How to paint over rusted chrome

Written by sally keller | 13/05/2017
How to paint over rusted chrome
Repairing rust damage before it progresses will save both time and money. (moto & chrome image by Sébastien Maurer from

Iron combines with oxygen to form rust. Rust can cause unsightly and expensive damage to a smooth, shiny surface such as a chrome bumper or boat rigging. It will become progressively worse if it is not removed and the surface refinished. If left unchecked, rust can eat through the upper chrome plating and nickel plating underneath to expose the base of raw steel. Repairing rust damage in its early stages can be done without the intervention of a professional and can save time and money.

Stir household vinegar and bicarbonate of soda in a small plastic or glass container until it makes a thick paste. Dip a clean rag into the solution until the rag is saturated. Daub the rusted area with the vinegar soaked rag. Leave the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda on the rusted area for 5 minutes to allow the acid in the vinegar to loosen the rust.

Rub the rusted area with fine steel wool to remove the rust. Rinse the area with plain water to remove the solution and any grit or particles. Dry the area with a clean, soft cloth.

Apply a primer made especially to inhibit rust according to the directions. Apply chrome paint according to the manufacturer's directions and let dry. Coat the area that has been primed and painted with a protective sealant made specifically for chrome finishes.


Use a face mask and complete the task in a well-ventilated area.

Things you need

  • Spoon
  • Small plastic or glass container
  • Vinegar
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 clean rags
  • Fine steel wool
  • Rust inhibiting primer
  • Chrome paint
  • Chrome sealant

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