Nickel plating is generally used to provide a more metal resistant layer. This technique is used for many industrial parts, but it is also possible to find it in private homes, for example on grills, door hinges and faucets. When the traces of grease and oxidation show up, it is time to clean the plating. You'll be able to keep a tough, shiny nickel plating for many years if you wash it in warm water, clean it with a metal cleaner, and finish by polishing it.
Method 1 of 4: Clean with water
Step 1. Polish the nickel with a soft cloth
Before trying any other method, you should wipe off as much dirt as possible. Sometimes all it takes is a little lukewarm water and a cloth to be part of the grease stains, streaks or dirt. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth and scrub the veneer, pressing a little harder on the dirtier areas. Clean using circular motions of the cloth.
Step 2. Prepare a soapy water solution
A cleanse with soap and water is always gentler and you should prefer it before trying with acid. Choose a mild dish soap. Fill a container with hot water and add washing up liquid until the water foams. Too hot water, cold water and too strong washing-up liquid will damage the plating.
Step 3. Wash the veneer
You choose the best method and how much you need. If you want to wash a small object, you can immerse it directly in the soapy water. For larger items like nickel-plated gas stoves or shower heads, you can take a soft cloth, soak it in water, and use it to wash off the streaks.
Avoid too rough materials as much as possible, as they could damage the nickel
Step 4. Rinse off the soap
Run the plated object under lukewarm water. If you are cleaning a larger object, get more water. Pour it on the surface or on a clean, soft cloth to wipe off the washing-up liquid.
Try to clean it once a year to avoid staining and save yourself the stress of cleaning
Step 5. Dry
Take a clean, soft cloth. Spread it over wet areas. Make sure to remove as much water as possible so that it does not soak up the nickel. This will give you the opportunity to check that there is no soap left to wipe off. Continue wiping with the rag until the veneer is clean.
Method 2 of 4: Use a cleaning product
Step 1. Polish the metal with a polish paste
If the nickel is not yet dirty enough to use more drastic methods, you can use a non-abrasive polish. The chrome polish works well on nickel plating. Apply a little bit of paste to the metal, then wipe off in circles like you did in the next step.
Alternatively, you can also try this method after trying the others if you want to make the nickel shine
Step 2. Apply the product to the discolorations
Buy a metal cleaner in a store. Try for example to find one for chrome. Apply it directly to the stains, especially the green discolorations that have built up on the nickel. Leave on for a minute.
- You can also use a lubricant that dissolves grease.
- Oven cleaning products are also useful in removing grease.
- You could test this method on a small invisible area. If the veneer is very thin, a steel wool or scouring sponge could damage it.
Step 3. Scrub the veneer
After applying the product, wipe it with a cloth to spread it over the entire surface. You can also use steel wool or a scouring sponge for tough stains and discolorations. Use circular motions to penetrate the product. Do not press too hard to avoid scratching the metal.
Method 3 of 4: Cleanse with vinegar
Step 1. Prepare the cloth
Vinegar is a light acid that works wonders against stains. Pour a small amount into a bowl. Soak a clean, soft cloth in vinegar. Wring it out.
Step 2. Scrub the dirty areas
Use the cloth by gently pressing on the dirty areas. Make small movements in a circle without pressing too hard so as not to damage the nickel layer. Dip it back into the vinegar if necessary.
Step 3. Prepare a solution of vinegar and water
For stubborn stains, you're going to need to soak the nickel plating. Mix four parts water and one part vinegar in a container that you can submerge the whole part in or that has enough liquid to submerge the part to be washed.
- Do not use pure vinegar. It will be too abrasive if you expose the nickel to pure vinegar for a long time.
- Nickel plating will deteriorate easily if exposed to acids, so you should use this method sparingly on tough stains.
- You can heat the mixture to increase its cleaning action a bit if you wish. You should only do this if you are not going to completely submerge the room.
Step 4. Dip the nickel into the solution
Soak it in for several hours. The stain should start to go away. Otherwise, pour the vinegar solution over the object and leave to act for half an hour. Repeat if necessary.
Step 5. Rinse the veneer
Use lukewarm water or wipe with a cloth dampened in lukewarm water. Make sure there is no vinegar left. If you left any, it would continue to erode the veneer. Wipe with a second cloth to be sure there is none left at all.
Method 4 of 4: Apply ammonia
Step 1. Prepare an ammonia compress
This substance, like vinegar, is effective against stains. Pour a small amount of pure household ammonia into a bowl. Dip a scouring sponge or cloth in it.
Step 2. Scrub the dirty areas
Apply the compress gently on the surface to be treated. Rub harder on the more encrusted stains. It would be better if you use this method on pure nickel to reduce the abrasive effect of the cloth and the product.
Step 3. Prepare a solution of ammonia and water
For a more effective solution, mix one part ammonia and three parts water. Never immerse the nickel-coated part in pure ammonia. After half an hour, the nickel will flake off and fall off.
Step 4. Soak the object in the solution
Place the coin in the bowl. You can also pour it over it. Leave the ammonia to work for about half an hour.
Step 5. Rinse the veneer
Use lukewarm water to remove ammonia. You can also soak a soft cloth in lukewarm water to make sure there is no ammonia left. Then run a stream of lukewarm water or the cloth over the surface to remove this substance.
- Take some precautions when working with chemicals like ammonia. Wear rubber gloves and a mask that covers your mouth and nose. Work outdoors or in a well ventilated room.
- Do not mix chemicals. Certain combinations could produce catastrophic effects.