Best Chrome Polishes: Keep Your Chrome Shiny and Looking New
Use these chrome polishes to keep your car’s shiny parts brilliant
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
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.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products 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 2020
- 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 3M Chrome and Metal Polish, which is an amazing all-purpose polish that handles the toughest jobs.
Mothers 05212 California Gold Chrome Polish is our pick for the best overall value due to its powerful formula and reasonable pricing point.