Restoring chrome parts of automobiles from oxidation
Most metals interact with oxygen to form hydroxyl residues. This process is called corrosion, which is the main cause of the gradual destruction of the surface of metal products. There are many ways to combat corrosion, one of which is chromium plating.
Many automobile parts are coated with a thin layer of this metal, which performs both protective and decorative functions, and also increases the strength of products (on this indicator chromium among metals second only to iridium, uranium, tungsten and beryllium). Unfortunately, chromium plating is not ideal protection either – the metal also corrodes, although not as actively as iron.
And since the chrome layer is usually small (the main method of its application is electroplating), the chrome surface is quite susceptible to mechanical effects. And even a minor scratch can significantly intensify the appearance of rust spots. Are there any ways to restore the original appearance of the chrome parts of the car? Undoubtedly, and there are a lot of effective methods, the most popular of which we will tell you about today.
Restoring at initial stages
Start the process of corrosion is impossible – this truth does not need any proof. Therefore, if you notice the first signs of rust on a shiny chrome surface, you should get rid of the brown patches immediately, without waiting for these spots to grow into large areas.
The sooner you get down to business, the better your chances of beating the disease. The question is what to clean chrome parts of the car – not all means are suitable for this purpose. Household chemicals, as a result of which application the surface of processed metal becomes matt, are absolutely inapplicable in this case. It is advisable to test the action of such cleaners on those chrome-plated parts that are located in places where they are not too visible. If the result is satisfactory, it is safe to use the cleaner on a global scale.
Coca-Cola” has proven to be a good cleaner. In this case, the algorithm for chrome restoration on an auto will be as follows:
- First, with a soft rag remove dust from the chrome surface;
- then with a warm soapy water get rid of grease stains;
- wipe the part dry;
- take a small piece of food foil, crumple it into a clump;
- dip the foil in a carbonated beverage and gently rub the places with a rusty deposit;
- finishing the cleaning process by polishing with a felt.
Why should chrome-plated car parts be cleaned with foil and not with a rag? The reason is that in this case the removal of traces of corrosion will be facilitated by the process of exchange of electrons between the metals (foil is usually made of aluminum), and the foil is soft enough not to scratch the chrome surface.
A quite suitable way to get rid of rust traces is the use of fine abrasives (baking soda, tooth powder, chalk, fine salt). They must be mixed with water (in the case of salt, take lemon juice), applied to a soft, lint-free cloth and proceed to treat dirty surfaces.
As in the case of “Coca-Cola”, it is better to complete the procedure by polishing.
Removing Large Fissure Rust
It is not always possible to timely notice, localize and neutralize pockets of corrosion on chrome parts. But this, as they say, is not a verdict – if desired, you can cope with sufficiently large rust spots.
And for this purpose it is not necessary to use expensive specialized means – with the task of removing rust stains can well cope and ordinary substances that are available in the household.
About baking soda, “Coca-Cola” and tooth powder, we have already told. It turns out that they are suitable not only for removing light soiling, but also for stubborn stains – you only need to be patient.
Another effective and simple means than to clean chrome on the car – table vinegar. Pour it into a plastic bag, tie it to prevent the liquid from pouring out, and secure the bag in the area affected by rust (with tape or a rubber band). If the degree of corrosion is shallow – the rust will come off in a few hours, if the lesion is extensive – leave the bag overnight or more. As you can see, the method is good because you do not need to rub anything. If the chrome parts that need cleaning are small in size, they can simply be dipped in a container with a solution of acetic acid.
Housewives are well aware that potatoes are an excellent cleaner of various, including stale dirt. This vegetable paired with laundry soap can also be used to care for chrome car parts. The recipe is simple enough: cut a medium sized potato in half, rub each of the halves with soap at the cut point and apply this spot to the rust spots for 2-4 hours. After that, you will only have to remove the remains of oxide with a slightly moistened soft rag.
A more professional composition is a mixture of hydrochloric acid (concentrated) and copper sulfate in the ratio of 1:4. That is, for 25 g of acid take 100 g of vitriol, stir them and pour 500 ml of water. With a cotton swab or a soft rag soaked in such a solution, we wipe our parts, let them sour for a while, and when the rust comes off, we wipe with a solution of common baking soda, and then – with water. Note that when using this agent, you should observe safety precautions: work only with rubber gloves and avoid getting the solution on your clothes, exposed skin, etc.
Finally, you can use the liquid WD-40, which allows you to cope with quite extensive, long-standing and very ingrained stains of corrosion. The method of application is simple: spray the liquid on the rust stain for 15-60 minutes, depending on the degree of contamination, after which it is washed with a solution of baking soda. This product is considered the most effective way to clean any metal items from rust.
Polishing Chrome Parts
To return chrome to its original luster, you can not do without the polishing stage. Getting rid of rust is a process that requires great accuracy, as the chrome layer is very thin, and excessive efforts can lead to irreversible damage to the part.
Many of the above remedies are good at cleaning corrosion stains from the surface, but as a result, it will tarnish, distinguishing it from neighboring areas. The problem is solved simply – it is enough to wipe the surface with a lemon peel, rinse with warm water and dry.
If minor scratches and dirt remain, it is necessary to proceed with polishing. The most proven method is to use GOI paste in combination with engine oil. This product is able to effectively rid the surface of the part of shallow defects and polish it to a shine.
To clean chrome-plated car parts with GOI paste, you should first choose the necessary fraction of abrasive – four gradations are on sale:
- Fraction 4 is the largest, used for roughing, effectively removes stale oxide stains and deep scratches;
- Fraction 3 is the medium size, giving the chrome-plated surface a matte smoothness;
- Fractions 1 and 2 are fine and are used for finishing and giving the part its original appearance.
In principle, in order to clean chrome on a car, the paste of the last three fractions is enough, and the treatment begins with the largest and ends with the first number. The way to use it is to dilute the GOI paste with a few drops of MM. Wet a piece of felt with this liquid and rub the dirty spot thoroughly and methodically. When using coarse-grained paste, take care not to rub the chrome layer down to the iron. If the area of the rust spots is small, it is advisable to refrain from using paste of the 3rd and 4th fractions at all, otherwise, or in the presence of deep scratches, you cannot do without it.
After wiping door handles with GOI paste, it is necessary to clean them from traces of oil and powder, but the radiator grill, moldings and other exterior parts are untouched: a thin layer of engine oil will form an invisible protective film which will prevent the salt and other active anti-tear compositions.
Dry cement is another good remedy for car chrome parts care. This fine abrasive powder can also be used for cleaning and polishing contaminated surfaces. The method of treatment with cement is quite specific: the first step is to rub the areas covered with rust with a piece of felt on which the powder is applied. And then the most interesting thing: we put a soft rag in a container with melted paraffin, take it out and let it cool. The stuck wax is removed, and the wax-soaked cloth is used to polish the corrosion-cleared chrome area.
Note that for finishing chrome parts you can also use specialized store polishes such as “Chrome Cleaner” (manufacturer is Grass), Doctor Wax or Soft Chrome Cleaner. These industrial polishes for chrome, according to the manufacturers, are able to clean the surface from oxides and turbid stains, polish it to a shine and even form a protective film, which will approximately double the life of the product until the next cleaning.
The method of using polishes is quite simple: the product is applied to a microfiber, which is wiped to a shine. It is possible to make the procedure easier by using a grinder or an electric drill (grinder) with polishing wheels. In this case, processing is carried out in two steps: first – a felt wheel for rough cleaning, the final polishing is carried out with felt wheels.
Wrapping the chrome surface with a vinyl film
We have noted more than once that cleaning rust on chrome parts is a risky procedure. Too thin a layer does not allow getting rid of large scratches, and if the corrosion has spread deep enough, it cannot be removed without exposing the substrate layer (base metal). In this case, the restoration of chrome car parts with your own hands using the usual cleaners and polishes will not succeed. But do not despair – there is an alternative method: covering the surface with vinyl film. It is desirable to use a film with chrome texture, although it is not obligatory.
The procedure of applying the film is not that difficult, but it is specific and requires precision and accuracy. Note that the method is not always applicable, as it requires removing the part. If possible, remove the chrome layer completely, clean/polish the metal, degrease it with water-diluted White Spirit. Apply the vinyl film to the part to be treated, without removing the backing yet. Mark the edges, cut off the excess, leaving a small margin. The next steps will be difficult without a helper.
We put a layer of soapy water on the whole surface of the piece, trying not to make any gaps and making sure the coverage is even. Remove the backing from the adhesive side, gently press it to the part along its entire length. Warm the foil with a hair dryer (up to the temperature not exceeding 200°Ñ, not keeping it in one place for more than 10 seconds, otherwise the foil will lose its luster) and start pressing the foil with a rubber mallet, starting from the middle and moving to the edges, first one side and then the other. If the part is not flat, you need to press the squeegee so that it repeats the contours of the surface. Make sure that there are no air bubbles or folds. Wipe the pasted surface with a damp cloth and let it dry.
Of course, this way of protection of chrome parts on a car can not be called ideal, and the film is not so strong, so the durability of the restored coating will be obviously lower.
Imitation chrome with staining
If you are not satisfied with the film treatment, restoring the chrome layer by yourself is not a procedure that can be done at home, and at specialized companies it is too expensive – it is cheaper to buy a new part.
But there is one more time-tested method – painting the surface with a compound, imitating chrome plating. Truth is, even the best quality paint has light reflection coefficient in the range of 90-95%, so you can not get the shine, like you can with the electroplated coating. Still, the method is popular because it is inexpensive and easy to use. Typically, the paint is used to restore chrome on plastic (such as moldings). It is sold in cans or spray cans. The latter is easier to use, but the quality of such a layer will be far from perfect. At the same time it is not easy to apply paint from a can in an even layer, but the light-reflecting characteristics of such coatings are as close as possible to chrome surfaces.
The chrome paints come in one-component and two-component, with the two-component ones being acrylic-based and requiring mixing with the hardener included in the kit.
The procedure to restore chrome on car plastic is not complicated:
- The sanded and degreased part is primed (preferably in several layers);
- Once the surface has dried, lacquer it and wait again until the ceramic lacquer dries (if you use a ceramic compound, you have to wait about three days);
- paint the surface of the part with metallic paint in three or four layers;
- dry at 60-80 minutes at 60 ° C or 24 hours at 20 ° C;
- apply the finish varnish;
- polish the detail.
In principle, from afar such a part will be perceived no worse than a chromed one, and in any case better than with rust spots.
Useful tips how to remove rust from a chrome surface
The appearance of rust on chrome surface – an unpleasant, but solvable problem.
Plumbing, wheel rims and other chrome-plated products are cleaned with home remedies or special pastes designed to combat metal oxides.
To achieve the desired effect and not to damage the coating, you need to follow the instructions and remember the important nuances of cleaning.
In this article, we will tell you how you can remove rust from chrome surfaces and not damage them.
Folk recipes for use at home
Handy solutions and materials that are available in almost every home can help remove rust stains quickly and qualitatively. These means do not require a large financial expenditure, and their use is safe for human health and the thing itself.
To speed up and facilitate the removal of rust stains, before applying any recipe, the damaged surface should be cleaned of dirt and dust with a detergent and rinse with water.
Vinegar is used as a reagent :
- table vinegar,
- table vinegar, wine vinegar,
- Vinegar as a reagent is used: table vinegar, wine vinegar, apple-cider vinegar of low concentration (6-9%).
Use concentrated acetic essence for work is not recommended because of its excessive aggressiveness.
Pour acetic acid into a container and place the rusty part into it. If the size of the item does not allow the use of such a method, the damaged area is wiped with a cloth soaked in vinegar and cover the surface with it.
For protruding parts of the object (for example, the faucet spout) it is convenient to use another method. Vinegar is poured into a plastic bag and tied so that the rusted area was immersed in the reagent.
Exposure time in the vinegar solution depends on the amount of rust. The thicker the layer, the more time is set aside for the reaction. On average, it is three to eight hours. After removing the vinegar application, the product is thoroughly scrubbed with a sponge, removing residual plaque and washed.
Work with the use of vinegar should be carried out with open windows and turned on ventilation, since the fumes of this substance irritate the respiratory tract of a person.
How to clean with citric acid?
The action of this reagent is similar to vinegar . Citric acid or products containing it (natural lemon juice) helps to get rid of rust easily and effectively.
Acid interacts with metal oxides and hydroxides, converting them into salts.
A little water is added to the citric acid powder to make a pulp. It is applied in a thick layer on the rusty areas and left for a few hours. After that, wipe the surface with a soft cloth.
If the layer of rust was thick and rust traces remain after treatment, the cleaning procedure is repeated.
Drinks containing organic acids (orthophosphoric, citric acid) are also suitable for removing rusty plaque. Instead of Coca-Cola, you can use analogues:
The method is considered effective, simple and safe.
The way you use Coca-Cola depends on the area and location of the rust. Small items are lowered into a container filled with the drink. Sustain for several hours and then rinse under running water.
Non-removable parts are covered with a napkin profusely soaked in Coca-Cola. The method is also possible with a polyethylene bag, which is used as a hanging container.
Exposure time in the cleaning liquid depends on the thickness of the rust deposit. If the layer is minimal, 2-3 hours is sufficient. If the damage is deeper, you need to extend the exposure time to 5-8 hours.
During cleaning, do not allow the cloth applied to the surface to dry out, as this delays the process and does not allow the effect to be achieved. Read more about removing rust with Coca-Cola here.
This method allows you to effectively clean products from oxides. Foil is a soft material, so it is gentle on the hard chrome coating, not scratching it and at the same time scrubbing off rust particles.
For the job, several small pieces of aluminum foil are cut from it. It is enough to cut strips of 7-10 cm from the roll.
The damaged surface is moistened with water. From the foil make a volumetric ball and without strong pressure rub it on the rusted area until it shines.
If necessary, take a new strip of foil, moisten the item with water again and repeat the cleaning. After completing the procedure, the brown mass is washed off the coating and the chrome surface is rinsed with water.
How to remove with toothpaste?
To combat rust, regular tooth powder or toothpaste are used. These tools have a mild abrasive action and gently remove rusty plaque, so it is quite realistic to achieve a positive result.
However, the use of toothpaste requires some physical effort, as the cleansing is achieved through mechanical action.
A small amount of toothpaste or powder is placed on a flannel rag or foam pad. In the latter case, the sponge is first slightly moistened with water. The area with rust is rubbed until the rust stain disappears.
If necessary, in the process of cleaning, add a new portion of the product and continue cleaning. After the procedure, remove the dry residue with a brush or cloth. The product is washed and wiped dry.
Special products for cleaning chrome parts
When choosing a chemical designed to remove rust, you must carefully read the accompanying information .
The liquid or paste must be approved for use on chrome plating.
It is also important:
- The shelf life of the product,
- the cost of the product,
- The suitability of the product for use,
- harmlessness to human health.
The product was developed by an American company with the same name. WD-40 is an aerosol, used in households and car repair shops.
The product is versatile and can be used to remove traces:
WD-40 does not leave oily and sticky stains, forms a water-repellent layer on the surface of parts.
The composition of the product includes:
- white spirit,
- carbon dioxide,
- mineral oil,
- inert additives.
To clean rust, the product is sprayed on the surface to be cleaned, left for a short time and wiped with a napkin. You can buy a bottle of 200 ml for 200-300 rubles.
Means famous American brand comes in the form of polishing pastes. It is suitable for cleaning not only the chrome surface, but also coatings made of:
There are no abrasive or aggressive substances in the composition, the polishing properties are based on vegetable wax. The polish removes scratches, traces of rust. It is in demand in workshops and at home.
Doctor Wax is applied to the surface with rust. After a while, when the paste dries and turns into a matte finish, the coating is polished with a soft cloth. The cost of a 0.18 kg jar is on average 350 rubles. A 300 ml bottle is priced at 380-400 rubles.
The polish was developed by the German company Autosol. The product has a creamy consistency. Metal Polish is used for cleaning and polishing:
- car body,
- dishes, sanitary ware, car bodywork and industrial equipment.
It can be used for:
To clean the surface, apply Metal Polish paste to the rusty area and use a cloth to polish in circular motions until glossy. Then remove the rest of the product, wipe the coating with a clean cloth.
The average price for a 0.75 ml tube of the paste is 450 rubles, and a large 0.75 liter jar costs from 2700 rubles (all prices are here).
In order to qualitatively remove rust stains from chrome coating, it is necessary to adhere to the instructions and follow the noted safety rules.
What can not be used and why?
Shiny chrome coating is sensitive to many aggressive and harsh means. Therefore, when choosing a suitable method, it is worth remembering about undesirable cleaning agents.
The list includes:
- Steel wool . It spoils the gloss of the chrome finish and makes it dull.
- Metal sponges . These sponges can remove rust, but leave marks on the coating.
- Strong acids . Sulfuric, hydrochloric, and other acids will destroy the protective coating.
For a 100% satisfactory result, it is necessary to adhere to the instructions provided with each product and remember the additional recommendations:
- Before applying the reagent or applying mechanical cleaning, it is recommended to wash off the dirt from the chrome product to facilitate contact with the rust.
- The soaking time in the cleaner should be adjusted according to the extent of the damage. Areas with a thicker layer of rust require a longer treatment period.
- After cleaning, wipe the product with a dry cloth. It is undesirable to leave the coating to dry naturally, as unsightly water stains will remain on the glossy surface.
- For additional polishing of chrome, it is useful to use oily substances. Vegetable oils, wax polishes are suitable. They are dripped on a microfiber cloth and rubbed on the surface until it shines.
Video on the subject of the article
How to remove rust from chrome parts of a car or motorcycle, the video will prompt:
Choosing a way to clean a chrome surface from rusty plaque is not difficult. It can be inexpensive and affordable home remedies, as well as special pastes-polishes.
In any case, when removing rust, it is necessary to adhere to the step-by-step technology. It is unacceptable to use means that can harm the glossy coating and negate all the efforts to clean.