Brodie asked: We are restoring a vintage Fiat, and we have a nickeled radiator. The problem is, it has a lot of green spots on it that are lime in color. Is this from water or oxidation? We could get it re-nickeled, but that would cost a fortune! Is there any simple way to remove these that won’t scratch the finish? Thanks!
Nickel-plated metals can react with chemicals in the environment, and the result might be corrosion, oxide, general build-up or other reactive results. In any case, take the following steps to restore the clean without having to re-nickel the radiator.
You Will Need:
- Warm water
- Dishwashing liquid
- Sponge or scouring pad
- Clean towel
- Fine steel wool #0000
- 3-in-1 Oil
- Paste wax (choose one indicated for high heat or automotive use)
- Clean cotton cloth (for wax application)
Steps to Remove the Stain:
- Make a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid in the bucket.
- Use the sponge or household scouring pad to wash the solution over the nickel, scrubbing as necessary.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Towel dry.
- If stains remain, scrub with steel wool that has been saturated with 3-in-1 oil. Do NOT allow the steel wool to go dry or it will scratch the surface.
- Wipe away any residue with a clean cloth.
- Protect against future damage with paste wax, if desired. Apply with a clean cotton cloth or according to package directions.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Follow all label directions and safety and storage precautions for all cleaning products used.
- Do not use acidic or alkaline solutions on nickel.
- If you think the stains on the nickel are greasy or oily, use mineral spirits to clean them.
- When all else fails, try a home nickel plating bath. Kits are available for a fraction of the cost of a professional job, and the results are well worth the effort.