub the entire surface.
  4. Rinse: Rinse the bumper off as soon as possible to prevent spotting.
  5. Dry: Once you’ve cleaned and washed the bumper, use a dry, lint-free cloth to remove any moisture.

Removing rust from chrome

In addition to dirt, grime, and other substances, a chrome bumper can also oxidize and develop rust spots. Usually, this isn’t a big deal, as long as you nip it in the bud. To clean rust from your chrome bumper, you’ll need the following.
Materials Needed
  • Brass wire brush
  • Bronze wool pad or fine-grade steel wool
Once you have all the materials, follow these simple steps:
  1. Remove buildup: Use a brass wire brush or steel wool to scrub any dirt, grime, or oxidation from the chrome of your bumper.
  2. Remove remaining buildup: Follow the cleaning with a brass wire brush with a good cleaning with a bronze wool pad. Steel wool also works if you have it on-hand. However, steel is more likely to scratch your bumper than bronze, so if you’re using wool, make sure you don’t apply a damaging amount of pressure.
  3. Wash: Once you’ve removed any oxidation, grime, or dirt, wash the bumper again.

Polishing a chrome bumper

After you’ve washed and removed the rust from chrome, it’s time to polish your bumper. To polish your chrome bumper, you’ll need the items listed below.
Materials Needed
  • Chrome polish product (or metal polish)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Applicator pad or microfiber cloth
Once you have all the materials, follow these simple steps:
  1. Tape off the area: The first thing you need to do before polishing your chrome bumper is to tape off the area surrounding it. This should be enough to prevent you from accidentally polishing your plastic trim.
  2. Polish the chrome bumper: Next, squeeze out some polish onto the applicator or a microfiber cloth. Rub the polish into the chrome using a circular motion. Start at one end of the bumper, and move methodically to the other end, making sure to cover the whole surface of the bumper.
  3. Buff the surface of the chrome: Using a clean microfiber cloth, buff the surface of the bumper. This should remove any excess polish and leave behind a shine. Just as before, start at one end of the bumper and work your way across, using circular motions while buffing. Repeat as necessary.
Now your chrome bumpers are shining and ready to take on the open roads! Remember, other parts of your vehicle can also benefit from a good polish.