Best Chrome Polishes: Keep Your Chrome Shiny and Looking New
Use these chrome polishes to keep your car’s shiny parts brilliant
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PUBLISHED ON April 29, 2019
Chrome has been used on cars and motorcycles for decades due to its abilities to resist corrosion and give off a classy, brilliant look. Over time, the chrome finish can tarnish, which not only looks bad but will leave the metal underneath exposed to the elements. To help you get back that killer chrome look, here are our top picks for the best chrome cleaners on the market.
- Best OverallSimichrome 390050 All Metal PolishSummarySummaryA polishing paste that is used privately and professionally for automotive, industrial, and other applications.ProsProsPolishes and cleans virtually any non-ferrous metal, leaving a brilliant shine. Also adds a protective coating that keeps chrome safe from the elements.ConsConsCan take an excessive amount of time to dry once applied. Has toxic chemicals that can be harmful if swallowed or if it makes contact with the eyes.
- Best ValueBlue Magic 400 Metal Polish CreamSummarySummaryA non-abrasive cream that works well on a variety of different metals and is suitable for automotive, marine, and household applications.ProsProsHas a three-part process of cleaning, polishing, and adding a protective layer to fully restore chrome parts. Is easy to apply and safe to apply to most surfaces.ConsConsIngredients contain toxic chemicals and require a well-ventilated area to use. There have been a few reports of the product leaving a blue film that is hard to buff out.
- Honorable MentionQuick-Glo Chrome CleanerSummarySummaryA chrome cleaner and rust remover that works on a variety of surfaces including chrome, brass, porcelain, and mirrors. Is useful for cars, bikes, motorcycles, boats, appliances, and similar objects.ProsProsHas a non-toxic, environmentally-safe formula that cleans, polishes, and adds a protective layer to surfaces. Is safe to use in unventilated areas and will not harm surfaces it comes in contact with.ConsConsCan turn to liquid if stored in places with high temperatures and/or humidity. Some people have reported Quick-Glo being ineffective on chrome, making it look worse.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Chrome Polish
- Keep your car looking its best. As your car ages, the chrome bumpers and wheels will fade from exposure to the elements. Faded chrome looks dull and dirty, which affects the overall aesthetics of your ride. Using a chrome polishing kit regularly is a great way to avoid this.
- Protect the steel underneath. Chrome doesn’t oxidize the way other metals do, which is why car manufacturers started using it in the first place. As chrome fades and wears out, its ability to protect the metal underneath deteriorates, too. Leaving your car unprotected in the elements will cause surface rust, which will only get worse.
- Polish also acts as a cleaner. Not only is a quality chrome polish good for restoring chrome wheels and other parts, but it also cleans them. Using a polish, you can restore the shine to your car while cleaning the chrome at the same time.
- Retain the resale value of your car. Regardless if you are planning to sell your car now or years down the road, keeping the chrome shiny and new-looking will retain some of the worth. The sooner and more often you polish your chrome, the better.
Types of Chrome Polish
Liquid chrome polish is the most popular form of polish mainly for how easy it is to apply and how well it cleans. In fact, it is one of the best ways to polish chrome quickly and effectively. However, it is only suitable for surface level jobs and will not restore faded or corroded chrome.
In this form, chrome polish is far more viscous than liquid, meaning it can contain different ingredients that can handle deeper levels of polishing and cleaning. This type of chrome polish is best suited for jobs involving microdamage, extensive fading, and surface-level rust. Cream polish is also used a great deal in professional automotive settings.
Paste is incredibly thick, so it requires more effort to apply, but it’s by far the best chrome polish type available. Because the ingredients tend to be very strong, care needs to be taken that the polish isn’t too abrasive for the job at hand. These polishes should be used only for the most difficult restorative projects.
Since 1959, Texas-based Blue Magic has been manufacturing cleaning products, polishes, adhesives, sealants, hair care products, and air fresheners. Its signature chrome polish was developed in 1967 and, since then, has become recognized as one of the best metal polishes you can buy. Popular Blue Magic products include its Blue Magic 400 Polish Cream.
Brent Deloach and his daughter Nicole founded this company in 2001 with their purchase of the Quick-Glo brand of cleaners and polishes. Quick-Glo has been around for more than 50 years and boasts a powerful formula that is also environmentally-friendly and non-toxic. In addition to the original formula, the company also offers the Quick-Glo Fine.
Chrome Polish Pricing
- $5-$10: At this price range, you shouldn’t expect a lot in terms of volume. You can still buy some of the best chrome polish on the market, but only a few ounces of it.
- $10-$25: As we move up in price, so does the amount of chrome shiner you can purchase. At the mid-level prices, you can get upwards of 20 ounces of polish, depending on the brand.
- $25 and up: Approaching the upper end of the price range means more polish as well as accessories like buffers and sponges to aid in application. You can buy chrome polish by the gallon if you want, though most people don’t need that much.
A nice benefit of most chrome polishes that are available is that they don’t just work on chrome. The ingredients that shine chrome also generally work on other metals like steel, aluminum, silver, and gold. In reality, this makes many chrome polish products an all-purpose metal polish.
Many of the polishes that are available not only polish chrome but also have ingredients in them to clean the metal as well. This is a great time-saver, especially for those bigger restorative projects.
Deals With Rust
Most products not only act as a car chrome cleaner and polish but also take care of surface-level rust that has formed from the metal underneath being exposed to the elements. This is great for preventing further rusting and deterioration.
Many chrome polishes also add a protective layer to the surface of the metal that acts as a shield against the elements. This not only adds to the shine and life of your chrome but decreases the number of times you have to polish it.
- Abrasiveness: Some chrome polish rust remover products are made to handle tougher jobs than others. Make sure to read the label first or else you could end up with a polish that will actually cause damage to your chrome.
- Application: Polishes that come in a spray bottle are much easier to apply than pastes or creams that need to be worked in. The tradeoff is that they aren’t as effective on corroded chrome. It’s best to find a balance between the two.
Best Chrome Polish Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Simichrome 390050 All Metal Polish
Simichrome is one of the strongest polishing pastes on the market and is a favorite among car and motorcycle owners, antique collectors, and professionals in automotive body repair. The water solvent paste contains aluminum oxide, ammonia, and other ingredients that can restore heavily chrome in as little as 30 seconds. This non-ferrous metal polishing paste is applicable to a number of different metals like pewter, brass, gold, silver, steel, copper, chrome, and other metal surfaces.
In addition to putting a brilliant shine on dull or faded metals, Simichrome adds a protective layer that will keep your chrome shining longer by keeping it safe from the elements. It’s not overly abrasive and safe to use on delicate pieces of chrome such as those found on antique clocks and band instruments. It’s easy to use and only requires a cloth rag and some elbow grease.
There have been some issues with Simichrome taking excessive time to dry when applied to chrome surfaces. Also, it does contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful if accidentally swallowed or if they make contact with the eyes. That said, Simichrome is one of the best chrome polishes available and is definitely deserving of our top pick.
Best Value: Blue Magic 400 Metal Polish Cream
This high-quality, non-abrasive cream is a tremendous value and applicable for a variety of metals including stainless steel, chrome, copper, brass, silver, aluminum, and gold. It is intended for use inside the home on furniture accents, in the garage on cars or motorcycles, and at the marina on your boat. Blue magic is also used professionally by automotive body shops across the country.
Blue Magic brings three levels of care to your chrome or other dulled metal. First, it cleans off particles, grime, and anything else that might be in the way. Second, it polishes chrome giving it a beautiful shine while removing small levels of oxidation. Third, it leaves a protective coating on your chrome that further protects it from the elements. Blue Magic is non-abrasive and easily applied with a cloth rag.
Blue Magic contains a powerful formula that is designed to restore chrome that is heavily tarnished and corroded. As such, there are ingredients (such as ammonia) that are toxic to humans if they come in contact with the eyes or if they are consumed or breathed in. There have also been a few reports of the polish leaving a blue film behind, which can be hard to buff out.
Honorable Mention: Quick-Glo Chrome Cleaner
Quick-Glo is a chrome cleaner and rust remover that is suitable for cars, motorcycles, bicycles, boats, furniture accents, appliances, and anything else with chrome on it. In addition to chrome, Quick-Glo also works on silver, brass, porcelain, steel, copper, mirrors, and windows. The non-toxic, environmentally-friendly formula is strong enough to handle tough restoration jobs involving lots of rust and tarnish.
Using a decades-old formula that is completely safe and all-natural, Quick-Glo cleans and polishes dull chrome while leaving a protective barrier in its wake. Because it’s non-toxic, you can use Quick-Glo inside small areas like the bathroom without worry of harmful fumes. It is non-abrasive and will not harm either the surfaces you intended to polish or any others it may accidentally get on.
Storage can be an issue as high-temperatures and/or humidity can cause Quick-Glo to revert to its liquid form which is highly ineffective. Also, there have been some reports that the product either didn’t have an effect or made chrome look worse.
- Take a steel wool brush and scrub off as much rust and excess particles as you can before polishing. This will give the polish maximum penetration, which will increase its ability to work.
- With a clean cloth rag, use small circular patterns when polishing to really work it into the chrome. It’s also the best way to avoid unsightly streak marks.
- After the polish dries apply a layer of wax over top. It will add an extra level of protection to your chrome as well as really bring out the shine.
- Between polishings, you can rub your chrome with a cloth and some water to keep it clean and shining.
Q: How long does it take for chrome polish to work?
A: In most cases, you should notice an immediate effect when polishing. In cases of extreme wear, you may need to apply two or three coats before returning your chrome’s luster.
Q: What other metals will chrome polish work on?
A: Many chrome polishes will also work on stainless steel, aluminum, brass, silver, gold, and copper. There are some cases where a polish may be harmful to certain metals, so make sure to read the instructions first.
Q: Do I need a special cloth?
A: Any soft piece of cloth will work just fine. Avoid harsher materials as they can actually scrape away at the chrome.
Our top pick overall is Simichrome 390050 All Metal Polish, which is an amazing all-purpose polish that handles the toughest jobs.
Blue Magic 400 Metal Polish Cream is our pick for the best overall value due to its powerful formula and reasonable pricing point.