How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink
Once you know how to clean a stainless steel sink, you'll wonder why you didn't replace your ceramic sink earlier.
A stainless steel sink is very durable. It resists scratches, most types of stains and almost all other food preparation and dishwashing issues that make other sinks so difficult to clean.
Things You Should Know Before Cleaning A Stainless Steel Sink:
- Abrasive Cleaners: Stainless steel is polished and will scratch if cleaned with gritty or abrasive cleaning products such as comet or ajax. The scratches are permanent.
- Steel Wool or Brushes: As with using abrasive cleaners stainless steel is polished and steel wool or brushes will scratch the surface and do permanent damage to the sink.
- Bleach/Chlorine/Chloride: Household bleach whether straight from the jug or as an ingredient in cleaning products cause a chemical reaction to happen on the stainless steel itself. The bleach causes the steel to oxidize leaving you with a golden or grayish colored stain. And, once again the damage is permanent.
- Always Rinse The Sink Thoroughly: You're ahead of the game if you always rinse the sink completely after cleaning it or using it. Not only will it stop any wayward cleaning chemicals from causing problems, a properly rinsed sink will have less gunk you need to scrub off later.
- Scrub With The Grain, Not Against It: Polished stainless steel has a grain that you can see. It's the direction that the polishing disk was rotating when the sink was being finished at the factory. Always scrub in the same direction as the polishing disk was going (with the grain) rather than against it or even in a haphazard circular motion. Not following the grain (or using harsh abrasives, or steel wool) can result in unsightly scratches on the stainless steel finish.
If your sink is in only need of a light cleaning, fill it with hot water. Add several drops of dishwashing soap (Dawn works great if the sink has grease in it or if you've recently rinsed poultry) while the water is running to build some suds.
If you are going to put your hands in the water, wear gloves to protect them from the hot water.
Once the suds have reached the top of the sink turn the water off and use a soft nylon brush or a pan scrubber to scrub all four sides and the bottom of the sink. When you've done this, let the water drain and rinse it with cool water.
To disinfect, pour distilled white vinegar on a cloth or paper towel and wipe out the sink.
Heavy Duty Cleaning:
If there's food or grease clinging to your sink, sprinkle some baking soda in it and scrub with a wet sponge. Baking soda provides a way to clean a stainless steel sink naturally, it's also a natural deodorizer so the sink will smell fresh when it's done too. Rinse with clean water.
If you have cream of tartar left over from a recent baking extravaganza, you can use it along with hydrogen peroxide to clean your stainless steel sink. Here's how to clean and remove stains with these two natural ingredients:
- Add three parts of cream of tartar to one part hydrogen peroxide.
- Depending on the size of your sink, start with 3 tablespoons cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide.
- Dip a cloth into the solution and rub it around the sink.
- To remove stuck-on food and grease, scrub with the nylon brush or pot scrubber.
Shining and Removing Streaks on Stainless Steel:
If you have a lemon in the refrigerator that's a day or two from being tossed, don't throw it away.
Cut it in half and rub the cut ends on the sink after you've cleaned it. Not only will the lemon make the sink shine, it will add a fresh, clean lemon scent to the kitchen.
You can also keep stainless steel clean and shiny by applying baby oil. Just use a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe down the sink.