Cleaning gold plated bathroom fittings

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Cleaning gold plated bathroom fittings

I'm wondering if anyone can help with this.

 

I recently had a new bathroom installed with gold plated fittings (shower, taps etc.). You are not supposed to use standard cleaning products on these as they can damage and strip the gold finish. Instead, you use diluted dishsoap/washing up liquid and you can also buff with a soft dry cloth. I have tried this, my cleaner has tried it, and it does't work.

 

Almost from day one, the shower valves especially were covered in watermarks that won't come off and make them look dirty. I have exactly the same style of shower in another bathroom in chrome, which is years old but never has this problem because it's cleaned with normal bathroom cleaners.

 

I called the manufacter to ask what they would recommend and they said either the diluted dishsoap or diluted white wine vinegar. So, I tried the latter as well. Didn't make any difference. I bought a gold polishing cloth (the kind you use on jewellery). That didn't work. Neither did a microfibre cloth for cleaning chrome.

 

I've heard suggestions to use Brasso or Silvo but the manufacturer said absolutely NOT to use that. In fact, they wouldn't recommend anything other than washing up liquid or dilued vinegar. A lot of the suggestions I've found online are for removing tarnish from gold and that's not the problem.

 

Any suggestions that have been tried and tested? This is the fitting that's showing the water marks the worst and how it looked when new and unused. It does not look like that now!

 

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15 Replies 15
Meet-The0
Level 2
Elizabeth, CO

Hello!  We have well water and deal with those pesky water spots.  I’m going to share what works for us in hopes that it will help you.  This is how I clean so it is my go-to for any bath and tile cleaning that I do. There are 3 baseline products I use for cleaning grime or scum.  1. Oxy Laundry 2. Bar Keepers and 3. Dawn (power foam).  The most gentle and best of these 3 is the Oxy for delicate fixtures and porcelain.  Bar Keepers and Dawn are equal for elbow grease or areas that require more scrubbing but if it is VERY bad you can also use Greased Lightening. Greased Lightening takes off second-hand smoke so keep this in mind IF using this chemical. I highly recommend that you wear GLOVES when you clean with ANY of these chemicals.

Here’s the magic step: You will need 2 other things 1. A sanding sponge at around 180 grit and 2. A microfiber cloth.  The sanding sponge with any of these cleaners will address your water spots (my favorite is the Oxy Laundry).  Once the spots are removed, the microfiber cloth and olive oil (yes olive oil) is the key to keeping the water spots from forming again, and this will help you when cleaning the second and third time. Use your sanding sponge, water and your selected cleaner just like a regular “sponge” when cleaning.  Dry the are to see that the spots are removed.  Once gone, take a paper towel and olive oil and wipe a very thin coat onto your fixture. Use your microfiber cloth to buff the fixture and watch it shine.  The thin oil on the fixture will bead off water and make it easier each time you clean.  I’ve added a photo so you can see the products I’m talking about.  IF you try this and love it, let me know!  I love to know when I help others! Happy cleaning!! -Stacy-A67E809F-3753-46B7-B41B-5143C3B93887.jpegB8016C2E-5333-4C1B-8398-DD7A93EC0939.jpeg

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Meet-The0

 

Thanks for the tips. I'm sure these are really helpful for getting watermarks off a lot of things and the Bar Keeper's Friend powder keeps my white ceramic kitchen sink looking like new. The less abrasive spray or cream versions are really good for removing watermarks from shower glass and limescale from chrome fittings.

 

However, this post is about cleaning real gold plated fixings, which need to be handled with care as gold is a soft metal. You are not supposed to use even regular bathroom cleaners on them, so I'd never dream of attacking them with strong chemicals and a sanding sponge!

Meet-The0
Level 2
Elizabeth, CO

We clean our wedding rings with Oxy and they are 24K and 14K gold! You may be surprised. The olive oil might also work as it is non- corrosive and effective for soil removal. Happy Cleaning!

Cormac0
Level 10
Kraków, Poland

@Huma0

 

Are you sure there actually gold plated as opposed to a gold colour my understanding is real gold does not tarnish.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Cormac0 @Sandra126

 

I have a combination of gold coloured and gold plated fixtures in this bathroom. It is the gold plated ones that are an issue.

 

Just to clarify, they are not tarnished at all. The problem is water marks, which are very visible, especially on the flate plates of the shower valves. These will not come off using the gentle methods recommended for gold (diluted dishsoap or white vinegar, microfibre cloth etc.) and I have been advised against using anything stronger, including the regular bathroom cleaners that are fine for chrome fixtures.

Sandra126
Level 10
Daylesford, Australia

Pure gold doesn't tarnish, but that is not the case with tapware.  Not pure gold. Usually electroplated with 9 carat and up.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

So I tried @Sarah977's suggestion and let the vinegar solution soak for a whle (about an hour). I thinkk it  id make a slight difference, but there are still a lot of watermarks, so I'm soing to perservere and see if repeated applicatios will do the trick.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Huma0  Oh, too bad it didn't work like magic 😞  Seems like it's going to be a big hassle for you to keep them looking non-water-spotted.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Yes, I think so! The manufacturer recommends that you dry and buff the fittings with a soft cloth after each use. I guess I could get used to that if it was my private bathroom, but which guest is going to do that?!

Sandra126
Level 10
Daylesford, Australia

@Huma0, I put some in the bathroom of my first house (got a super bargain, but paid for it later when the plumber installed them as the 1/4 turn taps were extra tricky to put in). This was 28 years ago. I sold the house three years later (no wear to the taps) and I saw the for sale ad a couple of years ago as it was again changing hands, and the bathroom is virtually identical, taps still there so they have hung on to their plating just fine. Why you have had this problem so soon is a mystery to me and I would definitely go to the manufacturers about it again. If you try unrecommended things which make it worse they have an out, get them to fix it. Very expensive fittings usually!

Would the cleaner accidentally have used a spray cleaner near them for the tiles, maybe? I can't think of why they would be this bad. I just used to wipe mine. My next house was steel all the way 🙂

If you can't solve it with the manufacturer's blessing, you have two options: change taps again (gulp) or live with an increased tarnish and watermarked look.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Hi Sandra, there is no damage to the plating and no tarnishing at all, so nothing that I could justify returning the fittings for. Besides, to replace them now would mean causing a lot of damage to a very expensive new bathroom.

 

The problem is simply that there are watermarks that won't budge, especially on the flat plates on the shower valves. I have never used, nor let my cleaner use, any regular cleaning products on them, only the recommended soapy water and a soft microfibre cloth, but neither get the watermarks off at all. They don't look old. They just don't look clean!

 

I'll see if @Sarah977's suggestion of leting them soak in the vinegar for a while works and report back!

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Thanks @Emiel1 and @Sarah977.

 

Wiping with the vinegar solution did not work, but I will try the soaking technique (I did ask the manufacturer if I needed to leave it on for a while and they said no). It's going to be tricky though. It should be easy enough to do on the taps but the plates on the shower valves (as shown in the photo above) are flush to the wall. I am sure I can find a way to get a cloth to stay on them though.

Camilla286
Level 1
Gold Coast, Australia

Try saturating kitchen roll or toilet paper with vinegar and leave on the surface for a good few hours or overnight. Once you’ve applied it, stick some cling wrap (I believe it’s called Ceran/Seran??? Wrap in the US?) over the top. If you need to, use masking tape to stick the edges if the plastic wrap to the surrounding tile. Respray with vinegar to keep it wet if need be but the plastic wrap should mostly stop it from evaporating. This way you’re able yo have the vinegar in contact for an extended period. 

I saw this same technique recommended for hard water stains that were very stubborn on shower screen glass. 

I actually have a similar issue, mine is brushed gold though not gold plated. 

Good luck! 

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Huma0  Well, if it was me, I'd tell the manufacturer that since their cleaning instructions don't work, you want a refund on the parts and labor to install. 

But seeing as how that could easily prove to be an exercise in frustration, if it's hard water marks, I think you might try soaking a cloth in vinegar and wrapping it around the taps and letting it sit for awhile. I have to soak my shower heads every few months in vinegar, as we have really hard water- the minerals plug up the holes. They actually have to sit in the vinegar for a couple of hours for it to work.

Emiel1
Level 10
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

@Huma0

So what what we learn here is: installing gold plated bathroom fittings is not a good idea.

If the residue is calcium (limescale), vinegar will remove it. Brasso etc are polishing products, it will ruin the stuff.

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