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How to Keep Brushed Nickel Faucets from Spotting: 11 Proven Tips!

How to Keep Brushed Nickel Faucets from Spotting
Written by Jenny Molin

There are two types of nickel faucets: polished and brushed.

Polished nickel faucets look similar to chrome faucets, but polished faucets have a warmer tone when placed together.

Brushed nickel faucets have a matte appearance due to the manufacturing process. This wire-brush process gives a luxurious texture to these nickel faucets.

Not only is brushed nickel beautiful, but rust-resistant. However, spotting from excess spilled water can occur.

So, How to keep brushed nickel faucets from spotting?

There are many ways to clean brushed nickel faucets to eliminate spots, from using a mild washing detergent to using a mixer of water and vinegar.

These procedures are inexpensive and easy to perform. There are, however, cleaners and processes to avoid when cleaning your brushed nickel faucets.

We generally find brushed nickel faucets in kitchens and bathrooms, and because we are constantly working in the kitchen, we need to clean them regularly.

If not, the nickel faucets will become spotted or even grimy. A well-cleaned kitchen sink and beautifully polished faucets can contribute to a kitchen looking clean and classy.

We use the bathroom regularly, and it is easy for faucets to become stained with watermarks and dirt.

How to Keep Brushed Nickel Faucets from Spotting

Clean Nickel Faucets

1. Wipe faucets dry after use: To avoid nickel faucets from spotting, wipe them dry after every use, using a soft drying cloth or chamois.

This will also prevent calcium from forming in hard water areas.

2. Clean faucets with a mild soap solution: Using a mild dishwashing detergent, wash the nickel faucets using a soft cloth and water.

For tougher dirt, soak the affected area for a few minutes before cleaning.  Use circular movements to avoid smudging.

3. Use wax paper for extra shine: Once the cleaning and drying process is completed, take a sheet of wax paper and rub it on the nickel faucets.

This method is known to give extra shine to brushed nickel faucets.

4. Clean twice a week: Brushed nickel faucets need cleaning at least twice a week.

It is important to get between every crevice while cleaning. This will prevent calcium and heavy-dirt buildup.

5. Best cleaning solution for calcium buildup, tarnishing, or corrosion: The best, most effective way to clean faucets is by using a diluted 50/50 solution of water and vinegar.

Ensure that the mixture is warm but not hot before use. Leave the mixture on the nickel faucets for thirty minutes before wiping with a soft damp cloth.

If you forget to rinse the faucets, staining will occur. This method is perfect for areas where there is hard water.

The vinegar and water mixture is excellent for removing corrosion, which may have developed over time.

6. Aluminum Foil Rust Remover: In the case of a rust buildup on your nickel faucets, rubbing the area with wet aluminum foil will do the trick. This won’t scratch the brushed nickel surface.

7. Baking soda removes tough dirt: Using baking soda and water removes tough dirt. Baking soda is not abrasive and cleans tough dirt very efficiently.

Not only does it clean, but it will eliminate unpleasant odors.

8. Wax paste gives extra shine: For extra shine and additional protection against calcium buildup or corrosion, coat the brushed nickel faucets with a wax paste layer once a month, but more often if you want extra shine, all the time.

Apply the wax with a chamois, and with circular movements, polish the faucets. Using wax on your faucets will coat them with a water-resistant protective layer.

When water splashes on the taps, it will not leave a water stain.

9. WD-40 spray protects metal faucets: WD-40 spray not only protects metal from rust and corrosion but displaces moisture. It also removes unwanted grime.

Use WD-40 spray with a soft cloth once a month.

10. Gel gloss removes tough stains: Gel gloss acts as a polish and wax.

If brushed nickel faucets develop tough stains from, for example, toothpaste or shaving cream, clean them with a little baking soda and a soft damp cloth, dry thoroughly and polish the faucets with Gel Gloss.

11. Consider purchasing a water softener system: If you live in an area with hard water, you may want to consider purchasing a water softener system.

This system will remove minerals that create hard water. Hard water is harsh on faucets over time because it forms a calcium buildup on anything it is in contact with.

Most of the United States relies on hard water, and many people purchase water softeners for their homes.  They are expensive, but an excellent investment!

Cleaning Solutions to be Avoided with Nickel

Brushed nickel faucets are made using an ECF (Electro Chemical Finish) which adds a durable top layer of non-porous nickel on the outer surface.

They are then subjected to a brushing process to give them a brushed appearance.  This non-porous layer will become damaged if you use incorrect cleaning methods.

  1. Avoid using industrial cleaners: Don’t clean nickel faucets with industrial cleaners. These cleaners are extra abrasive and are only used for cleaning heavily greased or soiled items.
  2. Bleach is a cleaner to avoid: Although we use bleach for cleaning, it is a very harsh substance and will ruin the faucet’s nickel finish.  Avoid using Clorox wipes because they are saturated in bleach.
  3. Avoid acid alcohol-based cleaners: Avoid using acidic alcohol-based cleaners or ammonia-based cleaners.  Over time, they cause permanent dark stains on brushed nickel faucets.
  4. Don’t leave damp cloths draped over faucets: Avoid leaving wet cloths or cleaning sponges against or draped over the brushed nickel faucets.
  5. Abrasive cleaning sponges scratch nickel surfaces: Never scrub brushed nickel faucets with abrasive cleaning sponges, as they scratch the nickel surfaces, causing permanent damage.

Repair Badly Scratched Brushed Nickel Faucets

Over time and with incorrect care, brushed nickel faucets can become badly scratched, but before replacing them with new faucets, try this method:

  • Clean the brushed nickel faucets with a mild soap solution and a damp cloth
  • Use a 50-50 vinegar and water solution to remove any calcium buildup
  • Purchase 600-grit wet and dry sandpaper. Rub the scratched area with the sandpaper
  • When the scratches are removed, clean the faucets again and dry well

In some cases, these faucets have deep grooves and are badly damaged and this method may not work.  It would then be best to purchase new faucets.

Tarnished Brushed Nickel Faucets

Tarnished brushed nickel faucets develop a pink-color finish when cleaned.  Further cleaning may expose a blackish surface.  Buff the surface to restore it to its original shiny silver color.

Tarnished brushed nickel faucets can be cleaned using a toothbrush, and vinegar-water solution. Dry them well afterward.


1. Should I Clean nickel faucets Every Day?

Ans. Yes, it would be best to clean your nickel faucets every day; otherwise, dirt will accumulate on them. Harmful bacteria thrive in dirty conditions.  It will also keep them shiny and clean.

2. How to Remove Deep-Seated Stains?

Ans. Rub the faucet with a soft cloth and a 50/50 solution of vinegar and warm water. Leave for 30 minutes and repeat the action.

Repeat this action over and over again until the stains are no longer there. Rinse the faucet thoroughly.  Glass cleaner is to clean the base of the tap.

If there is any stubborn dirt, place the wet vinegar/water-saturated cloth over the faucet base. Leave it there for thirty minutes before giving it another clean.

3. Will vinegar damage brushed nickel?

Ans. Vinegar can damage brushed nickel if you apply it without diluting it with water. It is essential to rinse the faucet after cleaning it with a vinegar solution.

The reason for this is that it is an acid composition.  If not rinsed properly, you can cause permanent damage to the faucet, as it will develop unremovable stains.

About the author

Jenny Molin

Interior Design Artist

Hello, I’m Jenny. I’ve been an interior design artist by profession since my B.S. in Interior Design. I’m a minimalist and prefer to save space when choosing fixtures, sinks and fittings. My style tends to make the most out of the least amount of space. The idea behind every interior design project is unique and it reflects personal style, taste and tradition. I’ve learned more when working than I ever did while I was studying in college. I worked in more than 12 hundred households all across the US and got positive feedback. I’ve been working with FaucetsReviewed as one of the founding members and regularly contributing to the site via testing and reviewing various interior fittings and fixtures.

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