Stainless Steel Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

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So you know how to clean everything but the kitchen sink? Popular for durability, stain-resistance, and rust-resistance, stainless steel kitchen sinks can still get dingy and dull.  In fact, they can still corrode and rust, though not as fast as other metals.  Fortunately these sinks are very forgiving, and cleaning them is easy.  Here we’ll go through a few care and maintenance basics quick enough to be done every day, as well as some more advanced cleaning tips for sinks that have been left languishing.

The Basics

Stainless steel is a steel alloy – a mix of more than one element – with about 10 to 25 percent of its mass coming from the element chromium.  While normal steel will readily rust when exposed to air and water, the chromium in stainless steel forms a barrier against moisture which prevents rust from forming as easily.


Chances are that you use your sink to wash the dishes, whether you do your washing by hand or just give things a quick rinse before putting them in the dishwasher. To keep your sink as clean as possible, when you’re done, make sure you’ve gone over the sink with a sponge, washcloth, or paper towel to get all the particles of food out.  Not only do these hold moisture, but if left in the sink they’ll decompose and smell.

Make sure you wring out any sponges or washcloths and either hang them up or put them in their own dishes. Again, this keeps standing moisture from your sink, and it makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow in the very tools you use to clean.

For Dingy, Dull Sinks

If your sink hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it may develop a dark patina. Here are two solutions:

  • The eco-friendly solution: Spray your sink down with water and sprinkle it with baking soda. After ten or fifteen minutes, scrub it off.
  • The industrial-strength tip: Look for a stainless-steel cleaner. These are specially formulated to avoid chlorine, which can damage your sink. If you have a chlorine-free bleach, however, you may just want to use that: add a cupful to a full sink of hot water, let stand for half an hour to an hour, and drain. The difference should be dramatic.

For Grease and Fingerprints

Any window cleaner can clear up grease or fingerprints. Just spray it on, and wipe it down with a warm, wet cloth.

For Water Spots and Streaks

Spots or streaks may show up no matter how diligent you are at cleaning – and sometimes because you’re so diligent at cleaning!  To avoid them, just dry your sink after you’ve used it or cleaned it.

To sum up, it’s easy to clean stainless steel kitchen sinks. With a little effort, you can keep yours looking like new.

Hailey Andersen likes to share Household Cleaning tips that she finds useful herself. See what else she finds interesting on Twitter at: @HaileyWrites.

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