Removing Rust From Chrome Light Fixtures

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Light fixtures need as much care and attention as any other fixture or appliance in your home. But because they're way up on the ceiling, light fixtures are easily forgotten. This makes chrome fixtures susceptible to rust, pitting and other signs of neglect. While surface rust is easy to remove from chrome, if rust has eaten away at the chrome's shiny surface, there's no easy remedy. The light fixture may have to be refinished or replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid detergent soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Chrome polish
  • Microfiber towel
  • Chamois
  • Turn off the power and wait for the light fixture to cool.

  • Unscrew the light bulb and remove the fixture from the ceiling. This is usually as easy as unscrewing a bolt with your fingers or loosening screws with a screwdriver. Consult your owner's manual for disassembly instructions if further instructions are necessary.

  • Clean the chrome with soapy water (1 teaspoon of liquid detergent per quart of water) and an old toothbrush to remove any dirt, debris and surface rust. For deep pitting and heavy rust, use steel wool. Keep the chrome lubricated with soapy water and use care so you don't scratch the surface of shiny unrusted chrome.

  • Apply chrome polish to the light fixture with a microfiber cloth. For heavily pitted chrome, use a toothbrush to apply the polish. Rub the polish into the surface of the chrome, using short back-and-forth motions and light pressure.

  • Wipe the surface clean with a microfiber towel.

  • Buff the surface to a shine with the clean portion of the cloth.

  • Replace the bulb and re-hang the light fixture.

Tips & Warnings

  • To protect the light fixture from further rust, apply a chrome wax or sealant to its surface before remounting.
  • While you're cleaning the light fixture, give the bulbs a quick wipe-down. Dirty light bulbs give off only 80 percent of the light of clean bulbs. Wipe with a soft, dry cloth. For stubborn dirt, moisten the cloth with a solution of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. The bulb needs to cool before attempting to clean it.

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References

  • "Recycling Projects for the Evil Genius"; Russel Gehrke; 2010
  • "The Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly House Cleaning"; Anne Kocsis, et al.; 2010
  • "Ultimate Auto Detailing Projects"; David H. Jacobs Jr.; 2003
  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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