How to Clean Chrome Trim on a Car in Just 4 Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean chrome trim on a car

Your vehicle’s brightwork can lose its shine due to wear and tear. Don’t be blinded by its initial luster because metalwork also needs regular maintenance and polishing every once in a while.

Chrome detailing may sound complicated, but it can easily be done by you at home. If your chrome is already hazy, then you must clean your oxidized chrome trim to prevent further damage.

Continue reading to know how to clean chrome trim on a car in the most effective way.


The Best Way to Clean Chrome Trim on a Car

What to Prepare

Most of the materials can be found at your home, but you may need to buy some cleaning and polishing products from your local hardware store or auto repair shops.

  • Car Wash Soap
  • Metal Polish
  • Warm Water
  • Spray Bottle
  • Sponge
  • Brush with Soft Bristles
  • Microfiber Cloths

Step 1 – Mix your Car Wash Soap and Water


In a bucket, mix your soap and warm water to create your car chrome cleaner. You can also split the solution and pour some into a spray bottle, so you can get the detergent onto nooks and crannies later on.

Mild household soap is fine, but we suggest you use a car-specific product as your chrome trim cleaner. The reason is that a car wash soap is advantageous when detailing the area around the chrome trim, and you can use this solution to wash your car.

If you are still unsure about which soap to choose, check the ingredients to see whether they’re safe on chrome metal.

Step 2 – Scrub Your Car’s Chrome Trim


Dip a non-abrasive sponge (or cloth) in the soap and start scrubbing to clean cloudy chrome trim. The dirt and chrome discoloration on car should loosen for easier removal.

To eliminate stubborn dirt, you can use a brush with soft bristles to clean car chrome trim more effectively. The bristles will also get into nooks and crannies that may not be visible when looking at your car.

Scrub vigorously at very dirty areas until all traces of contaminants are gone.

Don’t forget to rinse your sponge before using it again, especially if your chrome trim is extremely soiled.

  • Pro Tip: For hard-bound water spots, spray some acid-based wheel cleaner or citrol on a clean rag and wipe it over the chrome piece. Do not apply this on glass; this acid-based solution can damage glass, so better read the instructions before using.

Step 3 – Rinse Thoroughly And Dry


Rinse to clean chrome on car until all soap and dirt are removed.

With a clean microfiber towel, wipe your vehicle’s chrome trim to absorb all moisture.

Do not leave your newly washed chrome trim to air dry or even dry under the sun as this is one of the most common causes of water spots.

Leftover water spots should not be taken lightly. They are not only unsightly but can also damage your chrome trim.

Step 4 – Polish Chrome Trim


Look for a lightweight and compatible automobile chrome polish for your vehicle. Depending on your trim, you can apply a metal polish or even a plastic chrome polish like the one from Autosol.

Note: Read the instructions before you polish plastic chrome trim. There may be some rules you have to keep in mind, since plastic is easily affected by chemicals.

Apply the product with an applicator pad or simply wipe it on with a clean towel. Buff the car surface nicely to leave a nice shine on the trim.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Clean Old Chrome Trim?

Before performing a chrome trim restoration, check if the current trim is too pitted or rusted.

If your chrome is peeling away from the metal or plastic underneath, this means that it is rusting from the inside and there is no way to restore it without removing and replacing the entire piece.

But if there’s only some light corrosion, you can still restore chrome trim on car.

  • Step 1: Using steel wool or brush, scrub away the rust. Do not over-extend as these scrubbers can scratch your paint.
  • Step 2: Apply a rust treatment product for the car surface. Only use as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Step 3: Wash your chrome trim with soap and water until dirt is removed.
  • Step 4: Polish and buff your chrome trim pieces until they look as good as new.

Once you get a hang of the steps, you can be a certified car chrome trim restorer.

How Do I Clean Chrome Finish on My Car?

Follow the steps we described above.

The procedure can also be used to clean chrome trim on Mercedes. But you must be cautious of the products you are using, especially your polish.

Pick the best chrome trim polish that you can get your hands on to protect and restore this car component. It may sound weird, but Autoglym’s glass cleaner would be great for this purpose.

How to Clean Black Trim?

Black car trims are commonly used in old car models and are usually made from either rubber, plastic, or metal.

In order to clean them, you can do steps 1-3 above, but step 4 would be different here. Based on your black trim’s material, use a protectant that is compatible with it at least 6-8 times a year.

  • Plastic or Rubber – You can use vinyl or rubber protectants with UV protection.
  • Metal – Use a mild metal polish.

Read more: Ways to permanently restore black plastic trim.

How to Protect Chrome Trim

The best way to protect your car’s chrome trim is to do maintenance regularly. We’re talking about the full process, from washing to polishing and not just the washing part.

Chrome trims, despite the fact that they don’t occupy that large of a space, are still in direct contact with road dirt and pollution, which leads to damage. If you ignore all contaminants, then you might as well kiss these components goodbye.

So to prevent that from happening, you must pick a good chrome polish for car trim. This will not only give your metal pieces the shine they deserve but also protect them from debris and moisture.


It is easy to get cars dirty, especially if they are driven a lot. Get some more mileage out of your chrome pieces and start maintaining them today.

We hope the tips above helped you with how to clean chrome trim on a car. Because let’s be honest—you don’t want to leave this part looking dirty any longer!

5/5 - (2 votes)



"As the content writer of Charmcitycirculator, I intend to bring just the best purchase options and straightforward answers to your problems. Other than what we put up on our website, we hope to hear more from you. "

– Bruce Sonnier