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Aftercare for Special Finishes

It’s important to carry out the right aftercare for your special finish assets to ensure your products look as great as the day you bought them. This guide explains the properties of different materials used for kitchen and bathroom taps, showers, sinks and accessories, and how to care for them.

Contents:

PVD

Electroplating

Powder Coating

Brushed Brass

Matt Black

Chrome

Stainless Steel

Unlacquered Brass


Cleaning Special Finishes

It's crucially important to avoid steel wool, abrasive brushes and scouring pads on your taps and accessories, as this can damage any finish. Always clean with a soft sponge and use a toothbrush for tougher areas. Stay away from harsh chemical cleaners that contain ingredients such as hydrochloric and sulphuric acid as using these can damage the finish of your products.

PVD

PVD or ‘physical vapour deposition’ is a high density material that produces thin films and coatings. PVD coatings are extremely resistant to corrosion and scratches and boast high temperature resistance, good impact strength, and wonderful abrasion resistance.

More and more manufacturers are using PVD coatings for brushed brass and matt black finishes, as it is a stronger and long-lasting alternative to electroplating and powder coating, and it will not fade over time.

Cleaning a Tap

Electroplating

Electroplating is the process by which a product is coated with a very thin layer of Chromium, or a coloured alternative, using an electrical current. This aids the overall durability of the product, including its resistance to corrosion and general wear and tear.  

Many brands use electroplating to produce a matt black finishes on bathroom tapware, showers, accessories and kitchen tapware.

Powder Coating

Applied as a free-flowing powder, this coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts together, and is cured under heat to form a durable, high-quality skin coating. Powder coatings are durable but not as strong as electroplated or PVD coated products, as it can fade over time.

Cleaning PVD, Electroplated and Powder Coated Products

Even though these are strong materials, especially PVD, it's important to avoid harsh acidic-based chemicals and rough surfaces such as scourers. Instead, use soft cloths and dish soap for daily care, and a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar for tougher stains.


Brushed Brass

Brass is made from a combination of copper and zinc and is known for its hardness and workability. The material itself will not rust as it doesn’t contain iron, however it can react with oxygen which can give it a green patina from the copper oxidisation. This patina can easily be removed by cleaning with natural substances such as baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar as this will help to neutralise the product.

Brushed Brass

Matt Black

Matt black taps and showers are becoming increasingly popular in many UK bathrooms; it's a versatile and striking finish that suits many modern bathrooms and kitchens. There are a variety of ways to make matt black, including through electroplating or PVD.

It's important to keep your matt black finishes in good condition, as limescale and grime can be more visible on black surfaces.

How to Clean Brushed Brass and Matt Black

For daily cleaning of your brass and black assets, ensure that you rinse away any traces of soap and dry with a soft cloth. It’s worth having a cloth next to the tap so you don’t forget to do this regularly. Rinse carefully and dry any water marks as this will prevent water damage and maintain the sleek finish.

For limescale and grime, Instead of using harsh chemical cleaners, use a simple 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water instead which is enough to remove stubborn limescale. Always ensure that you use soft cloths on your special finishes as rough surfaces can damage the coating. For a more thorough guide, check out our insightful article on cleaning brushed brass.

Matt Black Tap

Chrome 

Chrome, otherwise known as chromium, is a naturally occurring chemical element that is arguably the most popular finish for bathroom and kitchen assets. Most chrome bathroom and kitchen products are manufactured from cast brass that has been plated with chrome through electroplating. Chrome is a less expensive alternative to stainless steel and it has a more polished finish, however it not as durable and long-lasting against rust. 

How to Clean Chrome

Chrome is a pretty low-maintenance finish to have but mineral deposits can show up on  quite clearly, and it can lose its polished look. To clean chrome, soak a soft sponge in some hot water and rub on the chrome asset in a circular motion, drying thoroughly after to prevent streaks and water marks. Lemon juice or white vinegar can help with brightening your chrome products and removing limescale and rust.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a durable and affordable metal that’s used for many bathroom and kitchen products, especially kitchen sinks, and it has great anti-rust properties. This is a great material for bathroom and kitchen assets as it doesn’t require too much up-keep.

How to Clean Stainless Steel

The best way to clean stainless steel is to use a solution of warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth to wipe around the material. White vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda can also be used sparingly to remove marks and keep the material shiny. Simply make a paste with bicarb and water then rinse with white vinegar until a fizz is formed. To maintain the shine, you can buff stainless steel with olive oil and a lint-free cloth to give an extra shine. 

Stainless Steel Sink

Unlacquered Brass

Once aged, unlacquered brass products have a tarnished ‘living’ finish that is less polished than standard brass or brushed brass. This makes it a great finish for rustic and industrial spaces, and it requires little up-keep as it has a distressed look. This material is manufactured without a coating to expose it to the elements, so cleaning it is slightly different from classic brass.

How to Clean Unlacquered Brass

Some people agree that the best way to clean unlacquered brass is to not! However, if you want to remove limescale and grime from the surface, a soft cloth and dish soap is enough to remove dirt and smudges.


We hope this guide has helped you navigate the best ways to care for your special finish assets. To continue along the same path, take a look at our guide for choosing the best material for your kitchen sink.

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