How To Remove Stains From a Sink

Your sinks take a lot of abuse. From food in the kitchen to toothpaste in the bathroom, there are many things that travel down your drains, and often you might need to remove stains from your sink in order to restore them to their bright and shiny state.

Remove Stains from a Sink

Perhaps the most popular kitchen sink material - stainless steel - is durable and easy to maintain. The name "stainless," however, is misleading - stainless steel can indeed stain. The good news is, it's usually easy to clean.

Leave a low-quality knife or other corrosive metal in a damp stainless steel sink overnight, and you'll often find a rust stain the next morning. To remove rust stains from a stainless steel sink:

  1. Dampen a nylon scrubber sponge.
  2. Shake a bit of baking soda over the rust stain.
  3. Scrub the stain gently with the scrubber sponge until the stain is removed, and rinse away any remaining baking soda.

Foods left in stainless steel sinks can also leave behind a residue that appears to stain the sink. Remove food stains using the same method as rust stain removal.

The most common stain on stainless steel sinks, white spots that appear to be stains, are not stains at all, but are nevertheless easy to remove. These are often "hard water" stains that are actually calcium or other minerals that spot stainless steel as water evaporates from the surface. To prevent these stains, wipe sinks out with a dry towel after use. Remove hard water stains on stainless steel by:

Removing Stains From Porcelain/Ceramic Sinks

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Nylon scrubber sponge
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Baking soda

The porcelain enameled sinks that were the standard sink of farmhouse kitchens past are making a comeback. Likewise, ceramic sinks and sink bowls that appeared in most bathrooms until the mid-century. While the smooth surface of porcelain and ceramic sinks make it easy for most stain-causing liquids to roll away completely, some stains do manage to stick around. The good news is, it takes little to clean porcelain and ceramic sinks, and the cleaning methods are the same for both.

To remove dye stains caused by coffee, powdered drink mixes, hair dye, makeup and other dyed substances from porcelain and ceramic sinks:

  1. Dampen a rag or nylon scrubber sponge.
  2. Squirt dishwashing liquid on the stain.
  3. Rub the stain with the rag or scrubber.
  4. If the stain remains, sprinkle baking soda on the stain and rub until it disappears.

Rust stains can be a problem on ceramic or porcelain sinks. Get them out of there by following the instructions in the next section.

Removing Stains from Solid Surface and Cultured Marble Sinks

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Nylon scrubber sponge
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Baking soda

Solid surface and cultured marble sinks are a great choice when you want the look of granite or marble. However, the porous nature of these materials means they stain more easily than most other sinks. When cleaning a cultured marble or solid surface sink, always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and when using abrasive cleaners, use only soft cleaners such as baking soda. Use bleach or other harsh chemicals only if recommended by the manufacturer's instructions.

Coffee, tea, tomato sauce and other dark or bright foods can easily stain solid-surface kitchen sinks. So can rust. Cultured marble sinks are also prone to developing rust stains and dye stains caused by hair dyes or the dyes in makeup. To remove these stains:

  1. Dampen a nylon scrubber sponge.
  2. Squirt dishwashing soap on the stain.
  3. Scrub gently.
  4. Add baking soda to the sponge if any stain remains.
  5. Rinse with water.

Removing stains from sinks can help you keep your kitchen and bathrooms looking spic and span. When you attack stains before they have time to set in, you also keep your kitchen and bath sinks looking like brand new. Reduce the likelihood of sink stains by keeping your sinks clean, and, in most cases, dry. Establish a cleaning routine that includes scrubbing and wiping down your sinks daily, and you'll find that most stains are a thing of the past. Doing so can extend the life of your sinks by years.