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How to Clean Tarnished Chrome Faucets: 5 Best Ways

How To Clean Tarnished Chrome Faucets
Written by Callum Strempel
Last Update: November 30, 2022

Sparkling chrome fixtures make your bathroom shine, but as they get older, they become dull.

Here we will look at cleaning tarnished chrome using several methods and step-by-step instructions.

We’ll also share tips for each technique, and some standard cleaners that will help remove harsher stains and water spots.

How to Clean Tarnished Chrome Faucets: Top 5 Ways

Tarnished Chrome Faucets

Plain Soap and Water

Plain Soap and Water

Step 1: Make soap and warm water solution

Put two squirts of dish-washing liquid into a small bucket and fill the rest with water.

Step 2: Dip a rag in the solution

Drop your rag into the bucket and squeeze out the excess water.

Step 3: Wipe the grime

Using the soapy rag, wipe down the faucet and knobs, getting off as much dirt as you can.

Step 4: Rinse off the faucet

Rinse your rag in cold water once the faucet and knobs are clean, and wipe off the soap.

Tip: If the faucet or handles have stains or stubborn grime, you can use an old soft toothbrush to scrub them away after you dip them in the hot soapy water.

The soft brush will not scratch the chrome!

Aluminum foil trick

Aluminum foil trick

Step 1: Take a square of aluminum foil

Using a square of aluminum foil can remove rust and bad tarnish. First, cut a square of foil.

Step 2: Crumple it and dip it in warm water

Crumple it up, dipping it in vinegar or warm water.

Step 3: Scrub the faucet

Scrub the faucet as you would with a rag or brush. As the foil crumbles or becomes too dirty, pull off another square of foil, crumple it and continue cleaning.

Be really careful not to press too hard, so you don’t damage the chrome finish.

Step 4: Rinse with warm water

Using a rag, rinse the faucet and knobs with warm water.

Step 5: Wipe with a soft cloth

Once the knobs and faucet are clean, dry the fixture with a soft, dry cloth.

Tip: Keeping the foil wet will give you the best results.

Chrome polisher

Chrome polisher

Sometimes the home remedies just don’t do the trick. Using a commercial tarnish remover or chrome polish will work in these cases.

Step 1: Spray the faucet

Spray the cleaner/tarnish remover onto the chrome as directed on the package.

Step 2: Rinse it with warm water

Wipe off all the tarnish remover/cleaner with a warm wet rag.

Step 3: Wipe it with a soft cloth

Once all the cleaner is off, wipe down the chrome with a soft dry rag.

Tip: Wiping down the chrome with a wet, warm rag before spraying the cleaner will remove any grime so the cleaner can work on the chrome without leaving spots where the dirt had been.

Using lemon

Using lemon

Step 1: Cut the lemon 

Cut lemon half into two halves

Step 2: Rub the lemon 

Rub lemon halves directly on the tarnished chrome. Use as many lemons as you need to cover the entire area.

Step 3: Wait for some time 

Wait for 3-5 minutes to let the lemon juice sit on the chrome.

Step 4: Wipe it

Use a microfiber cloth to clean the juice on the surface of the chrome.

Step 5: Wipe again

Wipe it again to make it dry with another microfiber cloth, which will make it fully shine.

Vinegar and baking soda

Vinegar and baking soda

Step 1: Prepare the mixture

In a bucket, mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar (1 cup of each should be enough).

Step 2: Apply it to the faucet

Wipe down the faucet and knobs and sprinkle some baking soda on the wet faucet and knobs.

The baking soda may bubble a bit because of the vinegar. Let it stand for 15 minutes.

You can also create a paste with vinegar and baking soda, mixing 3 parts baking soda to one part vinegar (3/4 cup baking soda to 3/4 vinegar).

Mix in a waterproof container and used a damp sponge to apply the paste on the faucet. Wait 15 minutes then follow steps # 3 and # 4.

Congratulations. Now you know how to clean tarnished chrome faucets like a pro.

Step 3: Rinsing it with warm water and a wet rag

Wipe down the faucet and knobs with cold water and a wet rag.

Step 4: Wipe everything down with a dry cloth

After rinsing with cold water, wipe down the faucet and knobs with a dry, soft cloth.

Tip: To get off stains, dip a toothbrush in baking soda and rub the area before applying vinegar and water solution.


1. When to use Windex on chrome?

Ans. You can use Windex chrome to remove minor dirt and grime and light stains from tarnish.

2. What removes water spots from chrome?

Ans. Mixing 2 parts water to one part Vinegar (1 cup vinegar and ½ cup water). Put in a spray bottle and spray the chrome.

Let this sit for a few minutes and then wipe with a soft dry cloth. Do this up to five times or until the water spots disappear.

3. What removes black stains from chrome?

Ans. Toxic cleaners with Phosphoric acid or oxalic acid will remove tough black stains. Be sure to put these poisons out of reach of children!

4. What removes rust from chrome?

Ans. WD-40 will remove rust from chrome. Spray it on and let it sit per the manufacturer’s directions.

Then, wipe with a warm wet cloth and dry with a soft rag.

Tip: Never use bleach on chrome. It is corrosive and will ruin the chrome finish!

5. How do you remove oxidation from chrome

Ans. You can use vinegar to remove oxidized rust from chrome.

Mix vinegar and water and apply it to the chrome.

Mix water to the right amount (equal parts with vinegar) so that the vinegar doesn’t get excessively diluted.

Over-diluted vinegar won’t work properly as its potency will be lost.

6. Does vinegar ruin chrome faucets?

Ans. Yes, vinegar can damage your chrome faucet if used for a prolonged time.

Vinegar is a mild acid so use it only for a short time (not more than 15 minutes).

7. Can you use Bar Keepers Friend on chrome?

Ans. Of course, you can. Bar keepers friend is an excellent cleaner to remove hard water stains. You can use it to shine your chrome fixture again.

About the author

Callum Strempel

Licensed Plumber

Hi, I’m Callum, a full time plumber with a plumbing license issued by my state. So far, I’ve spent nearly a decade and a half installing and fixing a wide variety of plumbing components and units. My profession inspires me to talk about the kitchen and bathroom (and the plumbing system) so confidently and knowledgeably that I offer my free consultations to help neighbors and fellow homeowners every now and then. As I enjoy installing faucets, sinks, showers, and fixtures, I love to see people enjoying services from those components for years to come. So, I write every week to inform you and others. Will you mind going through some of my articles on this website?

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