Clean Plastic Chrome to a Buff

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  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20
What You'll Need
White Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Citrus Peel
Baby Oil
Branded cleaner of choice.

Plastic chrome is among the most challenging of surfaces to clean if the proper approach is not followed. Plastic chrome refers to a synthetically-established chrome finish that is applied via the vacuum-metalized process. Plastic chrome exudes the appearance and feel of real chrome but it costs much less and is a lightweight, durable option. Plastic chrome can be cleaned through various approaches explained below.

1. Cleaning and Polishing with Household Supplies

This is the easier and inexpensive way to clean plastic chrome. Plastic chrome used in household appliances and surfaces can be cleaned with a variety of items you probably already have in your home.


Most commercial toothpastes contain certain active chemicals that have a slight oxidation effect. Thus, when you use a thin layer of the conventional, creamy toothpaste, it reacts with the grime settled on the plastic chrome surface and loosens it. The ideal approach is to spread the toothpaste evenly on the plastic chrome surface and leave it for about 10 minutes. Follow this with a thorough rubbing of the chrome surface with a soft cloth. You can also use a soft-bristled brush for this purpose.


You can use apple cider vinegar or the extract of citrus fruits like lemon or orange for this purpose. Even distilled forms of white vinegar are ideal for household cleaning. To clean with apple cider vinegar, prepare a mixture containing the vinegar and water in a ratio of 2:1. To prepare the cleaning solution with citrus extracts, find a glass bottle and fill it up with citrus peel, top it off with white vinegar and leave for 3 or 4 days. Fill a spray bottle with this cleaning solution. Spray the solution on the plastic chrome material and rub it with a clean, dry cloth.

Baby Oil

Baby oil is useful for polishing the plastic chrome once it has been thoroughly cleaned by using any of the above suggestions. Baby oil of any brand can be used for this purpose.

Baby oil is free from chemical additives that pose the risk of reacting adversely with the plastic chrome surface. You should rub the cleaned surface with a sponge dipped in a few drops of baby oil for the best results.

If you find some grime deposits along the edges, use a small piece of aluminum foil to edge them out. The presence of baby oil ensures that any scratches caused by the foil aren’t retained on the surface.

2. Cleaning and Polishing with Retailed Products

You can use any of the branded cleaners retailed for cleaning glass, laminates, synthetic wood, or even polystyrene surfaces. These cleaners contain chemical compounds that help to loosen the debris and grime from the plastic chrome surface.

Before you start, ensure that the cleaners are meant for household use. Many cleaners are marked with an "industrial-strength" tag — these should be avoided.

Always rub the cleaning surface in a gentle, swirling action. Never rub hard or press upon the surface. This can impact the chemical compounds within the plastic chrome surface that may induce tarnishing in the near future.

Don’t use hard scrubbing pads — this can permanently scratch the cleaning surface.

To maintain the effectiveness of the cleaning solutions, don’t dilute them beyond the packaged instructions.

For polishing the plastic chrome to a buff, use a solution containing an all-purpose car cleaner and water in a ratio of 3:2.