Cleaning your motorcycle’s chrome pipes

chrome pipes

Despite repeatedly telling your pillion not to put their boots on your nice, clean, chrome pipes, do they listen? 

The resulting mark burns in and looks disgusting, spoiling your beautiful bike which you spent ages cleaning.

And then there’s that errant plastic bag that is floating around on the highway.

You try to dodge it safely and you seem to be out of harm’s way, but at the last second, it blows straight into your bike and hits the headers where it melts into a gooey mess.
Chrome pipesHowever, it’s not the end of the world. Surprisingly, it can all be removed safely by scrubbing it with a fine-grade steel wool.

You can pick up the steel wool from any hardware store. Get the super fine grade.

In Australia, New Zealand and Europe, steel wool is graded by number up to coarse grades of 6. Try to get the finest grade which is 0000, but anything close will be ok.IMG_7880

I’ve also tried fine-grain sandpaper, but it doesn’t seem to be as effective, probably because you can’t get a grain as fine as steel wool.

Obviously, let the pipe cool first and give it a wash to remove any other easily removable grime.

If you’re worried about it scratching your pipe, try an area underneath where no one can see.

This will only work on genuine chrome pipes.

You will notice it leaves no scratches and, in fact, shines the chrome nicely.Chrome pipes

Simply start rubbing on the marked area and keep rubbing until it’s gone.

It will also remove normal road grime, bugs, etc.

You should find it so effective, it will be the final stage of your bike-cleaning program as it will also remove water marks and give the chrome a lustrous shine.

It will also work on other chromed areas of your bike, but be careful as some chrome is simply painted over plastic.

Remember, it will only work on genuine chrome.

I’ve also used it with some reasonable results on some steel and aluminium, but be very careful as it can leave rub marks. Always test an unseen area first.


  1. NOOOOOOOO – Don’t use steel wool, it’ll scratch most chrome and bugger your pipes worse than ever!
    Warm up the pipes to soften the rubber,

  2. Far safer on chrome or stainless steel is aluminium foil – because it is a softer metal. Just scrunching up a smallish piece of foil (paperback size) will make a wad of foil that can take the shape of the article being cleaned. It can also be formed into a point to get into crevices. It’s brilliant (pardon the pun) at removing surface rust, before applying metal polish.

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