If you own a stainless steel sink, you may need to perform rust stain removal on an occasional basis. The actual stainless steel is not rusting. but rust stains can form if the sink has been in contact with another metal item that is. Once you remove the stain, the sink will be restored to pristine condition. This procedure can also be used on an older sink that has become rust stained from an iron pan or piece of steel wool. Depending on your preference, you can use one of two methods using either natural products or a non-abrasive chemical cleaner.
Step 1 – Remove Loose Rust
If you prefer not to use chemical cleaners, begin by using a damp paper towel to wipe away any loose pieces of rust or other debris and therefore minimize the area you need to scrub.
Step 2 – Apply Vinegar
Cover all of the rust stains with vinegar and leave it to soak for 5 minutes. If you are not in any hurry to install the sink it is recommended to leave the vinegar soaking overnight to allow the acid to work deeper into the stain.
Step 3 – Wipe Off
Use the sponge to wipe the vinegar away. The remaining rust should come off easily if it was left overnight but you may need to use a sponge with a non-metal scrubbing pad. Do not use a metal scouring pad as this will just make the problem worse. Dry the sink with a towel when you have finished to make your sink sparkle. The vinegar also offers an extra layer of protection against any materials that may cause new rust stains to form.
Step 4 – Apply Non-Abrasive Cleaner
If the vinegar fails to remove the rust stain or you prefer to use a chemical cleaning product you can apply a non-abrasive cleaner such as Barkeeper's Friend or Citrisurf77 directly to the rust stain and leave it for around 30 minutes to allow the chemicals to do their job. An abrasive cleaner will damage the finish of the stainless steel so you should avoid them, especially on a new sink.
Step 5 – Scrub Rust
Use a damp sponge to scrub the rust stain. When scrubbing try to follow the grain of the steel rather than scrubbing across it to prevent scratching. For deep or stubborn rust stains you may need to reapply more of the cleaner and scrub it off repeatedly until the pristine stainless steel finish is restored.
Step 6 – Dry and Polish
For the highest standard of finish you should dry the sink with a towel after this cleaning process and also following each normal use. This will prevent water spots from forming on the sink and also ensure that no new rust stains caused by iron pots and pans will be able to form. If you rub a light coating of vinegar into the metal before drying it will give the sink a brilliant shine as well as an additional layer of protection.