How to clean a stainless steel sink

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How to clean a stainless steel sink to prevent rust and keep your sink looking shiny and sleek.

Stainless steel sinks are very common in households because they are shiny and classy and easy to find and replace. They are also very durable and don’t fade, crack or chip as often as other sink options.

Because stainless steel sinks are so common, the question of how to clean a stainless steel sink is one that comes up often. If you are wondering how to make your stainless steel sink shiny and clean like it was before, follow this how to clean stainless steel sink guide.

Stainless steel needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent corrosion and to look aesthetically pleasing. The cool thing is, you can’t really wear out a stainless steel sink with regular cleaning like other materials in your kitchen. You can keep your stainless steel sink stain-free and clean with these tips.

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Steps To Clean A Stainless Steel Sink

Build-up and food stains can cause your sink to look yucky and grimy. This cleaning guide for cleaning a stainless steel sink should help.

1. Empty The Sink

how to clean a stainless steel sink step 1 - empty the dirty sink

If you can believe it, I cleaned this sink yesterday! This is how dirty it gets, every single day. Crazy right?

Before you can clean your sink, it has to be empty of dirty dishes and any garbage the kids may have put in there. Does that happen to you? I always have garbage in the sink from my smaller children.

2. Rinse The Sink

Once your sink is empty, you should rinse your sink with hot water. If you have a garburator or an in-sink dispenser then you should run it for a few minutes to make sure it is not clogged up with old food.

Let the water run for a few minutes to loosen any stuck on food and grime so your cleaning journey will be easier for the next step.

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3. Sprinkle Baking Soda

To clean the sink, coat it with a layer of baking soda. Spread that baking soda ALL OVER. Really cover all the stainless steel with it.

4. Add Dish Soap

Add dish soap

When you have coated your sink with a layer of baking soda, add a few drops of dish soap into the sink. A few drops around the base will do the trick.

5. Scrub A Dub Dub

You’ll want to rub the baking soda and dish soap into the sink to do the cleaning procedure.

Use a cloth or a sponge to rub the baking soda/dish soap into the sink and go along the grain of the steel. Don’t use a steel wool sponge as that can scratch and damage your sink. If you have some crevasses that are tough to reach, try a cleaning toothbrush. A toothbrush works wonders around the drain and the base of the spout. You can wear gloves to prevent your hands from feeling too dry, however, I never really do. It’s usually a good idea to wear gloves when doing any sort of cleaning.

6. Don’t Rinse Yet – Spray Vinegar!

When you have finished scrubbing your sink with your soft cloth, then spray some white vinegar onto the sink and watch the bubbles form. The bubbles help remove the hard watermarks on the stainless steel. I have vinegar in a spray bottle at the ready because I like to clean many things with vinegar, you can do this too. Any old bottle will do, or you can try these glass bottles from Amazon.

Let the vinegar and baking soda sit for 2-5 minutes.

The baking soda is abrasive enough to take away stuck-on grease food and hard water deposits, but it won’t damage the surface of the sink. The Vinegar naturally disinfects while helping the baking soda remove the hard water stains.

7. Rinse

When you have finished scrubbing everything down and watching the vinegar make its bubbles, then it’s time to rinse. If your sink still looks brown, you can repeat the process a few more times until everything is clean and shiny.

8. Dry

When you have rinsed it off the sink and all the remains of the baking soda, soap and vinegar are gone, it’s time to dry. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the sink completely. Don’t forget to dry the spout and the handles too.

You can use any towel for this, but honestly, the microfiber cloths work the best. If you need to, you can use a paper towel, but it’s kind of wasteful so I don’t love this method, but you can do it if you need to.

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9. Buff It Out

If you like to, you can take this optional step to buff out the sink with olive oil.

Take a dry micrfiber cloth and add some olive oil to it, just a few drops. Then buff the sink with the olive oil.

This process helps the sink stay cleaner for longer. You don’t need a lot of olive oil, just a little bit to avoid the sink looking greasy. If you do add too much, wipe it away with a clean towel.

You can wipe the olive oil on the handles and the spout as well to prevent oil from your hands making marks on your newly shined faucet.

You can also try rubbing alcohol to shine and buff up your sink. You can even do a rubbing alcohol coat first, and then buff with olive oil. It’s up to you on how clean you want to get.

If You Still Have A Stain..

If you’ve cleaned your sink and you still see a stain, do this before the buffing process.

Mix 1/4 cup of cream of tar tar with 1 cup of vinegar and rub the mixture with a microfiber cloth. Rub the spot until the stain disappears and then rinse the solution off.

This combo works really well for tough stains, but you don’t have to clean the whole sink with it. The baking soda, vinegar and dish soap combination works really well for an overall clean.

One more thing you can try is DRY MUSTARD. I know it’s a strange one but it really does work. Just sprinkle the dry mustard onto the stain and rub it away with your toothbrush or microfiber cloth. Rinse well.

Once your tough stain is out, continue to buff the sink with olive oil.

Some Things To Avoid When Caring For Stainless Steel

Soaps, sponges and towels can dull the surface of the stainless steel sink when they are left to dry on the sink. This can cause bacteria to grow under the cloths and sponges as well.

Make sure you rinse your sink on a regular basis.

Never use steel wool to clean the sink, and never leave steel wool to dry in the sink which can cause rusting.

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Another thing to note is that cast iron pots and pans can leave surface rust and staining so you should not be leaving your cast iron dishes in the sink for extended periods of time.

Drying your sink can prevent surface rust and marks as well so you should be drying your sink on a daily basis.

To keep your sink looking great, clean it up each time you use it. Don’t let liquids sit in for a long time and food waste should be cleaned up before it has a chance to dry into the sink.

You should be wearing rubber gloves when you work with cleaners to protect your skin on your hands.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Clean Stainless Steel Sink

How do I get my stainless steel sink to shine?

Do a deep clean on your stainless steel sink and follow up the cleaning with a buff with a drop of olive oil. If you have mineral deposits, try leaving a cloth soaked in vinegar over the white spots and leave it for 15 minutes.

What should you not use on stainless steel?

Avoid steel wool and steel brushes as they can cause scratches and staining on your stainless steel sink.

Can you use Bar Keepers Friend on stainless steel sink?

Yes it is safe for stainless steel sinks and it is non abrasive.

Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

If you do not rinse the vinegar off, then yes it can damage the stainless steel. Be sure to rinse off the vinegar after you clean.

Can I use Windex on stainless steel?

Windex has ammonia which should not be used on a stainless steel surface. I would avoid using windex on stainless steel.

Can you use Clorox wipes on stainless steel?

Easy to use disinfecting wipes are safe to use on stainless steel.

Do you need to rinse after Clorox wipes?

If your surface is going to come in contact with food later on, then yes you will need to rinse off the surface. Make sur to leave your surface wet for 4 minutes before washing off the chemicals.

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