How to Deep Clean a Stainless Steel Sink

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Inside: How to clean a stainless steel sink in minutes with the best tricks for removing rust stains, tarnish; plus the best DIY cleaner for stainless steel; methods for managing scratches on the sink.

Nothing grosses me out more than a dirty sink. Okay, maybe that’s not true, but a dirty sink is pretty nasty and it can be the source of smells and unwanted critters in your kitchen if you let it get out of hand. Short of wiping the sink down a couple times a day after use, deep cleaning the sink about once every couple of weeks is a good idea and it takes only a few minutes! Here are my best tips for cleaning a stainless steel sink to make it sparkle like almost brand new. 

deep cleaning a stainless steel sink

How to mix your own sink cleaner

First things first, this is not necessarily a drain cleaner. If you have problem drains, you likely need to consult a plumber or do something beyond this particular solution. This DIY cleaner will get your sink sparkly clean looking though!sink before cleaningAnd for sake of honesty, here is the grossest half of my double sink after two days of baking, dough cleaning, and spaghetti dinner. This is the half that sits beneath our dish drainer and it gets so dirty so fast. Yuck!

I have found the best way to start is with the drain stopper itself which takes the brunt of the grime. Here’s what you need: 

  • glass bowl to hold the sink stopper (I use a two-cup measuring cup)
  • baking soda to just cover the sink stopper – about 1/3 cup
  • white vinegar to just cover the sink stopper – about 1/3 cup
  • a few squirts of liquid dish soap

Put all of that into your bowl in that order and let the bubbles do their magic. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to loosen all the dirt. While that’s happening, you’ll want to add about 1 Tablespoon of oxy bleach powder to your dry sink just to get that process going. I love oxy bleach and I clean 90% of my house with it. You can see all the different ways I use oxy bleach to clean around the house here. 

Now go back to your sink stopper and scrub it vigorously with a scrub brush. You might even want to use a toothbrush for this part to get into the crevices and nooks and crannies. 

How to clean the stainless steel sink

Okay, now that the sink stopper is clean, put it into your sink and start running HOT water. You’ve already got some oxy bleach powder in there, so it will start to dissolve. This is an incredible way to get rid of drain flies and fruit flies if you have them too . While it’s running, pour in the baking soda-vinegar-soap solution you have left over from cleaning the drain. It will only help boost the sink cleaning!

I always like to put a clean cleaning rag into this soapy mixture and let it sit for a good five to ten minutes. This way the rag is saturated with cleaning solution and I can use it to wipe down all sorts of kitchen surfaces. While this is sitting, I dampen the scrub brush and get into the corners and seams of the faucet and around the edges of the sink. 

Then, once the rag has been sitting in the water for a while, I drain the sink and use the rag to wipe down EVERYTHING including what I can reach of the actual drain. If you look closely, you can see me in the shiny faucet LOL

But what about rust stains on a stainless steel sink? 

Ah, yes. We have one of those. Our old dish drain split a bit and for about a week, there was rust showing up on our dishes and I couldn’t figure out why. Now there’s a tiny spot of rust on the side of the sink. small rust spot on stainless steel sink

Good news is getting rid of rust stains on stainless steel isn’t that hard! It’s basically the same ingredients you use to clean the sink, but more concentrated and left on for a bit longer. getting rid of rust on stainless steel sink

Here’s what I did. I made a baking soda-vinegar mixture and turned it into the consistency of paste; almost like an icing. I slapped it onto the rust stain and let it sit there for a good long time. My rust stain is small and not super dark and I left it for about 15 minutes. 

If you have worse rust stains than mine, you will need to leave it on for longer and likely repeat this process. Once the 15 minutes was up, I used the scrub brush and some clean water to gently scrub the paste away and the rust went with it!

What if your stainless steel sink is scratched? 

Mine is certainly not pristine and has some fairly large scratches from everyday use. I did some research and discovered that it is entirely possible to sand out the scratches on your stainless steel sink! I haven’t tried it yet, but plan to do it soon. 

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Need more Cleaning Hacks and Solutions? Check out my Posts below!

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