How to restore vintage chrome

Hello all Madness here, I wanted to share the cheap and easy ways you can restore your old moped chrome without breaking the bank. Most of these require stuff you have around your house, or things you can get cheap on Amazon or elsewhere. ALWAYS TEST IN AN AREA NOT VISIBLE FIRST TO MAKE SURE THE METHOD WORKS FOR YOUR CHROME TYPE.

The first an cheapest method everyone has around the house to restore old chrome is using Coke-Cola:

Material need:

  • Can of Coke (branded or not, does does matter)
  • Tin Foil

Yep just your average can of Coke and some tinfoil will clean up rust in no time. The phosphoric acid in most soft drinks interacts with iron oxide to dissolve rust super fast. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Fold the foil into 3 to 4 layers to give it more sturdiness.
  • Pour some Coca-Cola onto the rust spot and gently scrub with the foil.
  • Pieces of the rust will begin to flake off. You can switch to the sponge as you start to work through the rust.
  • Repeat the process until the area is free of rust.
  • Once you’ve achieved the desired results, clean the area with soap and water to remove the debris.
  • Seal with car wax if you have it.

The second and most recommended method by most people is white vinegar:

Materials needed:

  • White vinegar
  • 000 steel wool

The acidic nature of vinegar helps to dissolve rust, but keep in mind, this method takes a little more elbow grease than other options.


  • Spray undiluted vinegar onto the rust spots (let it sit for about 10 minutes)
  • Scrub with a 000 steel wool
  • Repeat the process as needed.
  • Seal with car wax.

The results using both the methods above can be seen here.


Before shot.jpg


After cleaning.jpg

This method cost a little but is my absolute favorite cause it's an all in one remover of rust cleaner and wax:

Material needed:

  • Quick-glo chrome rust remover (found at amazon and other stores)
  • Microfiber cloth

This product includes everything you need to remove rust and protect so the rust takes longer to come back. And it gives that chrome that mirror shine.


  • Apply maybe a dime size of quick-glo onto your cloth and slowly rub it in
  • Continue doing this may take a few times to get results you want
  • clean with a clean microfiber cloth


Chrome before.jpg


After Chrome.jpg

And another piece same method


Before Chrome motobecane toolbox.jpg


After Chrome restored.jpg

The last method is only on bad pieces that the above methods won't work on and requires a bit more work but can have awesome results if you have an airbrush available:

Materials needed:

  • Air Brush
  • Rust-Oleum Gray 2-in-1 Filler & Sandable Primer (If pitting is visible)
  • Rust-Oleum Black or white primer (Depends on it you want a darker chrome or brighter)
  • 120 grit and 320 grit sand paper
  • Spaz Stix Mirror chrome (Available at amazon and craft store)

This is for parts that are not moving, such as sides or handle bars not for use on forks that can have friction on them. And only for areas really badly chewed up that none of the methods above handled to your liking.


  • Sand with 120 grit to get the remaining rust off
  • Then wipe clean and let dry
  • Once dry hit with the 2-in1 filler and sandable primer. This will fill in your rust pits, wait 24 hours
  • Once dry wet sand with 320 sand paper till smooth to the touch with no noticeable flaws
  • Hit with two coats of either black (Darker chrome) or white (Bright chrome) primer depending on desired look, I like rust-oleum but most should work follow instructions on can.
  • Once dry see if you see any issue that need to addressed, if it still looks good load up your air brush after one more sanding of 320 to help the paint stick
  • Spray in thin layers the Spax Stix mirror chrome it drys fast with each layer.
  • First two layers very light 3rd layer a little thicker till fully covered
  • Wait till dry and
  • Polish with microfiber


Old rusted chrome around headlight.jpg


Repainted chrome headlight.jpg

The last is similar to the process above but is silly how much it cost:

Basically take the process above but instead use Alumaluster (120 dollars for 8oz...) it's good and the results can be seen all over the web but it's just crazy costly I would rather redo something with Spax Stix and save the cash but to each is his own I thought I would include it.


Some other options from Moped Army users.

Also for Aluminum see