How to clean a stainless steel sink properly without damaging it

Knowing how to clean a stainless steel sink is important to keep your kitchen clean.

Stainless steel sinks are a popular choice when it comes to decorating our kitchens. In general, you can find one for every budget, they are incredibly durable and long lasting and usually very easy and low maintenance to maintain (as opposed to, for example, ceramic sinks, which are much more maintenance intensive in terms of maintenance).

However, if you don’t clean yours properly, you run the risk of scratching them. Proper cleaning also ensures it will sparkle and shine, just like all stainless steel sinks should do. If you don’t clean it properly, your hair is likely to look a little dull and may not have the shiny look everyone wants their stainless steel sink to look like.

When it comes to cleaning a kitchen, we all know pretty well how to do the basics of everyday life: wash the dishes, wipe the surfaces, and take out the bins.

But we admit – there are things we are less clear about how to do it right – how to descale a kettle, how to clean a dishwasher, and how to clean a washing machine. And the right way to clean a stainless steel kitchen sink is one of them.

If you have a stainless steel kitchen sink, you probably only use disinfectant to clean it every day. But did you know there is a right way to make sure your sink stays shiny and sparkling?

How to properly clean a stainless steel sink

Knowing how to properly clean a stainless steel kitchen sink just means knowing which tools and cleaning products to use – and which not. To find out, w & h spoke to cleaning experts to find out how to do your cleaning properly – and luckily it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes!

1. Make sure you remove and rinse all food

We all had these moments at the end of a day of cooking – your sink is full of bits of leftover food from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While it is tempting to leave these and sort them the next day, getting rid of any leftover food is important as these crumbs can easily cause bacteria to multiply and attract nasty things like fruit flies. The first step in cleaning your stainless steel kitchen sink is to take all your essential kitchen utensils out of the sink and remove the excess food.

Use a kitchen towel to scrape all of the pieces out of the hole and wipe around the sink to remove any excess.

Chris Wootton, MD at Poppies, a UK cleaning company, explains why this step is so important to avoid damaging your sink. “Always rinse off dirt and grime before cleaning. You can accidentally leave deep scratches on your stainless steel by rubbing / cleaning with dirt on your cloth,” he said.

When you’re done with this, quickly splash the sink with water to remove any minor debris that may be left behind.

2. Clean your sink with a scouring pad

Victoria Gregory, who runs Pocket Rockets Housekeeping Rescue Services, explained to w & h, “My favorite trick in cleaning a stainless steel kitchen sink is to do a good scrub with a non-scratch scouring pad. For example, if you’re using wire wool or hard cotton scouring pads, they can scratch the steel. “For this reason, avoid wire cleaning pads and look for one that says it should be used for gentle cleaning of delicate surfaces.

Put a good anti-grease cleaner, dish soap or kitchen cleaner on top and just scrub it away, Victoria suggests, working gently but firmly, penetrating every nook and cranny of your sink – including taps and stopper holes.

Then she says: “Just rinse with water.”

Chris also recommends leaving the product there for some time to work its magic before scrubbing (gently) if you have time. He said, “Spray your kitchen cleaner and wait – the professional secret is dwell time – you need to give the product time to work.”

Stainless steel sink

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Polish your sink with glass cleaner

Then Victoria suggests using a “strong kitchen towel and glass cleaner to polish up”.

We all want that sparkling, shiny sink – and this step is critical to making it happen.

“Spray the sink, faucets, and draining board and use the kitchen towel to clean it just like you would clean a window,” explains Victoria.

“If you’re looking to make your own natural glass cleaner, good old-fashioned white vinegar and lemon juice will work great, but any store-bought glass cleaner will do.

“The reason I use the glass cleaner and paper towel is because of a really nice shine. The shine will be amazing.”

And there you have it – a shiny, sparkling sink that takes less than 10 minutes to achieve!

Tips to keep your stainless steel sink in tip-top shape

While this major cleaning of your sink may be done weekly, there are ways to keep your sink shining and clean throughout the week. And luckily, they’re all simple and easy to do. Chris shared some of his top tips for keeping your sink hygienic between cleanings.

Stainless steel sink

(Photo credit: Getty Images / Image source)

  • Rinse the sink quickly each time you use it
  • Spray with a kitchen cleaner and wipe off daily
  • In areas with hard water, be especially careful to remove limescale every few days.
  • Never use bleach, especially on stainless steel – chlorine and stainless steel can react and leave stains.

How to remove stains from a stainless steel kitchen sink

You can remove any remaining stains on your sink using a combination of dish soap and baking soda. Just mix these together and rub them gently into the stain with a cloth before rinsing. Baking soda is a great ingredient for natural cleaning – it can even help you clean an oven, for example.

Chris also provided advice on how best to tackle limescale build-up in your sink, which can especially occur in areas with hard water. He said, “If you drip taps or puddles down your drain, limescale can build up.

“Keep an eye on this with a natural and mild acid like vinegar or lemon juice. Do this as soon as you notice the build-up. A thicker build-up of lime takes a stronger chemical to remove and then you risk having problems.”

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