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FAQ: Removing rust from Chrome

Older bikes typically have a lot of chromed parts. Chrome is beautiful but it rusts easily. The most commonly chromed parts are handlebars and rims.  Here are some ways to remove rust from Chrome.

  • Aluminium foil:  Yep, that’s right. Tear a strip off the roll and scrunch it lightly. Now use this as a polishing pad and rub it on those old rusty handlebars. Watch as the shine returns.
  • Autosol: Autosol can be bought at Repco or hardware stores. It’s like a particularly abrasive Jif type scouring compound and polish. Good for removing light rust and tarnish. Autosol also works well on old paint. It restores the shine while leaving the patina.
  • Fine Wire Brushes: You can buy inexpensive sets of these at your local hardware store. These are great for getting in between spokes and hard to reach places.
  • 800 grit emery paper: This is not our first choice as it takes the shine off but it does sand away the rust (and Chrome if you are not careful). Generally we recommend using the previous 3 steps and letting the aged character of a few rust spots speak of the history and character of your bike.
  • Sandblasting and re-chroming: If you are serious about your restoration then a new dip of chrome is unquestionably the best result. Be prepared to dig deep, it's not cheap. Also realise that new chrome looks odd unless everything has been restored to the same degree. How far are you going to take it? Plan your effort and your spend before embarking.