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How to remove rust from chromed or polished steel

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How to remove rust from chromed or polished steel

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Old 10-24-12, 12:58 PM
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delcrossv 
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How to remove rust from chromed or polished steel

I have a bunch of nice old kids bikes (gitane, Moto, Pugeuot) that the kids are riding with OEM steel components that are chromed. What's the best way of cleaning these up to remove the rust (not everyone had taken care of these as well as I have) without taking everything apart and having them polished and rechromed (which isn't gonna happen).
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Old 10-24-12, 01:45 PM
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I would use pb breaker and brass whool.
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Old 10-24-12, 01:46 PM
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Rub the chrome with aluminum foil. The results are, often times, amazing.
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Old 10-24-12, 01:51 PM
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I know a lot of people are against it, but I've had amazing results with steel wool and cheap turtle wax chrome polish
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Old 10-24-12, 02:24 PM
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Those little brass brushes that look like toothbrushes work really well also. They seem to get into the nooks and crannies better on small parts.
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Old 10-24-12, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Rub the chrome with aluminum foil. The results are, often times, amazing.

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Old 10-24-12, 02:27 PM
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I have used all the above suggestions with good results.

Lately I am using a product called Evaporust that works great. I soak the parts longer than I would in more aggressive products but the time doesn't bother me. It's available at Lowes and probably HD and your local hardware store may carry it too.
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Old 10-24-12, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Rub the chrome with aluminum foil. The results are, often times, amazing.
Aluminum foil only masks the problem. The foil simply fills the pits. The rust is still underneath, propagating. It's a short term fix for flippers, not a long term solution.
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Old 10-24-12, 02:54 PM
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The "without taking everything apart" is the tough part. If you can take everything apart, then oxalic acid can really save your effort. It is pretty cheap at sherwin williams.
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Old 10-24-12, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Aluminum foil only masks the problem. The foil simply fills the pits. The rust is still underneath, propagating. It's a short term fix for flippers, not a long term solution.
Depends on how bad the rust is and how much work you put into it. I used AL foil on chrome a frame and the bike looked good well over a year later. Used it on a lot of components and they stayed shiny. Deeply pitted stuff, no. Minor surface rust, works well.
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Old 10-24-12, 03:16 PM
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Back in the 80s I often used naval jelly. I never had any problems with chrome fenders or my chrome BMX bike. I don't know if it is the most optimal solution, but it worked then.
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Old 10-24-12, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SteamDonkey74 View Post
Back in the 80s I often used naval jelly. I never had any problems with chrome fenders or my chrome BMX bike. I don't know if it is the most optimal solution, but it worked then.
I used naval jelly to remove rust spots on my chrome forks and stays, recently. It ate into the chrome and it no longer shines. Did nothing much for the rust.
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Old 10-24-12, 03:24 PM
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After I get the rust off, just give it a wipe with oil? clear coat? (want it to reasonably nice for the kids)- they're always wiped down if they get wet now.
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Old 10-24-12, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by loubapache View Post
The "without taking everything apart" is the tough part. If you can take everything apart, then oxalic acid can really save your effort. It is pretty cheap at sherwin williams.

Don't mind taking the parts apart, I just don't want to pop for new chrome on cheepie parts.
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Old 10-24-12, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
I know a lot of people are against it, but I've had amazing results with steel wool and cheap turtle wax chrome polish
+1 on above. Brass brush or dremel tool with brass brush.
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Old 10-24-12, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
Depends on how bad the rust is and how much work you put into it. I used AL foil on chrome a frame and the bike looked good well over a year later. Used it on a lot of components and they stayed shiny. Deeply pitted stuff, no. Minor surface rust, works well.
I have to concur. I'm not a flipper by any stretch of the imagination but I do use aluminum foil for buffing chrome back to a shine. I'll often "wet" it with Windex, or if there's grime involved I'll sometimes use WD-40 (terrible as a lubricant, terrific cleaner/solvent) with the foil. Brass "toothbrush" is good for cleaning up around tight areas, like spokes, soft enough not to mar the finish but stiff enough to rug off the gunk. T-Mar is correct, though, if the pitting and corrosion are bad then foil only delays the inevitable. Naval jelly, by the way, is tough on paint and the few times I've used it you had to really keep an eye on the chrome. I don't keep it on hand.
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Old 10-24-12, 05:29 PM
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Aluminum foil with a lubricant. Then a coat of Turtle Wax Chrome Polish. Brushes, steel wool, brass wool scratch and damage the very thin outer layer of chromium exposing the softer inner layers and causing them to deterioration that much faster. I do use a brass brush for getting into nooks and crannies.

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Old 10-24-12, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tolfan View Post
I would use pb breaker and brass whool.
Say what?
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Old 10-25-12, 04:36 AM
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Brass wool and diet coke for mine
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Old 10-25-12, 09:01 AM
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I sometimes use vinegar on chromed and steel small parts. Soak them a few hours, fiber brushes/brass wool/toothbrushes usually clean them up nicely. WD 40 to rinse away water and leave a bit of light oil on surface.

Depending, then a polish and wax.

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Old 10-25-12, 09:19 AM
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I use a light touch with 0000 steel wool lubricated with oil or WD-40. If it's just light surface rust. But I work mainly with high quality chrome plating. I don't buy the claim that brass wool can scratch good chrome plating. It is very thin, microns thin, but chromium has a Rockwell hardness of about 68-72, if I remember correctly. That said, it is generally not a good idea to use abrasives on chrome, and I'm not trying to start an argument here, but a light touch has always worked for me. Pitting? That a whole different story.
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Old 10-25-12, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
Depends on how bad the rust is and how much work you put into it. I used AL foil on chrome a frame and the bike looked good well over a year later. Used it on a lot of components and they stayed shiny. Deeply pitted stuff, no. Minor surface rust, works well.
Long term results will also depend on whether you perform supplemental treatments, like waxing to seal the surface and how humid your climate is. Offhand, based on your results, I'd say your climate must be a lot drier than mine.
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Old 10-25-12, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Long term results will also depend on whether you perform supplemental treatments, like waxing to seal the surface and how humid your climate is. Offhand, based on your results, I'd say your climate must be a lot drier than mine.
1 mile from the Pacific Ocean so not too dry and never treated the chrome afterward. Just cleaned occasionally with Windex. Bikes are stored in the garage.
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Old 10-26-12, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I use a light touch with 0000 steel wool lubricated with oil or WD-40. If it's just light surface rust. But I work mainly with high quality chrome plating. I don't buy the claim that brass wool can scratch good chrome plating. It is very thin, microns thin, but chromium has a Rockwell hardness of about 68-72, if I remember correctly. That said, it is generally not a good idea to use abrasives on chrome, and I'm not trying to start an argument here, but a light touch has always worked for me. Pitting? That a whole different story.
+1 Just been cleaning some chrome forks
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Old 10-26-12, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
I know a lot of people are against it, but I've had amazing results with steel wool and cheap turtle wax chrome polish
I'm for it as a method of chrome removal.
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