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How to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks: A Guide by Industry Experts!

how to clean stainless steel sinks
Written by Jenny Molin
Last Update: November 21, 2022

If you are a kitchen person, you’ll definitely be very possessive about your space. Even the thought of some dirt on the cabinet might make you feel yuck! Sinks are one of the essentials that complete your kitchen, helping to make the whole place glow with their lustrous look.

The in-fashion stainless steel material is in business now. Cleaning the sink–be it a top-mount or an undermount model— on a regular basis is mandatory if you wish to preserve the new look. Here’s a complete guide on how to clean stainless steel sinks.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks: Effective Cleaning Guide

1. Baking Soda

Baking Soda

It’s a mild abrasive ingredient that can help you wipe away hard-water stains, food residue, or greasy waste. It holds an appropriate amount of abrasion. So, don’t expect the scratches on stainless steel shiny finishing.

Make a paste-like mixture of baking soda and water, and sponge the sink with the paste. Interestingly, running the sponge on the whole surface might fade away hairline scratches. Clean the remaining with water and dry the basin with a towel.

2. White Vinegar

White Vinegar

There are two methods of using white vinegar against hard water marks and infected sinks.

  • Pour some white vinegar in a bowl. Dip your sponge in it and start rubbing on the sink to clean the water spots.
  • You can sprinkle white vinegar on the sink, and let it on the skin for a while. Then, simply rub it with a sponge.

3. Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar

This is the best ingredient to remove stubborn stains. There are two ways:

  • Make a paste of refined white vinegar and cream of tartar. Add cream of tartar 1/4th of the vinegar. Apply and rub it. After some time, clean it with a wet cloth or sponge.
  • Use a paste of 1/4th hydrogen peroxide and 3/4th cream of tartar. Apply it on the stain; let it sit and dry for 5 minutes. Use a wet cloth or sponge to clean.

4. All-Purpose Flour

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour uncovers the lustrous face of the sink and gets rid of the dingy and dull look.

The technique is very simple. Dry your sink and sprinkle some flour on it. Pick a soft cloth to rub the flour on the surface, and let the flour sit for several minutes. Lastly, rinse and dry away for a sparkling look.

5. Club Soda

Club Soda

For cleaning water spots, block the drainage and pour some soda, particularly at the stained part. Use a cloth or sponge to rub on the sink. Rinse with warm water and dry the washbowl.

For unclogging the drain, make a mixture of 2 cups of club soda and 2 tablespoons of salt. Pour this into the drain. Wait for 1 minute and spill some boiling water.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks? – A Complete Guide

Stainless Steel Sink Cleaning

Essential Tools

  • Jar
  • Fork
  • Soft sponge or cloth
  • Clean dish towel/ microfiber towel/ paper towel

Essential Materials

  • Baking soda
  • Refined white vinegar
  • Essential oils (lavender & lemon oil)
  • Baby or olive oil
  • Club soda

Steps to Stainless Steel Sink Cleaning

  1. First, pour 3/4 cup of baking soda in a jar; add few drops of lavender and lemon oil (for their antibacterial and disinfecting traits and a great smell). Blend them up nicely with a fork.
  2. Add another 3/4 cup of baking soda in the jar with essential oils and blend.
  3. Add a sufficient amount of water to make a paste.
  4. Apply the paste on the stained area of your stainless steel sink and rub it with the sponge. Afterward, apply it to the whole sink and rub.
  5. Sprinkle white vinegar on the sink and wait until it disinfects. Sponge the surface to remove hard water and stubborn stains.
  6. Clean the sink with warm water.
  7. To unclog the drain, prepare a mixture of two cups of club soda and two tablespoons of salt. Spill that in the drain and wait for 1 minute. Then, follow with boiling water.
  8. Finally, dry the sink with a clean dish towel. Moreover, pour a few drops of baby oil or olive oil on the towel and rub it on the sink for a shiny look.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Steel wool leaves scratches. Furthermore, little iron particles detached from the pad can stay on the surface, leading to rust and corrosion. Then you need to remove the rust from there.
  • Don’t leave anything on the sink for too long because steel or carbon steel cookware results in rust, staining, and bacteria generation
  • Don’t dry the wet towel, sponge, rags, dish mats, and cleaning pads on it. This will result in a dull surface and hard water stains with bacteria
  • Rinse the sink after every use: this light cleaning will maintain its glossy look for a long time.
  • The use of a knife or any sharp kitchen utensils on the surface will destroy it

General Stainless Steel Sink Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

  • Don’t let any food debris dried up or any liquid stay there for long
  • Later is not an option. The cleanser’s composition includes chlorides that can harm the shiny coating of the sink if kept for long. So, rinse after every wash
  • Use a clean towel to dry up the water after every use to keep it free from hard water stains and rust
  • Some of the cleansers contain harmful acids that can damage your skin, so wear rubber gloves
  • Use only one cleanser at a time, and don’t mix two different cleansers. Otherwise, their product’s reaction can provoke dangerous gases


There you go! That’s all you need to know about cleaning your stainless steel sink. Use our suggested techniques from now on to get the shiniest look possible.

Happy cleaning!


1. How do you keep water spots off a stainless steel sink?

Ans. For hard water stains, diluted white vinegar is the right option. Spray some on the bowl and let it be there for a while. Then, use a sponge to rub off the water spots.

2. Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

Ans. No, an appropriate amount of vinegar doesn’t damage stainless steel. Vinegar contains acetic acid that prevents rusting and helps with the stains. Any cleanser too long on the surface is harmful. Therefore, don’t leave it for more than 4-5 minutes.

3. Can I use Windex on stainless steel?

Ans. No, Windex, like most cleansers, contains ammonia, which makes it a harsh abrasive. They can weaken the surface and make it susceptible to rust and stains.

4. Can you use Clorox wipes on stainless steel?

Ans. Yes, Clorox wipes can be used to clean and disinfect your stainless steel. Wipe them onto the surface and give the chemicals some rest, so they disinfect your washbowl. Finally, pour warm water and dry with a clean towel.

5. Can you use a magic eraser on stainless steel?

Ans. That’s a big “NO.” A magic eraser can destroy the surface. Its abrasive power will leave hairline scratches on the surface and demolish the whole polished look.

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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