How do I Clean a Plastic Grille Chrome That Is Tarnished?

Written by meghan mcclain
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How do I Clean a Plastic Grille Chrome That Is Tarnished?
Plastic chrome requires a gentler cleaning regimen than actual chrome. (Chrome bumper image by Dreadman from

Many vehicles have plastic chrome grills. Like real chrome, plastic chrome can appear tarnished and foggy. Unfortunately, plastic chrome can not be cleaned with regular chrome cleaner as it is to abrasive and will destroy the plastic. But you can use a few simple household cleaners to help remove the tarnished look and restore the shine in the grill, giving your car a clean new look in just a couple of easy steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bucket
  • 5 cups all-purpose automobile cleaner
  • 4 cups of warm water
  • Sponge
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Lint-free cleaning cloth
  • Automotive wax spray (any brand)

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  1. 1

    Combine 5 cups of any universal all-purpose automobile cleaner with 4 cups of warm water in a bucket. Dip the sponge into the solution.

  2. 2

    Saturate the entire area that appears to be tarnished. Wash off any loose dirt or debris with the sponge.

  3. 3

    Scrub the grill using the soft-bristled toothbrush using small, circular motions. Pay special attention to areas that appear to be tarnished and any especially soiled areas.

  4. 4

    Rinse the entire area with clean water. Be sure to rinse immediately after washing to prevent soap spots or build-up.

  5. 5

    Dry and shine the area using the lint-free cleaning cloth. Dry as soon as the area has been rinsed to avoid water spots.

  6. 6

    Spray a very light coat of wax on the plastic chrome after it has dried completely. This will not only seal the plastic but also add a degree of protection.

Tips and warnings

  • Ensure that the spray wax you choose can be used on plastic.
  • Wear rubber gloves while cleaning to prevent drying of the skin.

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