How to Refurbish a Stainless Steel Sink

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Stainless steel is an affordable and durable kitchen sink material option, but the finish is also susceptible to scratching and dulling.
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Is your once shiny stainless steel kitchen sink looking a little dull? Stainless steel is an affordable and durable kitchen sink material option, but the finish is also susceptible to scratching and dulling. It's relatively easy to freshen up and refinish a stainless steel sink to return it to its shiny glory.

Thorough Stainless Steel Cleaning

Sometimes a dull stainless steel sink just needs a deep cleaning to remove the gunk and debris that builds up with regular use. Whenever you clean or scrub your sink, go with the grain of the stainless steel to prevent scratches.

Wet the sink, sprinkle baking soda all around to lightly cover the surfaces and then scrub the sink. The baking soda works as a subtle scrubbing powder that won't scratch the surface. It can also help minimize tiny scratches.

Spray some distilled vinegar over the baking soda after you're done scrubbing. Vinegar disinfects the surfaces and helps remove water spots because of its acidity. The fizzing caused by the vinegar touching the baking soda can also help clean away grime. Rinse the sink well to remove all of the vinegar and baking soda.

Tackle Remaining Spots

If the vinegar and baking soda don't work on certain spots, try mixing cream of tartar and vinegar into a paste. Rub the paste into the spot with a soft cloth, and let it rest for at least five minutes. Rinse the paste mixture thoroughly.

Use Olive Oil

Olive oil can give your stainless steel sink a shiny finish and minimize small scratches. Rub the olive oil into the stainless steel using a soft cloth. Wipe off the excess oil using a clean cloth. You can repeat the olive oil application if some scratches are still visible.

Club soda can also improve the look of your sink, especially if you have heat marks on the metal. Plug the drain and pour club soda into your sink. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the surfaces of the sink.

Use Stainless Steel Scratch Remover

Several products on the market, including Bar Keepers Friend, help remove scratches from stainless steel surfaces. Add just a little water at a time to the powder to create a paste with toothpaste consistency. Rub the paste into the scratches, going with the grain, using a microfiber cloth to buff out the scratches. Rinse the sink thoroughly.

You can also find stainless steel scratch remover kits for major scratches. They usually come with a polishing product and abrasive pads with different coarseness levels. Always read and follow the specific instructions for your kit to prevent more scratching. The kits usually start with a coarse pad and move to a softer, smoother pad to polish and restore stainless steel sink finishes.

Remove Rust Spots

Leaving cast iron cookware and other metal in your sink can cause rusting. Using cream of tartar and lemon juice that's mixed into a paste can help remove rust. Spread the paste on the rust and then rinse it off. Apply more paste and let it sit longer if the rust doesn't come off immediately.

Avoid Harsh Products

Any harsh cleansers or cleaning tools can damage the sink and cause the need to repair the stainless steel sink finish again. Avoid bleach, which can damage the finish. The chlorine in the bleach causes a damaging reaction with the stainless steel.

When choosing cleaning tools, stick with soft cloths, nylon bristle brushes or sponges. Avoid abrasive sponges, wire brushes and steel wool, which are too harsh for the metal surface. Metal tools can also leave behind particles that can eventually rust.

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Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.

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