Eco-Friendly Ways to Maintain a Stainless Steel Sink Eco-Friendly Ways to Maintain a Stainless Steel Sink

A stainless steel sink is a great addition to a kitchen, but often it takes the brunt of abuse. With dishes, garbage into the disposal, silverware being tossed about, and as a general catch all for kitchen debris, the sink can get dirty quickly. Unfortunately, stainless steel might be strong but it is also finicky about what cleans it. Never use any cleaning product which contains chlorine bleach or sodium hydrochloride. Both these products are highly corrosive and will permanently mar the finish on a stainless steel sink. The best bet for stainless steel are environmentally friendly cleaners with neither contain harshly acidic chemicals or corrosive properties.

Fingerprints, or Dull and Dingy Surfaces

If the sink is beginning to look dull and dingy, wipe it down with a little olive oil on a soft rag. On another rag, pour a bit of white vinegar. Remove the olive oil residue with the white vinegar. This will leave the sink shiny and streak free. It does wonders for the fingerprints which tend to continually appear on stainless steel. With all cleaners, be sure to not allow the product to sit on the sink for any length of time. Merely rub on and rub off till dry.

Tough Stains or Stuck on Gunk

Even though stainless steel has a coating over the top to keep stains from penetrating, if left unchecked stains can compress the coating making them difficult to remove if not regularly managed. Mix a bit of baking soda with water or Castile soap to form a paste and apply liberally to the surface which is dirty or stained. Using an old toothbrush, work in a circular motion over the stain. The toothbrush is abrasive enough to agitate the effected area, but not going to scratch the delicate steel. Rinse with warm water and be sure to thoroughly dry. Standing water is the number one way to harm stainless steel.

Drain Odors and Build Up

To eliminate build up in the drain, boil 1 quart of water and add 1/2 cup of salt. Pour this mixture down the drain twice a month or so to remove any built up gunk on the walls of the drain or in the garbage disposal. The salt will not only kill stinky bacteria, but also help future grease from building up.

Rust Marks

Rust marks on stainless steel usually come from one of three places: steel wool scouring pads, tin cans or cast iron pots left in the sink when wet, and iron deposits in the water. Fortunately rust marks are not permanent, merely deposits left on top of the surface and allowed to dry. Try using a bit of lemon juice and an old toothbrush to remove any residue easily.


Scratches are going to happen to any surface which receives as much use as a kitchen sink, even if it is stainless steel. The easiest removal strategy for fine scratches is to use 3m ultra fine grit white pads. Rub in the direction of the grain and work carefully, you can always add a few more light strokes but it is almost impossible to remove strokes which were too harsh.


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