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furniture facelift: 70s lounge chairs part one (chrome cures)
by Yee-Fan Sun
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continued from page 1

cleaning chrome
Scouring pads and abrasive household cleansers might seem like the best way to clean a really bad bit of gunked-up chrome, but using them can actually scratch up the chrome pretty badly, leaving you with a far more unsightly surface than you began with. Chrome, after all, is just a thin outer layering of metal, which means that some care needs to be taken to ensure the pretty shiny plating stays more or less put.

There are, of course, commercial products available for the express purpose of cleaning up your chrome goodies without inflicting permanent harm on them. You can find chrome cleansers in the cleaning products section of a hardware store; auto supply aisles and specialty shops also carry them. Read the labels, however, and the dire warnings start to sound a little scary. Eager to avoid poisoning myself with noxious chemicals and fumes, I set off in search of a more low-tech, natural solution.

test 1: vinegar
Cheap and often surprisingly effective, plain white vinegar is a fabulous natural cleaner that works wonders on polishing up and de-gunking all manner of household goods. But would it work on chrome?

The method | Dab vinegar onto a clean white rag. Wipe the chrome surface.

The verdict | The vinegar definitely wiped away superficial grime and grease, but did absolutely nothing for oxidized spots and thick gunky patches. Clearly, a heavier-duty cleaning agent was in order.

test 2: toothpaste
Next up was toothpaste. Toothpaste has long been one of my favorite tricks for polishing up silver; I figured if it was mild enough an abrasive to keep my silver stuff looking shiny, pretty and new, it might work well for chrome as well.

The method | Squeeze toothpaste over the area you’d like to clean, then rub the toothpaste into the area with a rag until clean.

The verdict | After a few minutes of scrubbing away, the area did look noticeably better. There were, however, still quite a few stubborn brown spots mottling the whole surface that no amount of elbow grease seemed able to loosen, even after adding a little more toothpaste and scrubbing some more.

boogie along this way

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