How to remove tarnish from chrome

Updated February 21, 2017

Chrome doesn't tarnish easily, but the appearance of tarnish on chrome is unsightly compared to the bright lustre of fresh, new chrome. For this reason, it is important to regularly wash your vehicle's chrome, particularly chrome wheels, which are subject to tarnish and damage on a daily basis. With regular cleaning, occasional chrome polishing becomes easy to accomplish with window cleaner and chrome polish.

Spray the chrome until it is thoroughly wet with the window cleaner, and then wipe with a clean rag. This removes any remaining dirt or dust and prevents scratches to the chrome while it is being polished.

Squeeze a quarter-sized dab of chrome polish onto the rag, and then rub the tarnished chrome vigorously with the chrome polish. You will be able to see when the tarnish has been removed.

Buff the polished chrome with a clean rag to remove the last traces of chrome polish.


Avoid polishing chrome too often. Cleaning or polishing that is too vigorous can damage some chrome plating.

Things You'll Need

  • Streak-free spray window cleaner
  • Chrome polish
  • Clean rags
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About the Author

Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.