How to Clean Stainless Steel Sink Stains

A complete guide to help you get back the shine your sink once had. The article will outline how to clean your sink and will show you the best cleaners to use. Please go through each step carefully for the best result.   

Why does a stainless-steel sink require cleaning?

Stainless steel, though “stainless”, needs constant maintenance to remain stain free. Always remember that prevention is better than cure. However, even if neglected overtime, the shine of the sink can still be recovered. Stainless steel is an alloy, meaning it is a mixture of many metals. This mixture includes the metal chromium. Chromium gives the steel its corrosion resistance. The metal forms a protective coating when exposed to air and water. The coating can be washed away pretty easily, but it recovers very quickly. Despite all this, rust may still end up forming, along with other stains from water.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Sink Stains?

Now, let’s tackle the important question about cleaning the sink. We will approach this question in a few different ways. The article will show how to prevent water stains, how to clean stainless steel rust stains, how to polish a stainless-steel sink and how to prevent any problems from ever happening.

How to remove rust from a stainless-steel sink?

Do not worry at the sight of rust formation on your stainless-steel sink. This guide can apply to stainless steel sinks or to cleaning stainless steel appliances in general.

Step 1: Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with two cups of water. This should form a paste.

Step 2: Get a cleaning brush and apply the paste to it. Give the sink a good scrubbing with the brush.

Step 3: Rinse away whatever remains of the paste and all the remnants from the cleaning. Use mild warm water for the rinsing. If all is done accordingly, you should be left with a rust-free sink.

How to remove other stains?

Using Dish Soap and Baking soda: Water stains and simple stains are even easier to tackle. Their formation is very easy to prevent as well.

Step 1: Take liquid dish soap and mix it with baking soda in a 1:1 ratio.

Step 2: Get a nylon scrubber or old toothbrush, for the cleaning.

Step 3: Apply the mixture to the nylon scrubber. Thoroughly scrub the stains off and rinse.

Step 4: These steps can be repeated using lemon juice instead of liquid dish soap.

Using Vinegar: For stronger stains use undiluted vinegar.

Step 1: Get a nylon scrubber or brush and wet it with vinegar.

Step 2: Scrub every inch of the sink.

Step 3: Get a separate dry cloth or paper towel and wipe away any residue.

Using Steam: A lot of harsh stains and residues can be removed with the power of steam or boiling water.

Step 1: Get some water boiling.

Step 2: Once boiled, cover the stained surfaces with a paper towel or piece of cloth.

Step 3: Pour the boiling water over the cloth and allow it to soak up as much of the water as possible.

Step 4: After allowing the towel to heat the stain for about 10 minutes use the towel to wipe the stained area.

Using stainless store-bought stainless-steel cleaners

If you are feeling too lazy to come up with home remedies, you can always go to a store and buy the best stainless-steel cleaner or sink cleaner. More on this later on in the article.

Using glass cleaner

After cleaning, using a glass cleaner to polish your sink will show very promising results.

Remove scratches from stainless steel sink

Removing minor scratches is possible. However, it may be better to leave these scratches alone. They will eventually blend in and will add to the overall aesthetics of your sink.

Consult your instruction manual for your sink to find out what best applies to your sink for removing scratches. Generally, sandpaper or abrasive pads can help even out scratches. Determine the proper grip of abrasive padding required and then rub the scratches along the grain of your sink. Minor scratches should disappear.

How to prevent stains from ever happening?

Here are some measures you should consider taking to avoid damaging your steel sinks altogether.

  • Dry up your sink after each use. This will prevent water spots from forming.
  • Do not leave your cookware in the sink after you are done cleaning them. This can cause damage to both the sink and the cookware.
  • Remove all wet cloths, rags and scrubbers from the sink. I guess the trend here is very clear. Do not let the sink stay wet for prolonged periods of time.
  • Never use steel wool to clean your sink. It may help remove some strong stains, but the scratches it will leave in its trail will not be worth it.
  • Some cleaning products may contain chlorides. These cleaners should never come into contact with your sink. They can have harmful effects on the protective chromium layer and may cause irreparable damage. 

Best cleaner for stainless-steel sink

If you default to using a stainless-steel sink cleaner, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of some of the best cleaners on the market right now:

  1. Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser Powder
  2. 3M 14002 Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish
  3. Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish Trigger Spray
  4. Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser


As long as you follow the instructions to the letter, I am sure you will be left with a spotless sink. With some daily care, you can very easily avoid stains and I am a firm believer of the fact that prevention is better than cure.

Hope this was the last place you needed to stop by, to find your answers. Good luck with your cleaning!

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