Your kitchen or bathroom is complete, and your new faucet looks amazing. Then real life resumes, and that beautiful faucet requires a little weekly care to remove spots, fingerprints and other evidence of the daily use and abuse it takes.
Before you grab just any cleaner, consider the finish of your fixture. Polished chrome and brushed nickel are two very different looks so the product you choose for one might ruin the look of the other. Likewise, making polished brass sparkle and retaining the old-world charm of oil-rubbed bronze is a little more involved than just spraying and wiping.
In many cases, though, cleaning these four disparate finishes can be accomplished with items you already have in your house like vinegar, salt, lemon juice and ketchup.
Believe it or not, a fresh lemon cut in half is all you need. Mother Nature has provided the perfect cleaner – and air freshener to boot. Margo over at the Joyful Homemaking blog said using a lemon on her bathroom fixtures did the trick.
She cut a fresh lemon in half and rubbed the inside of it directly onto her faucet, tub spout and handle. They she wiped away the juice with a clean cloth. For more stubborn spots she let the lemon juice sit for a couple of minutes before wiping the piece again.
Once Margo was done with the lemons she threw the peels down her garbage disposal, freshening up what can be another problem area.
The understated elegance of brushed nickel is achieved through physical vapor deposition, a bonding process that attaches the finish so securely it won’t peel or crack as long as it’s cared for properly. What brushed nickel does, though, is show fingerprints, hard water spots and smudge marks.
To keep brushed nickel from looking shabby, all you need is dish soap, a little bit of water and a clean, soft rag. Squirt some dish soap into a bowl of warm water, clean the fixtures and dry with a clean towel.
You can also use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water, but the dish soap will probably smell better.
What do you get when you mix salt, vinegar and flour? The perfect paste for cleaning oil-rubbed bronze. Because oil-rubbed bronze is softer than many other faucet finishes, it requires a little extra TLC to keep it looking luxe for years.
We found this easy solution over at ehow.com: Mix one teaspoon of salt into a cup of vinegar and add flour to bring the solution to a paste. Spread the paste over the fixture and let it dry. After about an hour, rinse the paste off and wipe the faucet with a clean, soft towel.
Brass – Polished and Not
Not all brass faucets are created equal. Some are brass-plated, some have a protective finish that makes it shine and others do not. The differences matter when it comes to cleaning, and while there are plenty of chemical cleaners available for brass, there are also more natural ways to get your fixtures clean.
Lacquered (protective shine): A damp cloth should remove water spots, fingerprints and smudges.
Non-lacquered: Ketchup isn’t just for burgers and fries. Squirt some of this ubiquitous condiment on a clean, soft cloth and rub it over the faucet. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth and dry with a towel. Lemon juice applied the same way it’s used with chrome also works, and so does the paste we described above for oil-rubbed bronze.