How to Keep New Taps Shiny

Someone washing tomatoes in a sink with a pull-out stainless steel tap

Kitchen taps are an underappreciated finishing touch to any kitchen. Find the right match for your overall design and the tap will bring the whole look together. Think of a beautiful bronze bridge tap in a rustic country kitchen or a sleek stainless steel pull-out spray in a minimalist modern design.

But finding the perfect tap for your carefully-crafted kitchen is not the end of the story. To make sure it brings its full benefits to your kitchen, it’s important to keep it dirt, spot and scratch-free – and that means regular cleaning.

In this post, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about cleaning your taps. We’ll cover what cleaners you should use on what tap materials, and explore some top tips for bringing out the sparkle in any tap.

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What to Use to Make Taps Shiny

When it comes to keeping the sparkle on your new taps, there are two enemies you need to be prepared for: limescale and ‘black gunk’.

Unfortunately, both of these build-ups are incredibly common in most kitchens so you are likely to spot them eventually. Much more fortunately, they are both pretty simple to deal with.

How do You Remove Limescale From Taps Naturally?

Unsurprisingly, the heroes of household cleaning, lemon juice and white vinegar are up to the job of tackling tough limescale build-up. Both these kitchen staples are mild, natural acids, meaning they can easily eat their way through limescale – but you do need to use them correctly.

For thick limescale build-up, a simple spritz of lemon or vinegar on to the surface won’t be enough – these thin liquids will slip straight off before they get a chance to show their true strength

To get the best of these natural cleaning solutions, you need to keep them in contact with the tap for some time.

One way to do that with a lemon is to take half of a fresh lemon and place it over the limescale and leave it for a few hours. Another is to soak a clean cloth in either white vinegar or lemon juice and tie it around the build-up. Either way, this ensures there is prolonged contact between the tap and acid so it can break it down completely.

Once your acid is removed, take a toothbrush and gently scrub away any remaining limescale – it should come away easily to leave your taps sparkling clean.

If you prefer all-natural alternatives to harsh chemical cleaning solutions across your whole home, take a look at our guide to eco-friendly cleaning options for more ideas.

Why is There Black Stuff on My Tap?

Not for the faint of heart, the black slime that appears on some taps is usually a build-up of bacteria that feeds on the minerals in your tap water. It is as harmless as it is unpleasant, so while you don’t have to get rid of it immediately it’s a good idea to keep it at bay.

However, as it occurs due to your water supply, banishing this black stuff permanently isn’t practical. Regularly wiping your taps down with dish soap or another anti-bacterial cleaner will help keep it at bay.

If you notice more persistent black patches appearing around the base of your taps or any places where water tends to sit for long periods, this is probably black mould and slightly more concerning. The easiest way to deal with it is to prevent it completely by promptly drying off any spills, splashes and pools that appear around your kitchen.

How do I Keep My Chrome Taps Shiny?

Chrome fixtures are a firm favourite around modern kitchens and their shiny reflective surface plays a big part in their appeal. This makes regular cleaning a priority on your to-do list – an everyday wipe-down with a soft cloth and soapy water is not excessive for chrome kitchen taps.

A deep clean once every couple of weeks will also help remove stains and keep them sparkling. Use a soft cloth rather than an abrasive sponge and if you’re scrubbing with an old toothbrush keep it gentle.

What’s the Best Thing to Make Chrome Shine?

While regular cleaning will stop dirt and grime from tarnishing the look of your chrome taps, limescale in your water supply can be too tough for a simple swipe of dish soap to dislodge.

If you want to bring out the beautiful shine of your chrome fixtures, make sure to wipe your taps down with a mix of warm water and white vinegar after cleaning them. This will help remove any water spots or stains and will give your sparkling taps a streak-free finish.

Does Vinegar Damage Chrome?

Only if it’s used incorrectly! If you dilute your white vinegar in a fifty-fifty solution with water, your cleaner will still pack enough of a punch to cut through grime and hard water stains without damaging the chrome surface of the tap.

As we’ve already mentioned, white vinegar is chemically an acid. So if you regularly use it neat on chrome surfaces it will start to eat away at that sleek surface and damage it.

How do You Keep Brass Taps Shiny?

Brass taps make an intriguing change from other finishes like steel or chrome. They work as both rustic and elegant accents in relevant settings and will always add a touch of luxury to your kitchen.

However, these major benefits of brass taps will also mean they will also always draw the eye. This turns keeping them clean into a priority, as you can be sure they grab the attention of anyone who passes them by.

How do You Keep Brass From Tarnishing?

The only way to keep brass of any kind from tarnishing is regular cleaning. Again, a daily wipe down with a clean cloth and soapy water is a good goal – rinse with clean water to prevent any build up then gently buff with a dry microfibre cloth to keep them from tarnishing.

What is a Good Brass Cleaner?

When it comes to brass taps you can technically use any of the cleaning solutions mentioned elsewhere in this article.

Washing-up liquid and water are a gentle mix that will easily be enough to keep your taps in top shape if you’re cleaning on a daily basis.

If you do start to see water marks or hard water stains, or you’re struggling to cut through a build-up of grime on your taps with ordinary soap, you can try diluted white vinegar instead. However, don’t leave anything acidic like vinegar or lemon juice on the surface of your taps for long. They will eat through the thin layer of sealant protecting your taps and leave the brass at risk of tarnishing.

What Can You Put on Brass to Keep it Shiny?

Most brand new brass taps will come with a coat of sealant already applied to their surface. This will offer long-term protection against tarnish but will start to break down during regular cleaning.

Taking care not to rub too hard, using gentle cleaning items and drying your taps on a daily basis will help protect this finish for the longest time possible. But, even under the most gentle hand, the sealant will start to break down eventually.

When this starts to happen, look into adding a new layer of sealant yourself. Without this finish, the brass will be exposed to oxygen and this is what causes long-term tarnish. Rather than trying to fix or even replace that tarnish, it’s a lot easier to maintain that tough sealed surface with a second coat.

How do You Make Stainless Steel Shine?

When it comes to kitchen tap materials, stainless steel is a robust choice. It’s fantastic for busy family kitchens as it is so hardy – it will take a long time to grade and is able to withstand a regular deep clean if it starts to get dirty.

Here are a couple of answers to common questions surrounding cleaning stainless steel.

Can Baking Soda Ruin Stainless Steel?

The durable nature of stainless steel means it is more than up to the ravages of being cleaned using baking soda. Baking soda is a fantastic natural cleaner, tough and able to cut through grime and grease easily.

But this cleaning power does stem from how abrasive it is. This abrasiveness is great for breaking through a stain or watermark, it can scratch softer tap materials like copper, brass or chrome. Stainless steel, however, can easily withstand the stresses of baking soda.

This said, you should still take care to avoid scratching when using any abrasive cleaner. Don’t scrub too hard and wipe your taps down with a dry cloth when they are clean to make sure you get a streak-free finish.

Does Toothpaste Shine Stainless Steel?

As well as baking soda, stainless steel can also withstand the abrasive nature of toothpaste. Believe it or not, toothpaste is also a great way to get your taps sparkling clean, it can remove stains and water spots as well as leave a shiny finish on your taps.

Another way to bring out a spotless shine on stainless steel is by using olive or baby oil. Place a few drops on a soft dry cloth or paper towel, and gently buff the surface of your taps. This will help the surface repel water and keep your kitchen taps shiny and streak-free for longer.

What Should You Not Use on Stainless Steel?

Tough as stainless steel is, it’s not able to withstand anything so you should still take care when cleaning it. Never use steel wool, Brillo pads or anything with an overly abrasive surface. You should also avoid ammonia or other stripping chemicals – though lemon juice and vinegar are still great choices.

How do You Make Copper Super Shiny?

If you want kitchen taps that will always turn heads, copper is an obvious choice. Bright, beautiful and increasingly unusual, copper taps bring their own unique beauty to the look of your kitchen.

Here’s how to take care of them:

How do You Take Care of Copper Taps?

When copper begins to corrode it starts to go black or develop a blue or green ‘patina’. This can be quite beautiful in its own right but is not ideal for functional items like taps. It can even create toxicity if this patina is exposed to acidic liquids.

This means it is important to look after copper taps. If your taps have a sealed finish, then dish soap, hot water and a damp cloth should be all you need to get them clean. As with all other taps, wipe them down regularly and rub them dry to avoid any need for deep cleaning or harsh approaches.

Can You Clean Copper with Toothpaste?

You can use toothpaste to clean copper, and you may find it brings a new sparkle to your old taps. Dab a small amount on the surface of your taps and gently scrub using an old toothbrush to lift grime, grease and water stains off the copper.

Some words of warning though, make sure to use toothpaste, not a gel, as the gel can damage copper.

Take your time to be gentle – believe it or not, toothpaste is quite a strong cleaning agent!

Does Bleach Clean Copper?

As with stainless steel, ammonia and bleach should never be used to clean copper. These strong chemicals will damage the surface of your taps, causing them to dull or even corrode. Stick to gentle cleaners and soft cloths – avoid scrubbing with wire wool or abrasive sponge surfaces too.

How do You Keep Nickel Taps Shiny?

Nickel taps are a cost-effective option that remains a popular choice due to their combination of practical benefits and visual appeal. They can add a bright, contemporary touch to any kitchen if they are looked after correctly.

Let’s look at these a little deeper:

What’s the Difference Between Polished Nickel and Brushed Nickel?

The difference between polished and brushed nickel is basically how shiny and reflective they are. Polished nickel taps have a bright surface that is so shiny it is actually reflective – almost a mirror. Brushed nickel is a lot more dull, with an almost matte finish.

Brushed nickel has a more unusual, minimalist look and it hides scratches and fingerprints a lot more than the shiny surface of polished nickel. It also tends to be a little cheaper and a lot easier to clean as you don’t have to worry about leaving streaks and water spots.

How do You Polish Nickel Taps?

Nickel taps can be cleaned with washing up liquid or white vinegar, whether they are brushed or polished nickel. The key as ever is to be gentle with your cleaning cloth and clean them often enough that you don’t have to get tough.

Can Brushed Nickel be Polished?

After cleaning your brushed nickel taps, it’s still a great idea to polish them. Grab a soft, dry cloth to dry them off then apply a small amount of wax or polish. Gently buff the wax into the surface of the taps to keep them protected against water stains and fingerprints.

How do You Clean Coloured Taps?

Most brightly coloured taps will have a powder coating finish, whether they are black, white or primary coloured. These finishes may look robust but are actually quite delicate. Clean them gently and regularly (like nickel taps) but you will be restricted on what you can use to clean them.

Stick to a soft cloth rather than a toothbrush and never use an abrasive scourer or sponge. Something gentle like warm water and washing up liquid makes a great cleaning solution.

Don’t be tempted to reach for the toothpaste or neat vinegar, citrus or other acids. Bleach is also on the no-go list.

Coloured taps make an unusual and beautiful addition to many kitchens and they can turn a standard kitchen sink into a focal point. Just take care to clean them carefully and you’ll keep them looking their best for the long term.

Looking for New Taps?

Sometimes cleaning isn’t enough. If your old taps are looking tired, covered in scratches and stains that won’t wipe away, our range of replacement taps includes options for every kitchen. From ultra-convenient boiling water taps to super-healthy filtered water taps we’ve got colour and style choices to suit any home.

More Help and Advice About Kitchen Taps