The expectation is that the original lustrous finish on beautifully crafted fittings will last at least 20 years. This is essentially true unless the finish meets with some calamity such as an ammonia based or abrasive cleaner or poor air quality. In fact, the fitting should be treated with the same care as one would devote to the finish of a fine piece of furniture or a well-loved car. Improper cleaning can damage the surface of the fitting and careless upkeep is a sure way to allow air, water and harsh chemicals to ravage the plating.
Most water, whether city or well, has some mineral deposits in it such as lime or sulpher. If left on the faucet, the mineral deposit will leave a stain. The best way to eliminate any finish issues is to simply wipe the faucet with a soft, damp cloth immediately after use and then wipe it dry. It is important to note that abrasive cleansers, Windex, ammonia, and acidic agents will degrade a finish and, in most cases, void a warranty.
A good solution for easy maintenance is to rub your new fitting with pure carnauba car wax with no additive cleaning agents and polish with a micro fiber soft cloth. You’ll know that it is time to reapply the wax when the water stops beading on the finish. Simply apply a fresh wax application.
Certain metals require little conservation other than basic wiping and waxing. Chrome is the most durable and easiest to preserve, followed by nickel. Silver, of course, requires the same care that you would give to your flatware. It will tarnish with age, an effect you may or may not like. You can restore silver to its original luster by using a nonabrasive silver polish. In the same way, unlaquered brass and copper will change over time. It is their aged patina or oxidation that makes makes them so beautiful. Certainly, polishing compounds will restore them but it is not necessary. Their mellow, weathered surface defines the curves and details designed into the fitting.
We have discovered that a dishwashing liquid cleans a fitting perfectly especially when you wipe it dry with a multi-purpose cleaning cloth of soft terry. It doesn’t scratch and does not have any harsh chemicals that can damage a finish.