Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Stainless steel sinks are known for their long-lasting durability and are a great addition to any kitchen. However, just like with any appliances, they can be scratched over time from many different elements that come in contact with the sink. To preserve their appearance, stainless steel sinks require regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are a few tips on restoring and maintaining a stainless steel sink.
Before beginning, make sure to grab all the necessary tools below:
Stainless steel polish
Scratch removal agent
Sanding block / Abrasive Pads
Clean the scratched area
The first step is to clean the area of the sink where the scratches are shown. Apply some non-abrasive cleaner such as dish soap or powder-based cleaner all over the sink with a soft sponge or cloth. Remember to rinse well after and dry with a soft cloth.
Define what type of scratches you’re dealing with
It is important to identify the type of scratches because using repair methods designed for other types of scratches may either be insufficient or overpowering, making the issue even worse.
Stainless steel sink scratches can be separated in two categories: minor and severe. For example, minor scratches can be concealed with the use of a stainless-steel polish. However, for more severe scratches, this is not the case.
Deeper scratches require extra care. Determine the direction of the grain and start sanding in one direction only and work in the direction of the grain.
It is important to never work against the grain as it will ruin the finish and make more irreversible damage. While sanding the scratches, keep in mind to not apply too much pressure as it might cause damage to the sink. Clean with a soft abrasive cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
Next, apply a small amount of scratch remover compound on a buffer and buffer until the agent is smoothed all over.
Depending on the severity of the scratches, you may need to repeat the process 3-5 times. Clean with a soft abrasive cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
Clean and polish
After removing all the scratches and unwanted marks, it is important to remember to polish the sink to maintain its shine. With a fresh and clean microfiber cloth, wipe down the area and remove all the metal dust and polishing agent. Always, always always, rub the cloth in the direction of the grain!
Now that we’ve taken care of the scratches, let’s move on to how to maintain that beautiful stainless steel sink.
Stainless steel maintenance
It is important to note and avoid using abrasive cleaners such as scrub pads, steel wool, and bleach. Instead, use mild, non-abrasive cleaning agents like Bar Keepers Friend or vinegar.
Microfiber cloth or a non-abrasive sponge
Non-abrasive cleaner - Bar Keeper’s Friend
Wash down the sink
Now that you got everything prepared, let’s get to cleaning! Rinse the sink and wash it down with some hot soapy water to remove any dirt, food, or residue. It’s important to clean it well so nothing can get in your way during the scrubbing and polishing process.
Bar Keepers Friend
Bar Keepers Friend is a popular nonabrasive cleaner that is gentle but effective. It can remove rust, lime, stains, and hard water deposits. Test in a small area first to see if it is safe for your sink. Shake the bottle well before and squeeze onto the damp sink or sponge. Rub the solution all around the sink and make sure not to forget the handles or hidden areas. For brushed metal finishes, rub in the direction of the grain gently. Rinse thoroughly with water within one minute of application and wipe dry.
Vinegar is a safe and effective alternative that disinfects and cleans stainless steel sinks. Water spots are untreated hard water mineral build-up or also known as limescale build-up that can be found commonly on stainless steel sinks and appliances. Grab a spray bottle and mix a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar. Spray the solution all over the spots evenly and it will create bubbles. You may want to spray a little bit more on spots that are harder. Keep it that way for one hour or overnight for best results. Simply rinse with cool water and dry the sink thoroughly. Repeat steps if necessary.
Some people may think once stainless steel is stretched, it is impossible to repair it. However, with the right tools and methods, regular cleaning as well as maintenance, your flawed stainless steel sink can be as new can before. With regular cleaning and care, a stainless steel sink can last several decades.