How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink (11 Methods)

Sinks get filthy, stinky and gross. They're not always easy to clean until now. We put together 11 ways to clean a stainless steel sink - videos and write ups.
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Woman cleaning stainless steel sink

Nowadays, walking into a kitchen or bathroom and failing to lay your eyes on a stainless steel sink is almost impossible. The later is so because the metal’s ability to resist corrosion is outstanding. Unfortunately, most people fail to understand that just because the metal is stainless doesn’t mean it can’t get dirty, meaning regular cleaning is essential. Thankfully, there are many ways to clean stainless steel surfaces, some of them as simple as using warm soap and warm water.

It is, therefore, a good idea for you to learn a few of these cleaning routines so that you can always have sparkling clean sinks at all times. You can also use the same methods when cleaning appliances with stainless steel parts. Such devices may include refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens. Without further ado, here are the different ways you can effectively clean your stainless steel sinks.

Related:  12 eco-friendly stainless steel cleaners & how to clean 10 different types of stainless steel appliances

1.Warm water and lint-free cloth

Using warm water and lint-free cloth is one of the easiest, most convenient ways to clean your stainless steel sink. Ask any health experts, and they’ll tell you that the water + lint-free cloth method is the safest way to clean any surfaces made of stainless steel. First, the water does an incredible job eliminating most of the smudge, most of which is very soluble. Use the lint-free cloth to wipe off the rest of the stubborn stain from your sink, leaving it sparkling clean.

After using warm water to wash out most of the superficial stains and the lint-free cloth to wipe out the rest, you’ll most likely be left with water spots in the sink. Use either a soft, dry towel or a delicate piece of cloth to wipe off the remaining water spots. The reason for wiping off the water spots is because leaving them on the sink may result in staining due to the mineral deposits found in water.

Cleaning experts strongly recommend the use of lint-free cloth or microfiber cleaning cloths for polishing, which is the last part of the warm water + lint-free method. The latter seems to be the case because the goal is to polish without scratching the surface, the one thing microfiber cloth is very good at doing. Make sure you are purchasing unique clothes for washing your sink, which is more delicate than the usual microfiber. It is also important to note that when polishing your stainless steel sink, you’re required to do so while following the direction of the polish lines. That way, you won’t have to worry much about missing out a spot.

2. Normal flour

Unknown to most, regular flour is an excellent cleaner when it comes to stainless steel surfaces. But first, you’ll start by cleaning the sink using warm water and a piece of lint-free cloth. Once all of the unwanted smudges have been taken care of, your next order of business will be drying it appropriately. Again, make sure all of the stain and grease is gone before beginning the drying process.

The last thing you want is the stains drying on the surface as it’ll be quite challenging to remove them in the future. Once the surface of the stainless steel sink has dried up, you’ll take a fist full of flour, gently sprinkling it on top of it. Feel free to use your hands to spread the powder all over the stainless steel surface, making sure you aren’t missing a single spot. To do this right, you’ll have to take your time, checking every time to be sure.

When applying the flour, it is essential to focus mostly on the tips of the stainless steel sink. This is because that’s where you’ll find most of the smudge and grease that’s most likely to be overlooked. Once you’re confident that every spot on the sink has been covered, get your microfiber cloth and start buffing the sink in slow, circular motion. The reason for being lazy and gentle with the buffing is so you can get the job done correctly.

Once you’re done with the buffing, you’ll be required to get rid of the flour from the stainless steel surface. And for that, you’ll use a dump piece of fine microfiber cloth. If you did the buffing job well, the surface of your sink should be sparkling by the time you’re through. And perhaps the best thing about this method is the fact that it won’t cost you a dime!

3. Bon Ami, wax paper, and flour sack

You’ll start by clearing your sink of any remnant food particles before wiping it clean. Then, you’ll find your soft flour sack and soak a small part of it. Gently sprinkle some bon ami over the wetted area of the soft flour sack. Note that the amount of Bon Ami to be sprinkled on the dampened area of the soft flour sack is predetermined by the size of your sink you’re about to clean.

The next step will involve the strategic wiping of the stainless still sink using the dampened side of the soft flour sack. Remember always to rub the surface towards the direction of the grain if your goal is to achieve that natural stainless steel sparkle by the time you’re finally done. After you’re done with the rubbing step, proceed to wipe the surface of the sink using the other part of the soft flour sack.

Once the sink has dried, you’ll be required to rub the stainless steel surface using the wet side of the wax paper. Here, you’ll be required to work quickly so that you can get things done on time. Any laxity will have you start the entire process all over again. If the sink you are working on is huge, then it would be astute to consider working in bits. The purpose of the wax is to prevent fingerprints oils, smudges, grimes, as well as other deep-set strains for the meantime.

4. Commercial cleaners

There are times when the surface of your stainless steel sink will need more than warm water, soap, and a lint-free cloth. The latter is usually the case when the scratches and stubborn stains won’t go away no matter how hard you try to clean them out. That’ll be your cue to start using commercial cleaners. The best thing about using commercial cleaners is that they’ve been developed specifically for this kind of work.

Of course, using these cleaners will cost you a bit more than when you use other methods, most of which require homemade ingredients. Thankfully, these commercial cleaners will do a marvelous job keeping your stainless steel sink scratch free and for a considerably longer time. The same also applies to the removal of stubborn stains as you’ll have an easier go at it. You do not have to worry about the usage as all cleaners all come with full directions included in their respective packages.

Naturally, different cleaners come with different instructions about their application or usage if you may. You might also want to test the cleaner of your choice on a greasy spot on the sink surface before usage. That way, you’ll know exactly how much of it to use by comparing its general effectiveness to the size of the sink you’re about to use it on.

5. WD-40

What most homeowners don’t know is that the regular WD-40 stored in their garage doubles up as a very effective cleaner of stainless steel surfaces. In addition to the latter, WD-40 is also quite easy to use. Before using WD-40 to clean your sink, you’ll start by wiping clean with a cotton towel before leaving it to dry. Once your stainless steel sink has correctly drained, your next order of business will be spraying the WD-40 above its surface. Doing so will allow the petroleum-based product to dissolve even the stubborn grease and grime spots that seem to be water resistant.

Alternatively, you can also dub some of the WD-40 into a microfiber rag and rub it gently against the stainless steel surface instead of spraying it. The effects of using this remarkable petroleum-based product on your sink should be immediate. Apart from leaving the stainless steel surface shiny, the WD-40 will also ensure that your drain is protected from fingerprint marks up to several weeks later. Once your sink is sparkling clean, you’ll be required to rinse out the WD-40 properly.

The same precaution should be taken when using WD-40 to clean appliances with stainless steel parts such as microwaves and refrigerators. The last thing you want is the WD-40 finding its way into your food. Thankfully, WD-40 is readily available. The chances of finding it in your garage are quite high. If not, you can still get one affordably from a convenience store near you.

6. White Vinegar + Olive Oil

Another inexpensive way to clean your stainless steel sink is by use of white Vinegar coupled with olive oil. First, you’ll start by assembling the necessities in one place. These necessities should include white Vinegar, olive oil, and a soft piece of lint-free cloth. Once everything is there, you’ll start by clearing the sink of any utensils and significant food residues. The next step will be the application of white Vinegar on your lint-free cloth then using it to wipe the stainless steel surface.

You can also take the route of applying the white Vinegar directly to the surface then using your lint-free cloth, proceed to wipe the sink as gently as you can. As usual, make sure you are rubbing towards the direction of the grain to achieve the maximum shine. If the first application wasn’t enough to remove all the grime and grease, repeat the process for a second and third time if necessary.

Pour the white Vinegar on the stainless steel surface and embark on the gentle rubbing but now putting more emphasis on the stubborn stains. Once you’re satisfied with the result, clean up the white Vinegar using a dump, microfiber cloth. For the umpteenth time, always use a fine microfiber cloth or cotton towel when wiping to avoid scratching your rather evenly smooth stainless steel surface.

Finally, apply a few drops of olive oil on the surface and spread it all over the sink using another cotton towel. Make sure you are spreading the olive oil in the direction of the grain just like you did with the Vinegar for the best result. If done correctly, the olive oil should give your stainless steel sink that desirable, shiny finish, leaving its surface looking as good as new.

7. Lemon Oil Furniture Polish

As it’s the norm, you’ll start by collecting all of the things you’ll need for the cleaning process. These will include two things: Two lint-free towels and lemon oil furniture polish. As is the case with all the above procedures, you’ll begin by wiping off all the food residues from the stainless steel sink. Feel free to use a lint-free cloth or cotton towel to do the job.

Once your sink is partially clean, pour some of the lemon oil furniture polish on the first microfiber towel then use it to wipe the surface of your sink along the grains. The lemon oil furniture polish will not only give your sink that glossy finish but will also dissolve any stubborn oils that may be water resistant.

8. Club Soda

Families have been using club soda to clean their stainless steel sinks and appliances for decades – and with good reason too. For one, club soda is affordable; hence, it’s readily available. Secondly, club soda is not poisonous, meaning not much precaution has to be taken after its usage.

If you choose to use it, you’ll begin by spraying it on your sink the moment you’re done wiping it clean using a cotton towel. Then using another lint-free piece of cloth, or cotton towel, you’ll start wiping the surface as gently as possibly can. Thankfully, club soda is quite useful when it comes to eliminating fingerprints.

It’ll also eliminate the tiniest bits of food residues that may have escaped your gaze while you were busy cleaning. Once you’re done, you’ll use another lint-free cloth to wipe the club soda residue off the surface of your sink. If you do this correctly, the club soda should leave your stainless steel surface looking shinier than before.

9. Glass cleaner

Fingerprint stains are arguably the annoying aspects of cleaning stainless steel sinks. You may have tried all of the above methods of cleaning, but in the end, you’ll still have fingerprint issue to deal with. Moreover, if you don’t know how to deal with them, you’ll have a big problem in your hands. That’s where effective glass cleaners come into play. Thankfully, there are quite many brands you can use to get rid of the fingerprint issue effectively.

One of the most popular glass cleaner brands on the market is Windex. After you’ve successfully cleaned your stainless steel sink, you’ll spray the Windex on a microfiber cloth before using it to wipe off the fingerprint stains. When rubbing off the stains, make sure you are working the microfiber cloth in a circular motion. That’s how you’ll manage to remove the fingerprints both effectively and much faster.

10. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Let’s clean old school.

Start off by putting 5 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl followed with 1 cup of white vinegar mixed into the baking soda.  Be careful when pouring the vinegar into the baking soda because the two react and bubble.  Once poured in, mix it up a bit.

This mixture is where you place your sink plug/stopper to soak.

Next, mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 tablespoon of dishwash soap into a spray bottle.  Spray the entire sink.

Next, scoop the baking soda/vinegar mixture onto a scrub pad from the bowl and start scrubbing the sink.  You’ll also probably need to scrub the sink plug/stopper with a scrub pad or toothbrush to get them sparkling clean.

Wrap it up by rinsing everything with water and you’re done.

11. Elbow grease (yikes!)

As earlier stated, most particular stainless steel cleaning products are quite expensive. Therefore, finding cheaper ways to clean your stainless steel sink effectively is always an advantage. One way of doing the latter is making a habit of cleaning your regularly and doing so the right direction. After every cleaning session, be sure to apply a thin layer of elbow grease.

Elbow grease is known for its effectiveness in keeping the stubborn stains from sticking to the surface of your stainless steel sink; hence making the cleaning process quite easy. Thankfully, elbow grease is quite affordable. It’s also readily available, meaning you can find it in the nearest convenient store.

Conclusion

Perhaps the best thing about stainless steel sinks is the fact that they are quite easy to clean. Add that to their resist well-known resistance to both corrosion and rust, and you’re assured of a sink that will withstand the test of time as long as you are taking good care of it. Out of all the methods mentioned above, it’s essential for you to find one that’s convenient for you and make a habit of using it regularly. As mentioned earlier, you can still use the same method in cleaning your house appliances as long as they are made of stainless steel.

It’s also a good idea to stay clear of using concentrated chemicals when it comes to cleaning your stainless steel sinks and house appliances for safety reasons. Lastly, once you’ve made a habit of cleaning your stainless steel sinks regularly, you’ll be saved from the hustle of having to deal with a ton of stubborn stains which will, in turn, make your work easier.









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