How To Care For Your Chrome Tapware

How to Keep Chrome Faucets From Spotting

Chrome fixtures look modern and sophisticated when they're clean and sparkling. When they're covered in hard water spots and soap scum, though, they can make your whole bathroom or kitchen look grimy and poorly kept. Removing the spots from your chrome faucets doesn't require harsh chemicals or strenuous scrubbing, and the sooner you tackle the spots, the easier they are to clean. Although you can't completely keep your faucet from spotting unless you install a water softener, by cleaning the faucet regularly you can prevent deposits from building up, so the chrome looks its best at all times.

Make a solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. Saturate a clean cloth with the solution. Wrap it around the faucet where you notice spotting. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then remove it. Wipe the area with a dry cloth to remove any residue.

Dip an old toothbrush in the vinegar solution. Scrub the area around the base of the faucet and any other hard-to-reach areas where you notice spotting. This should remove the last of the hard water buildup and soap scum currently visible on your faucet. Dry the area with a clean, dry cloth.

Wipe the faucet dry with a clean cloth after each use. The spots form when splashes and drips dry on the chrome, so if you dry the faucet regularly, you should be able to minimize the amount of buildup that develops on it.
Clean the faucet with mild dish soap diluted in water as part of your regular household maintenance or at least once a week. This removes any deposits and soap scum before they have time to accumulate enough to be noticeable.

Things You Will Need

  • Distilled white vinegar

  • Cloths

  • Toothbrush

  • Mild dish soap


Mild glass cleaners also remove scum and spotting from chrome.


Don't clean chrome with harsh abrasives, scrub pads or stiff brushes, as this can damage the finish.

Preventing Hard Water Spots on a Faucet

Many areas of the country have hard water -- water full of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, trace elements and sometimes even rust. When hard water dries on bathtubs, sinks and faucets, it leaves unsightly brown or white deposits. Preventing hard water spots and mineral buildup requires a two-pronged approach: removing the stains and eliminating the water.

Hard Water Stains

Unfortunately, the longer it sits and the more porous the surface, the deeper hard water spots penetrate and the darker the stain that appears. Buildup on the faucet won't leave a trace once it's removed, but around the faucet many treatments may be needed to penetrate and remove thoroughly. For an effective, all-natural hard water spot remover, mix a solution of vinegar, water and a splash of lemon juice with a drop of liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle. Exact proportions are insignificant -- the worse the buildup, the less water you want. (A normal mixture may contain half water or less.) Simply spray your faucets generously. Cover with a cloth and allow it to soak about 15 to 20 minutes if the buildup is stubborn. Scrub with a cloth, scrub pad or something similar to remove the stains and buildup. Using vinegar to clean all your fixtures also helps prevent further buildup.

Preventing Buildup

While the acid content in vinegar and lemon juice dissolves the hard water buildup, preventing more from accumulating requires regular cleaning. Another way to combat future buildup is to dry up water immediately. Simply wipe down the faucet, sink or tub to prevent water evaporating on it, leaving water spots behind.

How to Make Your Faucets Shiny

Over time, faucets will accumulate spots and stains that may not come off with ordinary soap and water. Cleaning with soap and water can cause water spots as well, which dull the finish. It is possible to remove these stains and make your faucets look like new again. You most likely have all of the materials you need in your home already to clean any type of finish that you have on your faucets.

  • Wash the faucet with dish soap and water using a rag or sponge. Don't use a scouring pad or any other abrasive item or cleaner, as this can scratch the finish. You can use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach places on the faucet.
  • Dampen some paper towels with vinegar and wrap them around the faucet. Leave the towels for about 10 minutes. Vinegar both cleans and disinfects the faucet, and it is a mild acid so it will not damage you or your faucet. You can also make a paste from the vinegar by mixing equal parts vinegar, flour and salt and spreading it on the faucet. Leave the paste mixture for 15 minutes. This is particularly useful for brass or bronze finishes. You can also use ketchup, which is mildly acidic as well. Ketchup is particularly useful for cleaning copper or stainless steel finishes.
  • Wipe down your faucet with plain water and dry it.
  • Coat your faucet in a thin layer of baby oil using a cloth. A few drops of oil are sufficient. This will help prevent water spots in the future and is particularly helpful for chrome or stainless steel finishes.

How to Get Rid of Discoloration on a Chrome Faucet

The clean lines and bright shine of chrome complements most sink designs. Stains, water spots and tarnish can cause discoloration that doesn't wipe off with normal cleaning. Breaking down the minerals present in water spots and dissolving stains and tarnish requires deep cleaning. Harsh abrasives, including scouring pads and powders, can leave behind small scratches that dull the chrome finish. Gentler cleaners work well when used properly.

  • Fill a small bowl with hot water. Stir in one or two squirts of liquid dish soap.
  • Wet a rag in the soapy water. Wipe down the entire faucet fixture assembly with the soapy water, removing as much surface dirt as possible.
  • Dip an old toothbrush into the soapy water. Scrub stubborn stains from the chrome with the toothbrush. The toothbrush provides minor abrasion that won't scratch the chrome, while allowing you to clean out tight corners and joints on the fixture. Rinse the faucet with clear water.
  • Combine equal parts water and white vinegar if some discoloration remains. Wipe down the faucet with the solution. Use the toothbrush and vinegar solution to remove stains around the faucet base. For stubborn water spots, soak the rag in the solution then lay it over the faucet. Wait five minutes so the vinegar can loosen the spots, and then wipe the faucet clean.
  • Rinse the faucet assembly with clear water and wipe dry. Buff the chrome with silver polish to bring back its shine and remove any remaining discoloration.

Things You Will Need

  • Bowl

  • Dish soap

  • Rags

  • Old toothbrush

  • Vinegar

  • Silver polish


Dry the faucet after each use to prevent future stains.

How to Remove Lime Buildup on Faucets

When your faucets look scummy, cloudy or stained, the culprit is probably the tap water. Typically household water carries dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium through the home plumbing. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals that build up on and around the faucets. Over time the minerals accumulate as hard, scaly deposits. The solution may be as near as your kitchen for common, earth-friendly cleansers that remove these deposits, called lime or lime scale, and bring back the faucet shine.

  • Wipe off the faucet with a damp rag and soapy dish detergent or all-purpose cleaner. Focus especially on the underside of the spout and back of the fixture where water drips, and clean up any scum around the fixture base. Rinse and wipe dry.

  • Wipe faucet lime deposits with a lemon half or with lemon juice. The mild citric acid dissolves the minerals and can be used on chrome, brass or copper faucets. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth

  • Remove stubborn stains with vinegar. Wipe on and let stand a few minutes before rinsing. Or soak a paper towel or cloth in vinegar and wrap it around the stained faucet. Let it stand for several hours and rinse. Or apply a paste of vinegar and baking soda to the stains, especially scrubbing around the base with a toothbrush. Let it stand up to half an hour and then wipe off and rinse.

  • Pour 1/3 cup vinegar into a plastic bag and secure it around the faucet with a rubber band for hard lime buildup. Leave for two or three hours, wipe off deposits and scrub remaining deposits with the toothbrush.

Clean deposits from the aerator by twisting off the small faucet insert containing the filter screen. Flush out debris, use a toothbrush to scrub loose deposits and rinse the screen. If the aerator is coated with mineral deposits, put it in a small bowl of vinegar for up to an hour, rub off the softened deposits and replace it.



Things You Will Need

  • Paper towels

  • Rags

  • Lemon juice

  • White distilled vinegar

  • Plastic bag

  • Rubber band

  • Toothbrush

  • All-purpose cleaner


When lime buildup is severe, use a commercial lime remover. Follow directions carefully as these products contain stronger ingredients that can irritate skin and lungs.


Wear rubber gloves during cleaning as common products such as vinegar and lemon juice may irritate skin.