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How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink (in 4 easy steps)

Do you have a stainless steel sink in your home? Stainless steel is great because it looks shiny and high end. It’s also very easy to take care of and clean without scratching it. Here’s an explanation of how to clean a stainless steel sink as well as cleaning products to use and techniques to avoid.

(Psst! We also have a kitchen cleaning checklist you can get if you want to keep the whole kitchen clean!)

How to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks in 4 Steps

There are four main steps when it comes to cleaning a stainless steel sink.

hard water stain stainless steel sink


Step 1: Rinse the sink with warm water.

Take warm water and rinse your sink thoroughly to begin. If you have a sink water sprayer, this is a good time to use it to make sure there are no food particles in your stainless steel sink before you deep clean it. 


Step 2: Cover the sink with baking soda.

Take baking soda and generously coat your sink with it. Make sure you have enough to cover most of your kitchen sink, because the next step will be scrubbing it.

how to clean stainless steel sink with baking soda


Step 3: Scrub the sink with a gentle scrubber.

If your stainless steel sink has a light grain that you can see, scrub in the direction of the grain. If not, you can scrub in circles to cover the entire surface.


Do not use a scrubber that is abrasive, like steel wool. Instead, use a softer sponge to avoid scratching your sink. Keep scrubbing your sink until you’ve worked in the baking soda into your entire sink. Then, move on to the next step.

Buy these non-scratch microfiber sponges.


Step 4: Rinse the sink thoroughly.

After you’re finished cleaning your sink, rinse your sink thoroughly using warm or hot water. It’s perfectly safe for you to rinse your baking soda down the drain. 

how to clean stainless steel sink


Optional Additional Step:

If you notice after cleaning your sink that your stainless steel sink has hard water marks on it, you can complete this additional cleaning step. Put baking soda on the hard water stain and then spray white vinegar on top of it.


This will cause a reaction and the two products will bubble together. Let this combination sit for a minute and then rinse. This should help eliminate your hard water stains.


Repeat as Needed

Depending on how dirty your kitchen sink is at the beginning of your cleaning process, you may have to repeat these steps a few times in order to really get your sink to sparkle and shine.


How do you polish a stainless steel sink to a mirror finish?

When you are finished cleaning your sink and it’s totally dry, you can use olive oil and a soft cloth to gently buff your sink and help make it shine.


Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

No, vinegar does not damage stainless steel. In fact, it’s one product that you can use to help clean it thoroughly.


Should you use cream of tartar on a stainless steel sink?

If the combination of vinegar and baking soda fails to clean the stains on your sink, you can try mixing cream of tarter with vinegar. Place this combination directly on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it off.


Remember, only use this mixture if vinegar and baking soda do not work, and don’t place cream of tartar on your entire sink. Just place it directly where you have a stain.


How do you make stainless steel look new again?

Cleaning your stainless steel sink regularly by completing the steps mentioned above is a good way to make your stainless steel sink look new again. If you can continuously clean it, fix hard water stains, and shine it, you can help your sink look new again.


How do you clean a stainless steel sink without scratching it?


Avoiding abrasive cleaners, like steel wool, is the best way to avoid scratching your sink. If you do see scratches in your sink, you can use a product like Bar Keepers Friend to clean your sink.


Can you use Bar Keepers Friend on a stainless steel sink?

Yes, as mentioned above, you can use Bar Keepers Friend on a stainless steel sink as well as other stainless steel appliances. The purpose of this product is to help you remove scratches from stainless steel. 

Buy Bar Keepers Friend today.

Can you use Windex on a stainless steel sink?

No, do not use Windex on a stainless steel sink, as it too abrasive.


Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

It is safe to use vinegar to clean your stainless steel sink using the steps mentioned above. Do not leave vinegar sitting on your stainless steel sink for long periods of time, though. Simply use it combined with baking soda to remove tough stains.


What not to use on a stainless steel sink

Knowing what not to use on a stainless steel sink is just as important as knowing what you can use on a sick.


Do not use the following products to clean your stainless steel sink:

  • Steel wool
  • Windex
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Oven Cleaner
  • Magic Erasers


Overall, avoid any cleaner that is known to be abrasive. A gentle cleaner, i.e. baking soda, is best for cleaning a stainless steel sink.


How often should you clean a stainless steel sink?

Ideally, clean your stainless steel sink each night before bed. There’s nothing better than waking up to a sparkling clean kitchen and empty, clean sink to help you start your day.


Can I use anything else to clean my stainless steel sink?

While baking soda is by far the cheapest way to clean a stainless steel sink, you can also buy stainless steel wipes if you want to clean quickly in between deep cleans. These are highly rated on Amazon.

Buy stainless steel wipes today.


Cleaning a Stainless Steel Sink is Easy

Ultimately, cleaning a sink is easy. This is a great house cleaning tip. It’s also affordable and quick. Cleaning your stainless steel sink should take less than 15 minutes. If you take care of your sink, fix stains as they arrive, and buff it to make it shine, your stainless steel sink can last for a very long time.


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