Learn the proper ways to clean stainless steel sinks and care for your fixtures. The timeless beauty and durability of stainless steel makes it a popular choice for kitchen sinks, and getting them clean is fairly easy. Keep your stainless steel sink looking beautiful for many years to come by adding a special cleaning session to your weekly list of cleaning chores.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks
Stainless steel is made from a mixture of iron and chromium. It resists corrosion and rust but is not impervious to either.
For everyday cleaning of stainless steel sinks, use a soft washcloth and warm water. Wipe the sink in the direction of the polish marks or the fine lines in the sink. Use another soft, dry towel such as a dishcloth to dry the surface of the sink. You can let stainless steel sinks air dry, but they can spot and streak. To get that perfect mirror-like finish, dry off any areas that you've cleaned.
To remove grease and grime, there are several inexpensive methods to clean stainless steel sinks. Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner, and can be used on everything from floors to sinks. White vinegar can be used to gently and effectively clean stainless steel. Moisten a soft cloth and pour vinegar onto the cloth. Then clean and polish the dirty spot, rubbing in the direction of the polish lines. Rinse with warm water and dry. You can also use regular dish washing liquid to wash away dirt, grease and food stains.
One of the biggest complaints from homeowners who've chosen stainless steel sinks and appliances are fingerprint marks. Stainless steel seems to attract and display fingerprints more readily than almost any other surface. To clean away fingerprints, simply keep a bottle of glass cleaner and paper towels or a soft cloth or rag handy. Spray, wipe and the stainless steel surface will be sparkling clean in no time at all.
If wine, paint or some other substance has stained your stainless steel sink, or time has dulled the finish, commercial polishers can help. Read the labels carefully and only use polishers specially designed for stainless steel.
Rust spots can be cleaned from stainless steel sinks by creating a mixture of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Mix about a tablespoon of cream of tartar with a few drops of lemon juice to create a paste. Smooth it on the rust spot and rub it in vigorously. Rinse and dry with a soft towel. If the rust spot doesn't come out right away, try leaving the paste on for up to an hour. You may wish to do a test spot before using it on noticeable surfaces to make sure it doesn't affect your particular sink.
Cautions When Cleaning Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is durable, but there are a few cautions when cleaning stainless steel.
- Never use cleaners that contain chlorine! Chlorine can seriously damage stainless steel, so avoid contact between bleach and chlorine-based cleansers and the sink.
- Avoid steel wool and scrub brushes. These can seriously damage the beautiful shiny finish and leave scratches and marks on the metal. Always use a soft cloth to clean stainless steel.
- Before rushing out to buy special cleansers, try simple cleansers like dish soap and vinegar. If you see a lot of spots on the sink after cleaning it, try rinsing again. The spots may simply be water marks or bits of dirt residue. Stains from hard water or minerals in your water supply may not respond to plain soap or vinegar.
- Never leave wet sponges or other objects on the edge of the sink. Use a container, cup or plate so that the wet material isn't resting on the steel. Although stainless steel is durable and resists rusting, it isn't totally impervious to prolonged exposure to water, and rust stains can develop.