Methods are described herein for etching metal films which are difficult to volatize. The methods include exposing a metal film to a chlorine-containing precursor (e.g. Cl2). Chlorine is then removed from the substrate processing region. A carbon-and-nitrogen-containing precursor (e.g. TMEDA) is delivered to the substrate processing region to form volatile metal complexes which desorb from the surface of the metal film. The methods presented remove metal while very slowly removing the other exposed materials. A thin metal oxide layer may be present on the surface of the metal layer, in which case a local plasma from hydrogen may be used to remove the oxygen or amorphize the near surface region, which has been found to increase the overall etch rate.