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Scripps Howard News Service
Q: I'm trying to get the corrosion off my older bathtub mixing valve and sink faucet. I have tried using strong cleaners, without success. Also, some spots on the handles appear to have a gold color coming through the chrome plating.
No matter how hard I scrub, it does not look clean. Can you please help? What can I try next?
-- Lee, Ohio
A: I'm sorry, Lee, but it sounds as if harsh cleaning over the years might have taken a toll on your faucets -- or if they're really old, the finish might just be wearing off.
Either way, to solve this problem you may need to find new handles that match your present fixtures, or you can change out the entire faucet and/or tub valve to start new.
The good news is that today's faucet finishes are very durable. But you should always clean them with care. Use non-abrasive mild cleaners, rinse them thoroughly with a soft damp cloth and blot them dry. Keeping the faucet as dry as possible is important, especially if you have hard water.
Finally, only clean the faucet if it is dirty. Constantly polishing a clean faucet or tub valve might make it sparkle for a while, but sooner or later you may lose your luster!
Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.