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How to remove rust from chrome radiators

Old rusty Radiator

Many radiators and heated towel rails are manufactured using mild steel. In order to provide a shiny and protective finish, a chrome plating is added over the top, which usually makes the rad or rail look more stylish.

However, over time, whether it’s through leaks, condensation or lack of maintenance, rust can form on the surface of the chrome. This dulls the shiny effect of the chrome, making the finish look a little dirty and much less stylish.

Fortunately, as long as the rust hasn’t gone deep down into the steel, it’s fairly easy to get rust off your chrome radiator and make it look like new again.

Below are some of the many ways you can remove rust off your chrome heated towel rail or radiator without using any nasty chemicals.

White vinegar cleans chrome

White vinegar is an absolutely brilliant cleaner for all kinds of surfaces and works especially well on rusty chrome radiators. This is due to the acidic nature of vinegar which helps to eat into the rust.

Simply apply a small amount of white vinegar onto a small cloth and rub in to the chromework. You should start to see positive results almost immediately.

Aluminium foil removes rust

Aluminium foil is a kind of secret weapon for removing rust from chrome surfaces and pipework on rads and rails.

Aluminium is a softer metal than the chrome and when rubbed against it, causes a chemical reaction that removes the rust.

Get a few strips of regular aluminium foil (the same stuff that you use in your kitchen to wrap or cover food) and dip them in water.

You don’t need a huge amount of water but the water helps as a lubricant between the foil and the chrome, facilitating the aluminium oxide that actually removes the rust from the surface.

Rub the dampened aluminium foil up and down the chrome and you should start to see results pretty quickly, without needing to put in too much effort.

Clean and buff the chrome

Once you’ve used the vinegar or foil to remove the rust on your chrome rad, you may find that there are brownish streaks from where the rust has separated from the chrome surface.

Simply take a clean microfibre cloth and wipe of the traces of the rush. You can then use the other side of the cloth or a brand new one to give the chrome a final buff to ensure that it’s gleaming and looking brand spanking new.

If you want, you can also use a small amount of baby oil or car wax to protect the chrome and give it an extra shine.

Of course there are specific metal cleaning products you can use, like Brasso, but these contain a lot of chemicals and you need to ensure you’re wearing gloves and operating in a well-ventilated area.


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