10 Tips to Keep Your Stainless Steel Sink Looking Brand New

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated September 29, 2021
 girl helping mom washing lettuce in the kitchen
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Regularly cleaning and caring for stainless steel sinks keeps them looking shiny and new

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Stainless steel sinks can add a sleek look to any kitchen, and they are easier to clean and disinfect than you might think. But stainless steel can quickly look dull or even begin to rust without regular care. 

Follow these 10 tips to learn how to care for and clean a stainless steel sink so that your kitchen is always sparkling.

1. Add a Bottom Grid to Avoid Scratches

Dirty dishes sitting in a sink on a metal grid
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Scratched stainless steel can cause food and chemicals to get stuck on the sink’s surface, leading to corrosion and rust. It might be tempting to add a rubber mat to the bottom of the sink to prevent scratches, but food and chemicals can get trapped under the mat, too. Instead, add a metal grid to allow water and chemicals to flow through the sink and down the drain.

2. Rinse and Wipe Down Your Sink After Each Use

Close up of a woman rinsing kitchen sink
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One of the most important ways to keep your stainless steel sink from looking dull is by preventing water spots. Wipe the sink completely dry after every single use to keep water from drying and leaving spots. It’s also important to rinse and wipe down the sink frequently to prevent any food bits or cleaners from sticking to the surface.

3. Remove Hard Water Stains With Vinegar

Vinegar is a perfect cleaner for stainless steel sinks, and you probably already have it in your pantry. When you’re done washing dishes for the night, try a rinse of vinegar to cleanse the sink and wipe dry. Repeat daily or weekly to keep your sink clean.

4. Use a Cloth to Clean Water Spots

Water spots will still happen from time to time. Polish your sink with a soft, lint-free cloth, like a microfiber cleaning cloth, to buff out the water spots and restore your sink’s shine.

5. Don’t Leave Items Sitting in the Sink

To keep stainless steel sparkling, you shouldn’t leave food sitting in the sink. Wash dishes immediately or move them to the dishwasher rather than leaving them to soak. Rinse the sink after cleaning it, washing your hands, or pouring out salty pasta water.

6. Clean With a Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is another DIY cleaning option that can help banish tough stains from your stainless steel sink.

  • Make a paste: Combine a half cup of baking soda with about 3 tablespoons of water to make a thick paste.

  • Clean with the paste: Apply the paste to the sink with a soft cleaning cloth or sponge.

  • Rinse the paste: You can rinse the baking soda paste away with water or follow baking soda up with vinegar for more cleaning power. The vinegar and baking soda will fizz, and the vinegar can help polish the sink.

  • Wipe dry: Use a fresh, dry cleaning cloth to wipe the sink completely dry to prevent water spots.

7. Make It Sparkle With Club Soda

Kitchen staples are the real heroes in caring for stainless steel sinks. You can use club soda to make your stainless steel sink sparkle.

  • Put the stopper in the sink drain.

  • Pour in club soda. You don’t need a lot, just enough to cover the base of the sink.

  • Use a soft cleaning cloth to rub the club soda everywhere.

  • Rinse the sink, then dry it with a cloth.

8. Scrub With a Soft Scouring Pad

If you’re dealing with a stubborn mess, like stuck-on food that just won’t come up with regular cleaners or baking soda, you can use a soft scouring pad. Scrub in the direction of the steel’s grain until the mess loosens. As always, rinse the sink and dry thoroughly after cleaning it.

9. Avoid Steel Wool

Steel wool or wire brushes are common household tools for scrubbing out sinks, but these items are not suitable for stainless steel. These items can scratch the sink, leaving behind iron particles that can cause the stainless steel sink to rust.

10. Buff With Olive Oil on a Cloth

If your stainless steel sink is clean but still looking a bit dull, try yet another pantry item to make it shine: olive oil.

  • Make sure your sink is clean and dry.

  • Add a few drops of olive oil to a dry, lint-free cloth.

  • Buff the sink with the cloth to restore shine.

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