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How to Remove Rust from Sink – 5 Simple Ways with Maintenance Tips

How to remove rust from sink
Written by Jenny Molin

The look of your kitchen reflects your sense of beauty and mindfulness. A kitchen sink and its faucet with rust stains look dirty and convey a message that you are not paying enough attention to cleanliness. Rust stains are inevitable, but you can easily get rid of them if you know how to remove rust from sink. Keep reading to learn the best ways to clean stainless steel sink stains.

How to Remove Rust from a Stainless Steel Sink?

Rust stains are removable if you take care of the issue at the right time. The stains may become permanent over time, so it’s better to address this issue right away when you see the rust building up in the sink. This problem is more acute in a stainless steel sink. You can remove rust from the sink by using kitchen sink cleaner like baking soda and vinegar, lemon and salt, abrasive some commercial products, etc.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Remove Rust from a Stainless Steel Sink
Baking soda and vinegar mixture works like magic when removing rust from the steel kitchen sink. This is a reliable removal method having a high success rate. It is equally effective to clean white porcelain kitchen sink. Check the following step-by-step guide to removing stains from the sink.

  • Take some baking soda, roughly two tablespoons, in a mixing bowl. You can pour some more if you want.
  • Gently pour a little bit of vinegar into the baking soda. Be careful in this step, too much vinegar at a time may cause an explosive chemical reaction.
  • Mix the two ingredients until you get a paste that’s thinner than toothpaste but not too watery.
  • If the paste seems watery, add some more baking soda to thicken it.

  • Once the paste is ready, apply it to the rust spots and wait for at least 10 minutes.
  • Slowly rub the paste onto the stains using your fingertips or the back of a spoon. Either will work well.
  • Wait for more 10-15 minutes after the rubbing process, and rinse everything with soap and water.
  • If the stains aren’t removed completely, make some more paste and repeat the process.

2. Lemon and Salt

Lemon and salt are two household items available in any kitchen. These items can come in handy when you are wondering how to clean stainless steel sink stains.

  • Wash the sink thoroughly with water and dry it. Block the drain so that nothing goes down the drain as you are going to apply lemon/lime juice into the sink.
  • Disperse a good amount of salt over the affected area and add lime/lemon juice on top of that. Spread the mixture evenly on the rust spots.

  • Wait for several hours, then rub the mixture over the stains. Scrub them with a toothbrush or microfiber cloth.
  • Rinse the sink stains with clean water. Repeat the steps if the stains seem stubborn.

3. Sandpaper or Abrasive Pads

remove rust stains from sink

Sandpaper or abrasive pads have excellent efficacy while removing fresh rust stains that didn’t build up over a long time. If you have light stains, you can try these abrasives as per the following set of instructions.

  • You should use 80 to 120-grit sandpaper when scrubbing scratches of a stainless steel sink.
  • Dampen the sandpaper or abrasive pads slightly with water and scrub the affected area with the rough side of the abrasive pads.
  • Wash off the residues with water once scrubbing is done.

Here’s a detailed video on this process:

4. Store-Bought Products

One can use commercial cleaners to minimize the hassle of removing rust stains from a sink. Some products are available on the market formulated to fight stains and rust. You can use a porcelain sink cleaner to clean your ceramic sink. But you should watch out for the presence of bleach in these products. Bleach can make things worse than before.

Autosol rust remover has a proven record of rust stains removal. You can also use other products available in your locality. Make sure that you are using them as per the usage instructions provided by the company.

5. Borax and Lemon Juice

The mixture of borax and lemon juice is a gem when destaining the rust stains of the sink. Now you will learn how to clean a black kitchen sink efficiently with a sure remedy. Follow the below list.

  • Put one-half cup of borax powder and the juice of half of a lemon together and mix them well.
  • Press a sponge gently over the mixture and rub it over the affected area of rust stains.
  • Rinse the spots with running water and repeat the process if any stain still exists.

The Dos and Don’ts of Keeping Your Kitchen Sink Clean

Maintaining a clean sink to keep it unclogged and rust-free calls for some dos and don’ts. If you can abide by the following tips, you will surely get a rust-free kitchen sink and never have to worry about how to remove rust from the sink.

  • Don’t use any strong abrasive powder as that may leave scratches to the surface.
  • Avoid using steel wool. It is extremely abrasive and can cause permanent scratches.
  • You can use a soft sponge or non-abrasive brushes when removing the stains.
  • Don’t put the rubber dish mats, wet rags, sponges in the sink. They may provide the sink with the required water to form rust.
  • Don’t keep your cast iron cookware in the sink. It can cause stainless steel to wear down and produce rust and stains.
  • Keep the sink completely dry when all the washing is done.

Clean your stainless-steel kitchen sink regularly and conduct a thorough inspection at least once a week. You will get a neat and clean stain-free sink if you follow the right cleaning method with the right materials. Ensure that you are not exacerbating the situation by adopting an incompetent rust removal method. Follow the techniques discussed here, and you will get amazing results for sure.


Q. Why is my sink rusting?

Ans: Most stainless sinks don’t rust themselves, but accumulates rust particles from other metal coowears. Many cast iron pans , metal baking sheets, or flatware can oxidize in water and that rust molecule gets trapped in the brushed grain of stainless steel.

Q. Is baking soda corrosive to stainless steel?

Ans: No. Baking soda is abrasive enough to scrub away stains but not so abrasive as to scratch stainless steel. That’s why it’s been widely used in kitchens across the planet.

Q. Can vinegar ruin stainless steel?

Ans: Yes. Acidic elements like vinegar, lamon juice, and minerals like chlorine can damage stainless steel if the steel is exposed for a long time. That’s why it would not be wise to leave your stainless still sink soak in solution that contains substances like vinegar,chlorine, or bleach.

Q. What does bleach do to stainless steel?

Ans: Bleach is corrosive to some metals, including stainless steel. If you bleach your stainless steel items repeatedly or for a long time, it can result in pitting and staining your item.

Q. Will rust in water harm me?

Ans: Technically, no. The presence of rust in your drinking water isn’t a health concern. However, rust’ll create some disturbance like staining your teeth and clothes, and providing a earthy taste. It can also create problems in machines like dishwashers and washing machines.

About the author

Jenny Molin

Interior Design Artist

Hello, I’m Jenny. I’ve been an interior design artist by profession since my B.S. in Interior Design. I’m a minimalist and prefer to save space when choosing fixtures, sinks and fittings. My style tends to make the most out of the least amount of space. The idea behind every interior design project is unique and it reflects personal style, taste and tradition. I’ve learned more when working than I ever did while I was studying in college. I worked in more than 12 hundred households all across the US and got positive feedback. I’ve been working with FaucetsReviewed as one of the founding members and regularly contributing to the site via testing and reviewing various interior fittings and fixtures.

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