Examine the rust damage and consider the value of the item. If it is vintage or collectible furniture, look into getting expert assistance. Any attempt at amateur cleaning can destroy the resale value of a collectible item. Light rust will show the most improvement. Use bright light, and touch the areas with the worst rust. An uneven, pitted surface indicates corrosion, and bits of silver coming off on your skin shows the chrome has deteriorated.
Clean the rusted areas with mild soap and water such as dish soap, if there's a lot of soiling or rust, to get a better look at the damage. Use a soft rag, and rinse and dry the chrome carefully. If there's corrosion or pitting of the surface, no amount of rust removal will restore the chrome. Dale Dorman, Extension Housing Specialist at the University of Georgia, advises rubbing the rusted chrome gently with whiting, available from hardware stores.
Use rust remover according to product directions. Rub the rusted areas gently in a circular motion with a soft rag (such as a T-shirt or microfiber cloth) to remove as much rust as possible. Use fine steel wool with light pressure to get as much rust off as you can. Too much pressure will scratch the chrome. Use a clean damp cloth to remove the rust and polish residue. Examine the results. If the rust removal is satisfactory, apply chrome polish and buff to restore shiny finish. Remove any excess polish with a soft cloth. If corrosion or bits of rust remain, consider giving the chrome furniture a touchup with silver paint. Use a fine paint brush to carefully apply silver paint. Allow paint to dry thoroughly.
To protect the chrome use a clean soft cloth to apply a light coating of mineral oil to all of the chrome areas. This will increase the shine and protect the chrome from moisture damage and further rust. For best results, reapply mineral oil every two months or more often in humid conditions.