How to Clean a Stainless Steel Acid Stain

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Things You'll Need

  • Latex gloves

  • Mask

  • Water

  • Spray bottle

  • Clean cloths or sponges

  • Baking soda

  • Ammonia


Stainless steel may develop water spots and streaks if allowed to air dry. To prevent them, towel dry the surface. If acid is a food item, gloves may not be imperative. However, open cuts can be irritated by cleaning agents.

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Many industrial and household work surfaces are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is created by melting chromium and steel to create an alloy, or blend, of the two metals. The combination creates a rust-resistant durable metal with an attractive sheen.

While rust is not a major risk, acidic chemicals react to metal and cause stains. While chemical spills are more common in industrial settings, there are acidic household items. Vinegar, citrus extracts and juices, and metal polishes and strippers are examples. While milder than laboratory chemicals, damage may still result. There are several steps to removing acid stains.

Step 1

Cover hands with protective gloves to avoid skin irritation from chemicals or cleaners. Latex gloves or dishwashing gloves will suffice. In addition, if stain is caused by a chemical, wear a mask. If an acidic food item is the culprit, a mask is not necessary.

Step 2

Rinse the stained area with water. If the surface is vertical, a spray bottle is effective. If the surface is flat with no border or lip, use towels to prevent soiling the floor.

Step 3

Combine equal amounts of baking soda and water. Rub ingredients into a paste. To reach crevices, add more water to dilute into a liquid form.

Step 4

Assess the spill. If baking soda is ineffective or not available, soak the stained area with ammonia.

Step 5

Flush the stain thoroughly to remove cleaners. Wipe area with a cloth if the surface area is vertical.

Step 6

Dry the cleaned surface. Use a soft cloth to prevent scratches.


Christina Riopelle

Christina Riopelle is a Michigan-based writer. She attended the theater management program at Wayne State University. She is past President of The Vintage Fashion Guild, an international educational and trade organization and has volunteered for several other nonprofits. Since 2006 she has authored several blogs and writes for various websites.