Hard chrome is a type of plating primarily used in industrial applications to protect metal object against wear and corrosion. It also gives the metal objects better aesthetics. But in order for chrome to provide these benefits, it must be properly maintained.
Maintaining hard chrome requires regular cleaning. Chrome provides good protection against corrosion due to the chromium oxide that forms on the surface. The oxide creates a barrier that prevents further oxidation from occurring. Dirt buildup on the chrome surface can prevent the oxide from completely covering the surface. It also has the tendency to absorb moisture from the air and effectively delivering it to areas of the chrome that is not protected by the oxide. Regular cleaning helps prevent such problem.
A lubricating oil can be used to clean the chrome surface. Like most lubrication products, oil is attracted to metal. As the oil moves toward the metal surface, penetrates into the dirt buildup and loosens it. The loosened dirt can then be easily removed by wiping or brushing.
Be careful when cleaning chrome. Some cleaning agents are too aggressive and strips off the protective oxide on top of the chrome. Regular use of these cleaning agents can cause the chrome plating to thin out.
Lubricating oil can also be used to protect chrome from scratches. By increasing the lubricity of the chrome surface, hard objects that come in contact with it will slide on top of the chrome instead of digging into the plating and chipping or scratching it.