Stainless steel, the name interprets as it will be stainless. It means though harder, it may stain at times. Even if it is an expensive stainless steel sink, be prepared to agree that it will get stained at some point.
Stainless steel is more durable and impervious to stains, but it is not immune to scratches or stains once in a while. The best part is these stains are removable using at-home solutions.
If it fails to work, there are great products to restore the beautiful luster of your stainless steel sink.
Table of Contents
What is responsible for causing stains on stainless steel?
Stains on stainless steel sinks are caused by acidic foods, hard water, or chemicals.
Even if you do not pour highly toxic chemicals down the sink, your everyday acidic items in your kitchen can also react to cause stains.
The effect of chromium oxide occurs when it makes contact with oxygen present in the air; it forms an invisibly thin layer of chromium-rich oxide.
It is this layer that offers the ability to resist stains and rust to the stainless steel.
Acidic households, such as vinegar, citrus juices, extracts, and more, also damage the stainless steel sink protective layer, damaging the steel.
Nevertheless, with continuous use and time, it also wears down. So, on seeing your stainless steel sink stains, do not be alarmed; there is always a solution.
Dive in and explore easy ways of removing the chemical stains.
Methods to Remove Chemical Stains from Stainless Steel Sink
Stainless steel responds well to cleaning processes as it is very resilient. Fortunately, there are inexpensive items that assist in eliminating chemical stains from stainless steel sinks.
These are also referred to as house solutions to keep the stainless steel sink sparkling and clean.
These cleaning items are mostly the ones sitting in your house already. Put it to the right use and enjoy a shining sink.
Important Note: Wear your gloves and mask before initiating the process. It keeps you safe from harmful chemical exposure.
Method 1: To remove minor or light chemical stains
This is a less damaging method also known as vapor cleansing or steaming clean-up method.
Things You Need– Paper towel, Kettle, and Spout.
- The first step is to boil water in the kettle.
- Pour the boiling water into the sink.
- Place a paper towel over the sink stain.
- Again pour some boiling water into the towel.
- Wait for 5 to 10 minutes and allow the surface to cool.
- Rub off the stains using a paper towel. You can also use a soft cloth.
Enjoy the new, clean-looking stainless steel sink.
Method 2: To remove moderate chemical stains
Things You Need – Baking soda, liquid dishwasher, paper towel, bowl, nylon scrubber, or an old toothbrush.
- The first step is to take baking soda and mix it with liquid dish soap to make a paste. Take equal portions of both.
Take one tablespoon of baking soda and 2 cups of water.
- Take the old toothbrush and dab the paste on it or dab it on the nylon scrubber.
- Scrub gently along with the stain on the stainless steel sink.
- Rinse the paste using warm water.
- Wipe the stainless steel sink surface using a paper towel.
Baking soda is a silent weapon that assists in cleaning the sink and kitchen cleaning.
The combination of dishwasher liquid and baking soda ensures the best cleaning.
Method 3: To remove tough chemical stains
Using baking soda eliminates mild to moderate stains, but it cannot be suitable for strong chemical stains. The effective method is ammonia and water for tough stains.
Things You Need- Spray bottle, ammonia, bowl, and a cleaning towel.
- As step 1, on the stain, pour some water. You may spout water using a spray bottle over the stain.
- Take ammonia and water in equal portions, mix them and make a paste. It should be a paste that is not too thick or watery to slide off.
- Apply the paste on the stain and leave it for 15 minutes.
- Wipe the stained area using a regular cleaning towel. Clean the area using a wet towel.
Warning- Handling ammonia should be done with care. Never forget to wear a mask and gloves.
Method 4: For hard-to-remove stains
Things You Need – Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, paper towel, or soft towel.
- First, pour undiluted vinegar a small amount on the stained area. Or spray some vinegar on the stains.
- Wait for 10 minutes for the vinegar to work on the stains.
- Using a soft towel, rub the stains.
- Wipe the vinegar off using a dry cleaning towel.
White or Apple cider vinegar and Baking soda are also a great combination to clean the stainless steel sink.
Hard water causes stains overtime on the stainless steel sinks. You can eliminate these stains by merely sprinkling baking soda.
Spray vinegar over the entire sink area. The vinegar with baking soda reacts and dissolves the stains.
Leave it for 15 minutes, and then wipe the sink using an old rag.
Rinse the sink and see how your sink sparkles using this combined solution.
For Extra Sparkle:
- After cleaning, buff the sink.
- Use stainless steel polish or silicone-based spray to give the finish. Use mineral oils such as olive oil or lemon oil, keeping away the store-bought products.
- No matter, what you use, apply the buffing agent to a dry, clean cloth. Wipe it back and forth on the stainless steel sink.
Warning- Do not use solvents in closed spaces or while smoking.
Alternative Methods to Remove Chemical Stains
All the above-said methods do work, but in case they fail to give you results, here are a few alternative methods to use as the best solutions.
- Using vinegar on the strong chemical stain and scrubbing the areas or using baking soda with liquid dish soap and scrubbing gently along the grain eliminates the spots or stains.
You can use silicone-based products or lemon oil to eliminate the stains from your steel sink.
Ensure you buff the spots gently using a clean cloth. Wipe using a clean fabric once the spots are gone.
Another way to deal with chemical stains is to moisten an empty flour sack edge.
Sprinkle powdered cleaner over the stain. Use the sack and, in a circular motion, scrub the stain.
Be gentle while scrubbing. Now damp another edge of the flour sack to wipe it clean.
Avoiding Scratches and Strains
Avoiding scratches and strains is a must, and there are ways to reduce the scratches and stains altogether in stainless steel sinks.
- Keep away from bleach. Never bleach your stainless steel sink. It will stain, and though getting rid of bleach stains is possible, it is best to avoid it by not putting the bleach down in the stainless steel sink.
- Avoid using steel wool. They are abrasive ways of cleaning. Instead, use a microfiber rag or anything softer. It will not scratch your sink. At the same time, make sure you are cleaning and keeping with the grain. You must see the grain closely and follow the same line.
- Limit cleaners as they are abrasive cleaners. It is good to use once in a while, but using it on a regular or daily basis for cleaning is harmful to your steel sink. Instead, lean the steel sink daily using water and mild dish soap.
A Few Things To Avoid
- Do not allow sponges, soap cleaners, dry rags, or towels to dry on the surface of the stainless steel sink. They will dull the sink surface that is beneath and also harbor harmful bacteria.
- Do not leave the cast and steel iron cookware in the stainless steel sink for a long time or hours. The steel and iron, plus the moisture, lead to rust and staining of the surface.
- Do not use the wool pads in steel on the stainless steel sink. It is because the steel wool pads leave iron particles behind, and it may lead to corrosion and rust.
- Do not keep the wet sponges, rubber dish mats, and cleaning pads in your stainless steel sink for a lengthy time. The trapped water causes staining and also discoloration in the areas beneath these items placed in the sink.
- You may use a good-quality scouring pad that is not harsh on the stainless steel sink but is effective. It should be used in the grain direction.
- Rinse regularly the stainless steel sink so that the chlorides present in most cleansers do not affect the stainless steel sink’s natural luster.
- Your stainless sink is for a different purpose. Do not use it as a cutting board. Keep the sharp kitchen instruments and knives away in a dry place. Placing it above the stainless steel sink damages the sink surface.
Prevent Chemical Stains on Stainless Steel Sinks
Prevention is the best solution. It is always best to avoid chemical stains in general.
As the first step, avoid using substances containing bleach or chlorine in and around your stainless steel sink. Bear in mind that most detergents and soaps have chloride as their ingredient.
It means you must rinse your stainless steel sink each time after using them. Besides, also avoid oven cleaner’s exposure to the steel sink.
Avoid using abrasive cleaners, such as wire cleaning brushes or steel wire or wool. There is no need to use harsh items to scrub.
These metal cleaning tools take away the beauty of your steel sink, and if you scrub in the opposite direction of the steel grain, all your effort goes in vain.
The metal cleaning tool will leave metal pieces in the sink behind, and soon you will notice rust signs in your stainless steel sink.
- Regular drying of the sink helps prevent surface rust marks and water stains.
- Ensure to keep your stainless steel sink looking and shining at all times by giving a quick final cleaning after each use. Just clean the residue before the liquids stay on the sink surface for a longer time, or it dries.
- There are compound or blended cleaners available in the market. Yet, it is a must to get information from the suppliers before applying it to your stainless steel sink.
- Do not mix cleaners as they create harmful gases.
- Without fail, wear rubber gloves to safeguard your hands while using cleaners, cleaning supplies, or tools.
Stainless Steel, What is it?
A metal alloy is ordinary steel. The primary component is iron, and it contains 2 percent carbon with few other elements in trace amounts. These are phosphorous, silicon, oxygen, and sulfur.
To create stainless steel, manufacturers include the alloy, a fair amount of chromium ranging around 10 to 30 percent. There is also an addition of other elements, such as manganese and nickel.
This addition is to increase workability and durability. Due to this combination, stainless steel is usually considered non-magnetic.
Chromium combines with oxygen and forms chromium oxide. Basically, chromium is a super-hard metal.
It’s a compound for a continuous and thin layer on the stainless steel surface, and it prevents iron rust or ferric oxide from forming.
In this way, corrosion is also prevented. The layer can be regarded as a self-healing layer that handles the stainless steel sink even if the metal receives a scratch.
Stainless steel sink also receives stains. Stains happen. However, these stains are removable, and you can enjoy the former glory.
Like all other appliances, knowing the methods and steps to keep your stainless steel sink clean is helpful.
Maintaining on a daily basis saves you from exerting a lot later in cleaning and ensuring the sparkle is back.
Rinse your sink after each use; it will eliminate acidity or harsh chemicals from causing stains on the stainless steel sink surface.
Hope the above guidelines help in removing chemical stains from the stainless steel sink. Enjoy the long life and luster of your steel sink as a proud owner.