I Tried the $12 Old-School Cleaner That’s Been Making Faucets Shine for 70 Years

published Nov 17, 2020
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Woman in  kitchen environment, cleaning a stainless steel faucet, some cleaning supplies in the frame

About a decade ago, in the height of my antique decor obsession, I bought a small metal tray to use as a jewelry holder. Though the stick-on tag on the bottom of the tray reads “tarnish resistant,” it was quite tarnished when I brought it home — but, let’s be honest, back in 2009, that was part of the appeal. So it never occurred to me that, in the year 2020, that jewelry holder could look shiny again. Until, that is, I met Simichrome — a vintage cleaner to pair the vintage piece that adorns my dresser to this day.

A bit of history: Simichrome, a metal polish that’s been around for 70 years, is apparently magical at sprucing up basically any kind of metal, from faucets and fixtures to heirloom silver and, in my case, a cheap metal tray from a Texas antique store. It can also remove rust without leaving scratches or marks, all thanks to a “unique, finely mixed formula.” As powerful as it is, it’s also quite versatile, effective on chrome, aluminum, and even silver. (The only exception I could find is iron.)

Amazon reviewers, including motorcycle owners, antique buffs, and homeowners, rave over Simichrome — the $12 tube of metal polish has more than 2,000 five-star reviews. One customer says it was the only product she could find to remove corrosive marks from her nickel fixtures. “I tried everything to get them clean, but nothing worked. I used this product this morning and they are like new!” Another reviewer says Simichrome restored her crusty old jewelry. “Even with the cheap-silver plated stuff, it got the exposed copper so light and shiny that the wear is hardly noticeable. I got through my jewelry and then went around the house polishing metal fixtures I could find.”

Probably the most common, raved-about use in the Amazon reviews was shining up dull or tarnished metal faucets. While I typically need extra help shining up my fixtures, we had our house cleaned last week, so my faucets are looking shinier than usual. I wanted to try Simichrome on something truly decrepit-looking. I knew I had to order a tube and try it on my dull, tarnished jewelry stand. 

Credit: Ashley Abramson

My first observation: This stuff smells, and I should probably put on a mask? (Honestly, probably a sign that it works.) My second observation: As one Amazon reviewer aptly observed, this stuff eats tarnish for breakfast. Simichrome absolutely does work, and fast. I noticed a major difference in the surface shine of my piece within 30 seconds of trying it.

Credit: Ashley Abramson

Per the package instructions, I simply squirted a bit of the pink paste on the surface of the tray, spread it around gently with a cloth in circular motions (I used a paper towel), and then reveled in the magic of my tray’s new luster. Who knew a 70-year old metal polish would be the hack I needed for my probably 70-year-old decor piece? The answer: 2,500 happy Amazon reviewers knew. I should probably listen to them more often.

Credit: Ashley Abramson

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Old-School $12 Cleaner Has Been Making Faucets Shine for 70 Years—So I Tried It