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topic 6134

Removing old chrome



I have an old ('53) car, which has many chrome-plated parts.

Some of the parts are chrome-plated iron and others are chrome-plated antimony.

The local "experts" say that the only option for removing the old chrome, is to apply sand-paper or sandblasting the part.

I want to know if is there another method (chemical or electroless) less harmful to the chromed parts of my car.

Thanks in advance,

Oscar D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Bogota, Colombia



When you say some parts are iron, you probably mean steel. And I am sure that no parts of this car are made of antimony.

Chrome is easily removed with hydrochloric acid or electrolytically in an alkaline solution. However, all decorative chrome has a layer of nickel plating below it that is a bit harder to remove, often requiring cyanide-based stripping solutions.

Still, I suspect that you may be misunderstanding the local experts, and what they may be trying to tell you is that after the chemical stripping it is almost always necessary to do polishing and buffing before replating.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 26, 2009

I've recently purchased an imitation chroming kit to re-chrome some old truck badges that I'm restoring. I have tried to remove the old chrome with acid solutions and electrolysis methods. Each time it seems to do more harm to the metal underneath underneath the chrome plating rather than actually removing the chrome. the base metal seems to be lead based. I was just wondering how and if there is anyway to remove the plating without affecting the underneath base metal. thank you for your time if you can help.

Andrew Lister
fitter/ turner - Western Australia

January 27, 2009

Hi, Andrew. You might be interested in looking at our "Introduction to Chrome Plating" because it may explain some things that you are struggling with. Namely, the chrome was probably completely gone a long time ago, and what you are looking at is the underlying nickel plating.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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