How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink


Stainless steel is incredibly durable and resilient. It’s resistant to scratches, stains and other daily-use problems that plague other sinks.

A film of chromium makes it resistance to rusting and tarnishing, but the surface of the sink can be damaged by dirt and grime so the stainless steel must be kept clean.

Follow these tips from Mrs. Clean to keep your stainless steel sink shining.

Regular Cleaning:

If your sink needs a light cleaning, start by filling it part way with hot water.

  • Add a squirt or two of liquid dishwashing detergent while the water is running to build a nice soapy froth. Dawn is a good choice if there’s a lot of grease in the sink from greasy pots and pans or from rinsing poultry.
  • Using a kitchen brush made of soft nylon bristles or a pot scrubber, (don’t use a steel wool pad, a Brillo pad, or a scrubber made of copper) scrub the bottom and sides of the sink while the water is sitting in the sink. Don’t fill the sink so full that you can’t move the brush around without spilling water on the floor.
  • Once the sink has been scrubbed, let the water out and rinse.
  • Pour a bit of distilled white vinegar on a paper towel and wipe the sink down to add shine.

Using Abrasives:

Another way to remove food or grease remains after cleaning your pots and pans (maybe this didn’t get rinsed away), sprinkle a little baking soda in the sink and scrub with a paper towel, sponge or damp cloth. You don’t need to open a new box of baking soda. Using some from the open box in the refrigerator will be fine.

While you can choose to use Comet, Ajax or another abrasive cleaner, the baking soda is a more natural alternative. Plus, it will remove odors from the sink and from the drain.

Always scrub in the direction of the grain, not against it to avoid scratching.

Removing Stains:

As far as household cleaning goes, hydrogen peroxide is becoming a popular choice. Not only does it clean and disinfect, it’s an environmentally safe alternative to chlorine bleach. If you have pets or small children, you may want to invest in a bottle. To clean your stainless steel sink with it:

  1. Mix three parts cream of tartar with one part hydrogen peroxide. You don’t need a lot – start with three tablespoons of cream of tartar and one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Dip a soft cloth into the mixture and rub around the sink
  3. For stuck-on food and stubborn grease, use the nylon brush or pot scrubber
  4. Don’t use steel wool, a Brillo pad or a scrubber made of copper

Shining and Removing Streaks from Stainless Steel:

The next time you use a lemon for cooking, save it for cleaning your stainless sink after dinner. Depending on how you’ve used the lemon cut it in half and rub the cut ends around the sink.

Finally, to remove any streaks that remain after cleaning your stainless steel sink, wipe the sink down with club soda or olive oil. Pour a bit of either on a paper towel or cloth and rub over the entire surface.

Keeping Your Stainless Steel Sink Looking It’s Best:

Avoid Coarse or Abrasive Cleaners:

Abrasive cleaners will damage stainless steel by scratching the surface. Matte surface finishes don’t show scratching as easily as highly polished stainless steel does. Test all cleaners in a hidden spot before using. Always scrub with the grain, not against it.

Always Rinse the Sink Clean:

Dirt and grime and residue from cleaning products that are left to sit on stainless steel can cause stains or damage the finish.

Don’t Use Cleaners With Bleach or Chlorine:

Stainless steel and chlorine bleach don’t mix. The ions in the bleach react negatively to the stainless steel. This will cause oxidization and grey or yellow spots will result.

Don’t Use Steel Wool or Steel Bristle Brushes:

Stainless steel has been polished and using steel wool or steel bristle brushes will scratch the finish. Any rust on these cleaning tools can cause rust to form on the surface of the stainless steel sink.


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