How to remove rust from a chrome towel rail/radiator

How to remove rust from a chrome towel rail/radiator


The chrome plating not only provides a sleek finish, but also serves as a hardwearing protective layer that prevents the body of the towel rail/radiator from rusting.

Unfortunately, over time, rust and corrosion can still occur. Building up on the surface and dulling the original finish. This is a common issue that can be caused by a number of factors.

  • If the chrome plating becomes damaged / scratched then the steel underneath will become exposed, causing a chemical reaction between oxygen and the moisture in the air.
  • During the summer months, it is unlikely our heating will be switched on. Because of this your chrome towel rail/radiator will be cool to the touch, and the warm moist air will condense on the surface. The droplets of water then run down the towel rail, gradually causing the metal to rust.
  • Issues can also occur due to sludge in the heating system. This can also lead to corrosion and create small holes in the towel rail which lead to leaks and later cause rust.
  • Another common reason rust can occur, is if people place wet clothes/towels on their radiator/towel rails. Over time, by doing so it will eventually cause moisture to compromise the finish and lead to rust.
  • The best thing you can do as a preventative measure is regularly clean and maintain the product, which will minimise the chances of rust occurring.

For removing rust, you will need the below:

– Soap / mild washing up detergent

– White vinegar

– An old manual toothbrush (Soft bristle)

– 2 x Microfibre cloths

– Tinfoil

Step 1: Ensure all heating has been turned off for at least 20 mins. Radiator must be cool before starting any work.

Step 2: Wipe down the entire radiator with a bowl of soapy water and a microfibre cloth. Fully clean the whole surface area of the rad, this will remove bacteria left by wet towels whilst also highlighting any rusted areas you couldn’t previously see. Once the radiator has been thoroughly cleaned, wipe it over again with fresh water to prevent any soap marks or streaks. We would recommend cleaning like this at least once a week to keep the product clean and maintain its finish.

Step 3: Now to remove the rust. Mix an equal amount water and white vinegar in a bowl.
Lemon juice can also be added if you find the scent of the white vinegar too overpowering.

Put a clean microfibre cloth into the solution, apply a small amount of pressure and wipe down the towel rail/radiator. To effectively clean the corners of your towel rail, use a soft bristled toothbrush with the solution already prepared to get to the hard to reach areas. Finally it can also help as an extra measure to put a small amount of baking soda on the rusty areas, leave for a few minutes then wipe away with a damp clean cloth.

Step 4 

Only required if step 3 was unsuccessful For particularly stubborn patches of rust, aluminium kitchen foil can be the perfect thing to use. This is because it will remove the rust without damaging the radiator, as opposed to using a material like steel wool which would. It also seals the chrome to protect the radiator from rusting in the future.

For best results, roll the foil into loose balls, place them in a bowl of clean water before using them to clean the rusted area. This process causes a chemical reaction between the water and the metals resulting in Aluminium Oxide, which will dissolve the rust. If still not successful, complete the same process again but instead dip the tinfoil into cola rather than water.

Step 5: Clean/Rinse off the radiator – Using a clean sponge and clean water, rinse off the radiator removing any excess marks/rust. Now dry the radiator thoroughly with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. It is worth taking the time to do this properly to avoid getting water spots and streaks.

Step 6: Finally, to get the best finish possible buff the chrome surface in a circular motion using a dry, clean microfibre cloth.

What if I have followed all of the steps and still cannot remove the rust?

Unfortunately, if rust has been present on the towel rail/radiator for a long period then it may not be possible to remove it. If you find this is the case, have a look here at our wide range of towel rails/designer radiators