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How To Remove Chrome From A Plastic Grille?

The grille is essential in any car as it allows air to flow into the engine, helping it cool down. As a result, many car owners will often apply a layer of chrome coating over the grille to help protect it from corrosion. However, there are plenty of reasons why someone might want to strip off the chrome layer on their car's grille. That's why we researched how to remove chrome from a plastic grille.

There are plenty of methods to remove chrome from a plastic car grille. However, the method that most professionals recommend is the safest and easiest way. The steps are as follows:

  1. Gather The Necessary Tools/Materials
  2. Prepare The Abrasive Mixture And Apply
  3. Scrub Lightly With A Piece Of Cloth
  4. Don't Overdo It

This article will teach you all the different ways to remove chrome coating from car parts. And after understanding how each method works, you will learn which is best for you. So, continue reading to find out more.

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How To Remove Chrome From A Plastic Grille?

If you're in the mood to reapply a fresh coat of chrome paint on your car grille, you first need to remove the old layer. As such, this section will tell you all about it:

Grid of white sports car. The radiator grille. Metal texture. chrome grille of a big powerful. Front of the car. Radiator grill of luxury sports car. Plastic or metal grill. radiator grill

Gather The Necessary Tools/Materials

The first step in any project is to gather all the materials in one place. By doing this, you avoid the hassle of having to go back inside the house each time you need something. The following are just some of the things that you will need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Latex Gloves
  • Cloth
  • Safety Goggles

Prepare The Abrasive Mixture And Apply

Next, it's time to prepare the solution that you will apply to the grille to help strip off the chrome coating. Mix one part water and one part baking soda into a cup. Then, stir until you achieve a paste-like consistency. If the consistency is too watery, add more baking soda. And if it's too hard, slowly add more water to help loosen it up.

Afterward, apply it thoroughly on the chrome layer of the car grille. Make sure to apply fully, leaving no spot untouched. Don't forget to wear safety goggles and latex gloves when doing this step.

Scrub Lightly With A Piece Of Cloth

After around ten minutes, it's time to start scrubbing off the chrome coating. With the use of a soft cloth, carefully scrub the car grille, removing both the abrasive mixture and the chrome coating. Once done, check the entire car grille for any leftover chrome coating. If there is still, repeat the process.

Don't Overdo It

Last but not least, don't overdo it. Don't leave the solution on the car grille for too long, or it will leave some damage on the car grille. Don't forget that most car grilles are plastic. As such, don't use too much force to remove the chrome coating to maintain the integrity of the plastic.

What Are The Other Ways Of Removing Chrome From Car Parts?

 Modern design of the radiator grille of the New 308 hatchback car from the French manufacturer PSA Peugeot-Citroën, featuring the lion logo on the center and chrome fittings

If you're removing chrome coating from other car parts, then using a solution made out of baking soda may not be enough. In this case, other methods will fare much better. As such, this section focuses on the other methods of stripping chrome coating from other car parts:

Soak The Car Parts In Bleach

If you don't want to scrub the layer of chrome coating off, then soaking the car parts in bleach is another method that you could explore. Just make sure to wear a pair of gloves during the entire process.

Additionally, don't let the car parts soak into the bleach for too long. Or else you run the risk of corroding them. If you choose to go through with this method, you will need to submerge the car parts for at least eighteen hours to a day to help soften the chrome coating.

Apply Oven Cleaning Detergent

Another option for removing chrome coating is an oven-cleaning detergent. As with the abrasive solution from earlier, all you need to do is apply the detergent over the affected area. Then, wipe it off using a piece of clean cloth.

The difference is that an oven-cleaning detergent can darken and even change the color of the underlying material if left for too long. It can also cause corrosion as well.

Scrub It Off Using A Sandpaper

If you don't want to risk corroding the material underneath the chrome layer, then using sandpaper to scrub off the coating is another alternative. It's cheap and easy to do without making you wait for a set amount of time or needing to prepare many things beforehand.

The only downside is that you're more likely to scratch and ruin the material underneath the chrome layer. If you're not too careful, you'll leave behind obvious damage on the material's surface.

Use Standard Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is another material that you could use to remove chrome coating. That's because it has properties similar to that of paint thinner. The only issue with this is that it's trickier to work with. It takes longer than some of the abovementioned methods, and it's also a hassle to dispose of after use.

What Tools Can Help Remove Chrome Coating?

Modern design of the radiator grille of the New 308 hatchback car from the French manufacturer PSA Peugeot-Citroën, featuring the lion logo on the center and chrome fitting, How To Remove Chrome From A Plastic Grille

If you're not a fan of using a lot of elbow grease to remove chrome coating, don't fret. There are a couple of tools worth mentioning when it comes to chrome removal:

Sanding Machine

The orbital sander for woodwork.

A sanding machine is similar to sandpaper but is much more advanced in its application. This method works best on car parts that have flat and smooth surfaces. With car parts with intricate designs or detail will be difficult to strip chrome plating off.

Beginners should not try this method without prior experience. Due to its rotation speed, you can damage the underlying part if you're not too careful, or even harm yourself.

Check this sanding machine on Amazon.

Abrasive Blaster Machine

Alternatively, you can use an abrasive blaster machine to quickly get into the tiny crooks and finer details of a car part. By spraying tiny sand grains or something similar to the surface of the car part, it scrapes the chrome plating right off the surface.

And just like every other method in this article, one needs to be careful to avoid any damage to the material where the chrome coating is on. In this case, you need to know what setting to use to prevent damaging the material underneath the chrome layer. Not only that, but you must also wear safety gear when handling this machine due to its nature of shooting out tiny particles.

Check this abrasive blaster machine on Amazon.

Which Method Is The Best For Removing Chrome Coating?

Chrome grille facing the radiator. This part of the car body.

Now that you have a good understanding of what methods exist to remove chrome coating from your car parts, it's time to choose which one is best for you. If you plan on stripping the chrome coating off a car grille or similar products, then the first method introduced is the best for you. You don't need a lot of experience to do it, and the materials involved are not that difficult to source and use effectively.

If the chrome layer is a lot more challenging to remove than you initially thought, then you could try switching to either bleach or an oven detergent to help remove it.

You need to be more careful when handling these products, as they can cause irritation and minor bodily injuries if you're not wearing the proper protective gear. Brake fluid is another alternative that you can use besides these two. However, its nature of being difficult to use will set you back more in most cases.

For those who don't want to use chemical products, scraping the chrome layer off with sandpaper is a good option. Just take extra care not to scratch the material underneath.

And for those with experience using machinery, the sanding machine, and abrasive blaster machine are good choices. To cut this all short, it's all about experience and comfort. Choose which method you think works best for you and go with that. Just remember to take your time and not rush into it.

Check this car grille on Amazon.

To Wrap Up

When removing chrome coating from a car grille, the best method is usually scrubbing it off with the help of an abrasive solution. Due to how thin the layer of chrome coating is on the grille, there's no need to be so rough on it using the other methods. Or else you'll end up damaging the plastic underneath as well.

If you found this article helpful, consider checking the links below. They touch upon topics regarding the chrome and the paint of a car:

How to Remove Scratches from Chrome [Bumper, Rims, and More!]

Why Does My Paint Feel Rough After Waxing?