Chrome Corrosion?

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Old 01-01-15, 10:54 AM
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Chrome Corrosion?

Happy New Year everyone! I am trying to clean our chrome (plated?) faucets in our restrooms and kitchen. However I have not found a cleaner that can handle the job.

I have attached a photo of the damage. I need the strongest cleaner that will work.

However, I am afraid that whatever chemical is on the faucets has already taken away the chrome finish and thus we have bare nickel exposed. If this is the case, could I use electroplating to restore the chrome evenly, or would I have to strip all the old chrome off first?

Thank you,
Daniel

PS: In my experience, the best cleaner I've ever used was Orange TKO. Does anyone have experience with this cleaner and/or have a better alternative?
 
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Old 01-01-15, 03:26 PM
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Replace the faucet. Re-plating is not anywhere close to an economical option.
 
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Old 01-01-15, 03:33 PM
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I agree! it looks to me like the plating or coating is already coming off.
btw - welcome to the forums Daniel!
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:54 PM
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Daniel:

What I see in that picture is typical of what happens when someone uses hydrochloric acid to clean chrome plated fixtures (like faucets). What you're seeing is the duller nickel plating showing where the chrome has been removed. This is permanent damage and can't be repaired (without replating the faucet, which would cost you more than a new one).

I would order a new escutcheon for this faucet and replace the damaged escutcheon. The spout doesn't look too bad, so you may be able to get by with just a new escutcheon. If you can get a new spout cheap, I'd replace the spout, too. Moen and Delta both have 1-800 numbers where you should be able to order these parts.

The most effective cleaner for any project depends entirely on what you're cleaning off of what. There's no one cleaner that works best for everything. If you're cleaning soap scum off of chrome in your bathrooms, the best cleaner you're going to find is phosphoric acid.

The active ingredient in toilet bowl cleaners will typically be either Phosphoric acid or Hydrochloric acid. That's because neither will damage the porcelain bowl of a toilet. Phosphoric acid is milder than hydrochloric acid, but both will dissolve anything you're likely to find in a toilet bowl given a little time. Hydrochloric acid is much more aggressive than phosphoric acid, and most janitors only use it on stuff that phosphoric acid won't remove.

However, hydrochloric acid will attack chrome, even in fairly weak concentrations. Never use a hydrochloric acid based toilet bowl cleaner on any chrome plating. It will dissolve the chrome plating, as you've learned first hand.

Phosphoric acid, on the other hand, is the active ingredient in lots of general purpose bathroom cleaners because it cuts through soap scum like a hot knife through butter, but won't harm chrome even at high concentrations. You can buy a phosphoric acid based toilet bowl cleaner at any Janitorial Supply store for use cleaning your bathroom, including the toilet, the soap scum in the sink and all the chrome plated faucets. Just look in your yellow pages phone directory under "Janitorial Equipment & Supplies". Those places will also sell phosphoric acid based bathroom cleaners, and the only difference is that general purpose bathroom cleaners won't have as strong a concentration of phosphoric acid as toilet bowl cleaners and won't be gelled to stick to the smooth surface of a toilet bowl.

Probably about the strongest phosphoric acid based cleaner I know of is a roughly 35 percent concentration of phosphoric acid in a product made by Buckeye International called "Sparkle".

But, Sparkle is easily strong enough to dissolve any cement based grout you have in your bathroom or kitchen counter top and backsplash, so don't use any acid on your grout unless you follow up the cleaning by painting several coats of a clear acrylic grout sealer onto the grout to cover, seal and protect the clean grout from further acid cleanings.

Also, never use an acid to clean plastic laminate (Formica) counter tops or restaurant tables.

If you're wanting to clean kitchen sinks, what you're wanting to clean off of the sink determines what's best to use. If there's a brownish discolouration on the stainless steel sink, I find the best thing to remove that is undiluted bleach painted onto the sink and drain with a cheap nylon bristle brush. There are molds that grow on kitchen sinks that can be darn near impossible to remove by scrubbing. These molds stick to the steel tenaciously and don't seem to be removed even by hard scrubbing with a Scotchbrite pad. The only way I've found to remove them is by killing the mold with bleach, in which case it comes off the stainless steel quite easily, leaving the sink looking shiny and new.

If it's animal fats and vegetable oils (like a cooking oil) that you want to clean off of a kitchen sink, the best product to use is ordinary dish washing detergent. A more effective, but harsher cleaner would be oven cleaner. Oven cleaner works by converting animal fats and vegetable oils into soap through a process called "saponification". The resulting soap is easy to remove because it's soluble in water.

I own a small apartment block of 21 apartments for about 25 years, and so I do A LOT of cleaning. In my bathrooms I use a film forming acrylic grout sealer on the grout lines of the ceramic tiling around the bathtubs. To clean that tiling I use a phosphoric acid based bathroom cleaner. The acidic cleaner never comes into contact with the grout because of the clear acrylic grout sealer on the surface of the grout. I find that this is a very effective way to clean my bathrooms and keeping them mildew free so that I can attract desirable tenants. You can see pictures of my bathrooms on my web site at:

Apartment rentals in Winnipeg, Manitoba

I also looked up Orange TKO to see what was in it that might make it a good cleaner.

Here is the Material Safety Data Sheet for Orange TKO:

Orange TKO Midwest ~ Material Safety Data Sheet

The active ingredient in it is something called Cyclohexene 1 methyl-4-(1methylethenyl) (R)-C10H16 , and you'd need to be a chemistry prof to know what the he11 that is.

...and this is a common practice amongst companies that produce the products we use. There are multiple different accepted ways of naming chemicals based on their molecular structure, so a product manufacturer that's required by law to produce an MSDS sheet saying what's in it will use the most obscure chemical naming convention they can to give their ingredients chemical names that are as long as a shoelace in an effort to keep their formulations secret to the public. Manufacturers are required to supply MSDS sheet information to anyone who buys their products so that if a baby swallows something called Orange TKO because it looks pretty and smells nice, the doctor can find out exactly what he's dealing with.

To overcome the problem of the same chemical having multiple different chemicals names, the CAS, or Chemical Assay System was developed whereby each different chemical is assigned a number, and Googling that CAS number will give you all of it's other chemical names. In this case, the CAS number for Cyclohexene 1 methyl-whatever is 5989-27-5 as found on the MSDS sheet for Orange TKO.

Googling CAS 5989-27-5 tells us that the active ingredient in Orange TKO is Limonene.

Limonene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Limonene is the "orange" in Orange TKO. When you squeeze an orange peel, what squirts out is mostly water with d-Limonene in it. It's being promoted by the Orange Growers of Florida because they have a powerful lobby in Washington that convinces congressmen and senators to give companies that use "green" chemicals in their products tax breaks for helping to save the planet. Limonene is considered a green product because if it's not used in a cleaner or paint stripper it would simply end up in the atmosphere anyway as the orange peels that are discarded rot in the landfill sites. So, the idea here is that by using the d-Limonene as a solvent/cleaner, you're not ADDING anything to the chemicals being dumped into the atmosphere because the d-Limonene would end up there anyway even if you didn't use it for anything.

d-Limonene isn't particularily effective as a cleaner or degreaser. The real reason a lot of companies are adding it to their products to make "Orange - this" and "Citrus - that" is because of the tax breaks they get from using supposedly "green" d-Limonene in their products.

I expect the only reason you found that d-Limonene worked well is because it's a solvent and would cut the oily residue you might find on a kitchen faucet after handling fatty meat or cooking oil if you get cooking oil on your hands.

I expect that if you tried using either dish washing detergent or oven cleaner to remove any oily residue on your kitchen faucets, you'd find they do a better job. Always wear rubber gloves when working with oven cleaner. Or at least, those are the two things I'd try for a more effective cleaning of greasy stuff off of a kitchen sink faucet.

Hope this helps.
 

Last edited by Nestor; 01-12-15 at 12:36 AM.
 

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