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How to make polished chrome look brushed

Updated November 21, 2016

Chrome, or chromium, is a protective and decorative metal used for many applications, from motorcycles and automobiles to plumbing and furniture. Chrome is a hard, shiny metal often plated with nickel. While polished chrome is chrome plated with bright nickel, the plating on brushed chrome is satin-finish nickel, providing a durable surface that is semi-lustrous. Used mostly in the plumbing, lighting and furniture industries, it gets its brushed look from the mechanical polishing that takes place after the plating of the nickel to the chromium.

Clean the polished chrome surface that you want to have a brushed look. Remove all dirt and grease by washing the chrome surface using a detergent such as dish washing liquid.

Tape off any surrounding areas that you do not want brushed. When scrubbing the chrome surface, a slip can cause damage to surrounding surfaces that are painted. Masking tape is sufficient to protect these surfaces, and will not damage the chrome.

Scrub the polished chrome surface using an abrasive pad. To make the process easier, spray a lubricant, such as WD-40, on the polished chrome surface. Continue scrubbing the chrome in a circular pattern until you achieve the desired brushed chrome look.

Wash the brushed chrome surface with detergent to remove the spray lubricant and to bring out its lustre.

Tip

For larger areas, a rotary sander may be used. It is acceptable to use spray lubricant with the rotary sander.

Things You'll Need

  • Detergent
  • Masking tape
  • Abrasive pads
  • Spray lubricant
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rags
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About the Author

A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.