How to Remove the Chrome on Plastic Grilles

Updated February 21, 2017

Chrome is a shiny, silver coating that is applied on top of metal or plastic, typically on decorative trim and mirrors. When the chrome is applied to a plastic grill is it most likely for use with a model car or other hobby craft. If the chrome is exposed to fluctuating temperatures or moisture, it will crack and become unattractive. In these cases, it's best to remove the chrome and start over.

Locate a plastic container that is large enough to hold the plastic grille, such as a large plastic storage container.

Put on safety glasses, thick rubber gloves and a respirator before beginning the chrome removal process. Also open any windows to allow for ventilation.

Apply 1 tsp of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and wipe the chrome until it turns dull.

Insert the plastic grille into the bottom of the container and pour enough household bleach into the container until the grille is completely submerged.

Allow the grill to sit in the bleach for one to two minutes and then look at it. You can visually see the clear chrome peeling and bubbling off when it is completely softened.

Remove the grill from the container and rinse it under cold water while rubbing it with a toothbrush to remove the chrome.

Apply 1 tsp of dish soap to a sponge and wash the entire plastic grille to remove the chemical residue. Rinse it in clean water and allow it to air dry.


If any chrome adheres after using bleach, lay the grille on a piece of newspaper and use a paint brush to apply a thick coat of paint remover to all areas of it. Make sure to use a paint remover that is for use with plastic. Allow it to sit for the amount of time recommended on the package and then scrub off with water and the toothbrush.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic storage container
  • Safety glasses
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Respirator
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Newspaper
  • Paint remover
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.