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Updated June 14, 2022
Stainless steel sinks are a practical and aesthetic addition to kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms everywhere. The reflective and shimmering stainless steel adds a layer of modern farmhouse sophistication to kitchens and bathrooms, but that same reflective material also spots easily and can be challenging to polish and clean. Like any kitchen appliance, the constant exposure to dishes, moisture, mildew, and food or mineral deposits can leave permanent scratches, scuffs, grime and gunk stains that feel next to impossible to get rid of. Now for the million dollar question, What’s the best way to clean a stainless steel sink?
We’re Here To Help You!
We have researched and experimented with a number of different cleaning methods and put together this extensive guide, providing you with the best methods for heavy-duty cleaning, general cleaning, and protection for your stainless steel sink.
- Bar Keeper’s Friend (View On Amazon)
- Sponge/ ScotchBrite Scouring Pad
Your sink likely gets used almost every single day and as a result accumulates a lot of grime, dirt, and other build up. Experts advise that after each use it’s a good idea to rinse it with hot water to get rid of excess food or liquid debris. Most soaps or detergents that are used include chlorides, which isn’t good for your stainless steel, so make sure to rinse it all down the sink as quickly as you can.
Regular routine cleanings for your stainless steel sink helps keep your sink in top shape with minimal maintenance. Your routine cleaning should involve a daily cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend. A simple but powerful powder that’s perfect for stainless steel surfaces, Bar Keeper’s Friend combines well with water to create a thick scouring paste that can remove all kinds of dirt, grime, and stains in just a few minutes!
Spread the powder evenly over the entire stainless steel surface and mist with hot water to form a paste. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a sponge/scouring pad and hot water.
You can also use any other stainless steel friendly cleaner like Bon-Ami or Weiman’s Stainless Steel Sink to scrub it out every few days. Simply apply the liquid or powder cleanser over your entire stainless steel sink and let rest. Make sure to apply it to your faucet and handles too, as well as areas inside the lip of the sink or places you wouldn’t normally think to clean. Again, let sit and then wipe dry with warm water.
Scrubbing Out Dirt, Scum, and Mineral Stains
When you’re cleaning out your sink, you might notice particularly challenging smudges or scratches that just feel impossible to remove. Scrubbing out particularly challenging dirt and food grime, remaining scum, or other mineral stains is simple in stainless steel sinks as long as you have the right tools to get the job done.
Apply a scouring paste or stainless steel solution such as CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner to your entire sink and reach for a sponge. Always scrub in the same direction that you plan to polish so any tracks you do leave behind will blend in with the surface and finish of your sink. Apply pressure and rinse with hot water to wash out your paste.
One thing you should never do is use steel wool or carbon steel brushes on any stainless steel surface. The steel wool and brushes will leave grooves, scratches, and other scrapes that are impossible to repair. No amount of polish or scrubbing can repair scratches once they’re there, so stay away from metal tools of any kind and stick to soft sponges or brushes.
It’s also important to remember not to leave any rags sitting to dry inside your sink. As tempting as it may be to just drape your washrag over the middle of your sink or leave a sponge in the bottom for the next time you use it, the remnants of oily or greasy fabric can cause stains or damage to the surface of your sink. Those stains are almost impossible to remove, so save yourself the trouble and stress of trying to scour them out by not letting them sit to begin with.
Polishing Your Stainless Steel Sink
- Microfiber Cloth
- Club Soda
- Virgin Olive Oil
- Cerama Bryte polish
Once your stainless steel sink has been cleaned out, you may wonder how you can return that metal to the sparkling and shining polished look it had when it was first installed. There are a few different natural solutions to try to return your stainless steel sink to fresh polished look as well as a good commercial product recommendation. Begin by plugging your sink and filling the bottom with club soda. Take a soft microfiber cloth and rub the club soda around the entire stainless steel surface to polish, then drain the soda and dry with a dry cloth to prevent water stains and rust.
You can also apply some olive oil to a microfiber cloth for a similarly powerful all-natural polish. Drop some virgin olive oil onto a fine cloth and use it to polish your entire stainless steel surface to add an extra shine to your sink and fixture.
For tough scratches that just don’t seem to come out, Cerama Bryte polish is the perfect commercial stainless steel polisher that removes all kinds of dirt, grime, and gunk and leaves behind a sparkling finish.
All Natural Cleaning Scrub
- Baking Soda
- White Distilled Vinegar
- Sponge/ScothBrite Scouring Pad
- Olive Oil
If you’re hesitant to commit to commercial stainless steel cleaners, you’ll be happy to know you can whip up your own scouring scrub in just a few minutes with ingredients you can find in your very own home!
Mix baking soda and vinegar together until it forms a paste, then coat your entire surface in the paste. Allow it to sit for half an hour before scrubbing clean with a sponge, scrubbing in the same direction and rinsing clean with warm water. Finish with an olive oil polish for shiny and natural results!
Stainless steel remains a staple of home design, and this versatile surface makes a great material for sinks. Durable, heavy-duty, and long-lasting, stainless steel makes a great sink last a long time and provides a shining and reflective finish that’s a statement in any kitchen. Polish your sink to perfection and keep it in top-shape for many years with these expert cleaning tricks!
Thank you for the cleaning and polishing tips but my problem is stains from drain cleaner usage. I have a heck of a time trying to get them out. I’m afraid I’m SOL and have to buy another sink & they are not cheap by no means!!! Please let me know if there is something I can do to make it look a little better.
Hi, Thank you for reaching out! It’s always best to use gentle/homemade drain cleaners to avoid these stains in first place. Baking soda and dish soap might help you get rid of your stains. Mix them together to form a thick paste, dab it onto a sponge or toothbrush and gently scrub along the grain of the sink. Then, rinse with warm water to remove the paste.
We hope you find this helpful!