How to Remove Rust From Chrome

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Before you replace your rusty chrome trim pieces or have your bumper re-chromed, you can try to remove the rust yourself.
It's quick, easy, and inexpensive. After you remove the rust, you can get a good look to see if it really needs to be replaced or re-coated. At the very least, taking the rust off yourself will buy you some time. One of these four methods will clean that rust right off.
Make sure to wash the rusty chrome pieces with soap and water first, regardless of the rust-removal method you choose. It will be easier for you to see the rust without all that dirt on it.
Read on to learn four methods on how to remove rust from chrome and chrome bumpers, compiled by Jerry.
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Remove the rust with aluminum foil

Materials needed
  • Aluminum foil
  • Bucket
  • Chrome wax
  • Hose with spray nozzle
  • Towel
Step 1: Crumble up a piece of aluminum foil. Heavy duty foil is best. A 3" by 3" to 6" by 6" piece is plenty big.
Tip The aluminum foil will actually fill in areas with slight pitting and leave an aluminum polish behind.
Step 2: Wet the aluminum foil with clear water from the bucket. You must wet the foil frequently in order for it to work properly.
Step 3: Scrub the rusty areas with the wet foil. You will need to apply firm pressure, but don’t scrub too hard.
Step 4: Rinse the chrome with clear water from the hose. If the rust isn’t gone, repeat Steps 3 and 4.
Step 5: Wipe the chrome off with a clean towel.
Step 6: Apply chrome wax over the area. It will give it a nice, polished look and may prevent, or at least slow down, the formation of fresh rust. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

Remove the rust with steel wool

Materials needed
  • Absorbent towel
  • Chrome wax
  • Steel wool (0000 grade)
Step 1: Wet the steel wool with fresh water.
Step 2: Rub the steel wool over the rusty areas on the chrome until the rust is gone. Use light but firm pressure.
Re-wet the steel wool frequently. It should be dripping water while you scrub.
Step 3: Rinse the chrome then dry it off with an absorbent towel.
Step 4: Apply chrome wax over the area. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

Remove the rust with an acidic liquid

Materials needed
  • Chrome wax
  • Dark cola or lime juice
  • Hose with spray nozzle
  • Sponge or microfiber car wash mitt
  • Towel
Step 1: Pour the acidic liquid over the rusty area. Wait 15 minutes to let the liquid loosen the rust.
Step 2: Scrub the area with a clean sponge.
Step 3: Rinse all of the acidic liquid off and check to see if the rust is gone. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until there is no more rust.
Step 4: Rinse the chrome one last time with fresh water and dry it with an absorbent towel.
Step 5: Apply a protective coating of chrome wax over the area. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

Remove the rust with a specially formulated chrome rust remover and polish

Materials needed
Step 1: Coat the rusty areas with the rust remover/polish. Use the soft clean cloth to apply an even layer.
Step 2: Let the rust remover/polish set. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Each type of rust remover/polish may have a slightly different set of directions. Generally, you should leave it until it turns white or hazy.
Step 3: Wipe the rust remover/polish off with a soft, clean cloth. Buff it with the cloth until you see a bright, clean shine.
Removing rust from your car is not only great for aesthetic purposes—it also helps your car last longer. Rust eats away at the body of your car, drastically reducing its resale value.
If you live near water or in a wet climate, your car will be more susceptible to rust, so it pays to be vigilant and remove it as soon as it appears. Make checking for rust part of your regular car upkeep routine, along with washing and polishing the car, and cleaning the interior.
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