How to Clean Nickel Plating?

Pour a small amount of vinegar into a bowl, soak a clean cloth or sponge in the solution and use it to scrub nickel plating. Lastly, rinse with warm water, and you’re done.

Nickel plating provides resistant coatings to different metals. You can find it on different industrial parts and household items such as grills, faucets, door hinges, etc. 

When tarnish starts to show, you must clean off your nickel plating.

You should always start by washing it with lukewarm water, using a metal cleaner for stains. If the blemishes come off, proceed with polishing.

Otherwise, below you will find a list of household products such as vinegar, ammonia, soapy water, and others to clean your nickel plating at low cost.

Without further ado, let’s learn how to clean nickel plating with ease.

How to Clean Nickel Plating: 5 Quick & Easy Methods

Nickel coating requires special care as it will tarnish, especially after exposure to chemicals, acidic foods, oils, minerals, water, cleaning products, etc.

All of these things will remove the nickel plating. So, regular cleaning is important to keep the beautiful finish look of every nickel-finished product in your home.

Another reason why cleaning is important is that tarnish isn’t a defect – hence, it’s not covered by your warranty. Now, let’s dive right into the cleaning methods.

Method 1: Soapy Water

We suggest using soapy water before trying anything stronger as many grease stains and grime can be removed with a cloth under lukewarm, running water.

Step 1: Buff Away the Grime

Using a clean and non-abrasive cloth, polish the nickel plating. Apply extra pressure to dirtier spots using small, circular motions to buff away the loose grime.

Step 2: Prepare the Solution

Fill a small container with warm water, add a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent and stir until you get soapy water.

Keep in mind that cold and hot water and abrasive soap will damage the plating.

Step 3: Clean the Nickel Plating

If you’re dealing with small objects, wash them inside the container or near them.

If you’re handling large objects such as undetachable objects like shower heads or nickel-plated stoves, grab a cloth, soak it in the soapy water and use it to buff out the grime.

Avoid using harsh scrubbers if possible, as they can cause damage.

Step 4: Rinse off the Soap

Once you’re done, rinse the small objects under running lukewarm water. For larger and undetachable items, collect more water and pour it over the items. 

You can also use clean damp water to rinse off the soap.

We highly suggest doing this at least once a year to prevent stains and reduce the stress on the nickel plating.

Step 5: Towel Dry

Grab a clean towel and pass it over the damp areas. Make sure you dry every part, so the water doesn’t seep into the nickel.

Method 2: Commercial Cleaners

If your nickel plating doesn’t require harsher cleaning methods, use a non-abrasive metal polish.

Step 1: Use A Metal Polish

Buy a non-abrasive polish for nickel-plated items. 

If you can’t find one, you can use chrome polish as well. These types of polishes usually come in a bottle and are applied with cotton pads or balls.

Apply a small amount of nickel or chrome polish to your nickel plating, then wipe the surface using circular motions.

If you have already cleaned up your nickel plating, you can apply polish afterward to restore the shine.

Step 2: Apply A Metal Cleaner to Stained Areas4

If you notice any discolorations, you can apply a non-abrasive metal cleaner directly to the stained areas, especially green discolorations.

Let the non-abrasive metal cleaner sit for a few minutes.

You can also use a regular oven cleaner. Apply a small amount of the oven cleaner onto your nickel-plated items, then clean it off with water or a soft cloth.

Step 3: Clean the Plating

If you have used a non-abrasive metal cleaner, use a cloth or steel wool to spread it over the nickel plating using small, circular motions, then rinse it off with water.

Method 3: Vinegar

Vinegar can do wonders for your nickel-plated items. It’s a mild acid, so it’s ideal for cleaning stains.

Step 1: Get Your Vinegar Ready

Pour a small amount of white vinegar into a bowl or container, then soak a soft cloth inside. Wring out the excess and scrub your nickel plating with it.

Buff out any visible stains using circular motions, but don’t apply too much pressure as this can damage the nickel. Also, resoak the cleaning cloth as needed.

Step 2: Soak the Plating if Necessary

If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, don’t worry, as you can soak the nickel plating in a vinegar and water solution. Mix 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water in a bowl, then add the nickel piece inside.

Let it soak for about 30 minutes. You can also heat your cleaning solution to give it a little extra cleaning power, but don’t let your item stay in the hot solution. Use the heated solution to clean the stains with a cloth.

Avoid using vinegar only as it can cause damage to thin nickel platings if you leave it on for extended periods.

Step 3: Rinse the Plating

Once you’re done cleaning, you can remove the product with a clean damp cloth or water. Make sure there’s no vinegar left. Otherwise, it will cause damage over time, so wipe or rinse a couple of times if necessary.

Method 4: Ammonia

Like vinegar, ammonia can successfully remove stains and restore the shine of your nickel plating, so definitely give it a try.

Step 1: Clean Smaller Stains

Fill a small bowl with a little amount of household ammonia, then dip a towel, cloth, or scouring pad into it. Scrub all the dirty areas with the solution.

Apply extra pressure when scrubbing deep stains.

Step 2: Handle Stubborn Stains

You can make a stronger cleaning solution for stubborn stains by combining 3 parts of water and 1 part of ammonia.

Soak your item in the container for about 30 minutes. If you’re not sure that soaking your item won’t cause any damage, pour the mixture over it and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Avoid submerging your nickel plating in pure ammonia, as the product will cause the item to chip and flake over time.

Step 3: Rinse and Towel Dry

Once done, you can remove the cleaning solution with a damp cloth or warm water. Simply run the damp towel or water over your item and dry with a clean towel afterward.

Method 5: WD-40

Last but not least, you can use WD-40 to clean your nickel plating.

Step 1: Do A Spot Test

If you’re not certain WD-40 won’t damage your item, do a spot test. 

Note that if the plating is very thin, the scrubber or even fine steel wool will cause damage.

Step 2: Apply the WD-40

Apply the product to your item, then gently scrub it with fine steel wool. Avoid using too much pressure. Otherwise, you can damage your nickel-plated object.

Extra Cleaning Tips and Advice

The next cleaning and care tips can help you take good care of your nickel-plated objects and extend their life.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Don’t use abrasive cleaning tools unless necessary. Avoid harsh sponges, scourers, or clothes that will scratch the surface of your object.

Also, avoid harsh chemicals that could strip the coating off your nickel-plated object. Don’t over-soak your item in vinegar or ammonia either.

Try the Mild Methods First

Always start with a mild cleaning product on a small part of your item, as sometimes a mild solution can help remove all those nasty stains.

Progress to harsher methods such as vinegar, ammonia, or WD-40 if necessary. Also, make sure you completely remove the cleaning product and towel dry the item with a clean towel.

Don’t Use Too Much Water

Avoid using too much water on nickel-plated items with moving parts such as lever handles. Otherwise, the spring can corrode ahead of time.

Lastly, follow the manufacturer’s advice if using their cleaners.

FAQs on How to Clean Nickel Plating

How to clean old nickel-plated items?

Wet the item and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda all over it. Then, pour the vinegar over the baking soda, scrub the metal with a toothbrush, and rinse with warm water.

How do you clean an oxidized nickel?

You can clean an oxidized nickel with white vinegar and water. Mix 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a clean spray bottle, then spray your item with the mixture and let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, rinse the item and towel dry.

Is Bar Keepers Friend safe on the nickel?

You can safely use Bar Keepers Friend to clean nickel as it’s a gentle and effective cleaner that can remove dirt, grime, and stains from different surfaces.

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