How to Keep Brushed Nickel Faucets From Spotting

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While brushed nickel faucets may have the charm of antique faucets, they’re as functional as any modern faucets. Although aesthetically pleasing and generally easy to maintain, they do require regular cleaning and wiping to keep them from spotting. With just a bit of elbow grease they’ll stay nice and spotless for years to come.

Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about how to keep your brushed nickel faucets from spotting. Wiping water stains off after use is actually the best measure against spots, and for hard-water stains we recommend a solution of half vinegar and half water. Rinse well and wipe with a dry microfiber cloth, and it will be squeaky clean.

What are brushed nickel faucets?

Brushed nickel faucets are widely used for rooms with a warm/bright color scheme, and go well with traditional, Tuscan, and country-style homes. They’re priced within the mid-range, generally cheaper than stainless steel but a little more expensive than chrome.

Brushed nickel faucet with the water running into a white sink
Image credit: Parlos

As the name suggests, brushed nickel has a special finish that gives it a more characteristic look. It has been finished with a wire brush or by etching it, which ultimately gives it a warmer tone.

Aside from being used for faucets, brushed nickel is also a popular finish used for bathroom fittings, lighting fixtures, door handles/knobs, house numbers, and more.

The most important feature of brushed nickel is its ability to hide fingerprints and different grime, but it requires regular cleaning as well as polishing to keep it nice and shiny.

See examples of brushed nickel faucets on Amazon

How to keep brushed nickel faucets spotless

Keeping brushed nickel faucets from spotting is easy, if you remember to follow a specific cleaning routine. Below is the best way to keep your faucets nice and spotless.

#1 Wipe faucets dry after use

The key to keeping your brushed nickel faucets spotless, is to wipe them dry immediately after use.

We recommend having a soft rag or chamois cloth nearby at all times, so you can easily wipe it dry once you’ve done the dishes.

This is especially important if you’re in an area with hard water, as calcium deposits would otherwise quickly form on the surface.

#2 Use a mild solution for hard water stains

Once in a while we recommend mixing a solution of half vinegar and half water, soak a soft rag in it and wipe off the brushed nickel faucet. The mildly acidic solution will easily remove any calcium deposits, and if done frequently you don’t have to apply too much elbow grease.

This solution works well for 1-2 hours of soaking too, and this is done easily by wrapping the faucet in a rag or paper towels that have been soaked in the water/vinegar solution.

Remember to rinse off the solution thoroughly afterwards, to ensure that no acidic substance is left on the faucet.

#3 Clean twice a week

Cleaning the brushed nickel faucet from top to bottom once or twice a week is important too, and this is where you want to get into every little crevice and opening to ensure no calcium deposits start building up anywhere.

For this purpose we recommend using a hard-surface cleaning spray, which is easily applied to any part of the faucet.

After washing the brushed nickel faucet, use a soft rag or chamois cloth to wipe it completely dry. By rubbing the cloth quickly back and forth, the nickel is buffed to a nice shine. You don’t have to do this, but it’s a nice touch if you want your faucets to appear nice and sparkly.

#4 Apply a wax coating once every month

For additional protection and extra shine, we recommend coating your brushed nickel faucets with a layer of paste wax. Once a month will suffice, and it isn’t required unless you want the brushed nickel finish to appear extra shiny all the time.

If you live in an area with hard waters, we recommend this treatment in order to protect the faucets against calcium buildup.

You can get paste wax on Amazon or most local hardware stores, and it’s quite affordable and easy to apply.

Simply use a soft dry cloth to spread the wax, and work it over the surface in small circles. After covering the faucet, use a clean soft cloth and rub it until it gets as shiny as new.

#5 Consider a water softener system

If you have hard water, you may want to consider getting a water softener system. According to Fresh Water Systems, a water softener system removes minerals that would otherwise create hard water, which is a big problem for homeowners.

Hard water destroys your appliances over time, allows calcium to build up on any surfaces exposed to it, and it dries out your hair and skin too.

More than 80% of the United States rely on hard water from their taps, and therefore a lot of people could actually benefit from a water softener system.

Fleck 5600SXT water softener system kit for the whole house
The Fleck 5600SXT is a very popular water softener system for the whole house. You can get it on Amazon.

You can get water softener systems on Amazon, or in specialized stores in your local area. They are a bit expensive, but most people agree that it’s a great investment.

Avoid harsh cleaning solutions

A brushed nickel finish could be ruined if treated with harsh cleaning solutions. Make sure you avoid any alcohol, ammonia, bleach, and abrasive solutions entirely. Otherwise you may end up damaging the surface, and you’ll have to accept the fact that your brushed nickel faucets are never going to look good again.

No alcohol, ammonia, or bleach

Cleaning solutions with harsh chemical products such as ammonia, bleach, and alcohol should never be used to clean brushed nickel faucets. They could potentially cause corrosion to the surface, and eventually you may even end up damaging the faucets.

For stubborn spots, we recommend using regular dish soap or a hard-surface cleaning spray.

Remember to always rinse the faucet properly, and wipe it dry with a clean cloth afterwards.

No abrasive pads/solutions

Scouring pads and abrasive solutions are extremely harmful to brushed nickel finishes. While they work well on other finishes, they could potentially cause major damage to your brushed nickel faucets.

Because of the well known properties of abrasive materials, your faucets could get massively scratched and damaged if you try your luck with any abrasive pads and/or solutions.

For stubborn spots or stains, we recommend soaking the surface using a wet cloth. It takes a little longer, but in return you keep your faucet nice and shiny.