How Do I Clean the Stains Out of a Plastic Sink?

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Most acrylic sinks are white or off-white, which makes them highly susceptible to stains.
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Plastic sinks are often found in laundry rooms, art studios, barns or utility and storage spaces. Industrial workers will often use them to wipe off paint and debris from their hands and arms. Although these utilitarian sinks are useful, getting acrylic sink stains clean can be a bit of a challenge. Traditional cleansers used for porcelain sinks may be too harsh for acrylic, but normal dish soap and water are likely not strong enough to get the stains out. Fortunately, there are simple household ingredients that can help you eliminate the stains from a plastic sink.

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Care of Acrylic Sinks

Most acrylic sinks are white or off-white, which makes them highly susceptible to stains. Acrylic is a durable material, but it doesn't have the durability of porcelain, which means that heavily acidic cleansers can burn holes in the sink's surface. This is why it can be difficult to settle on the correct products to keep an acrylic sink clean.

Many people think they need acrylic cream polish or an acrylic sink polishing compound to remove stains from the surface of a plastic or acrylic sink. This is not strictly true. There are several products that people may use that are dedicated to cleaning out an acrylic sink, but the reality of the situation is that household products work just as well, generally speaking.

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Caring for acrylic sinks requires regular maintenance. However, because acrylic sinks are often used to clean off industrial materials or paints, it is very easy to get hard-to-remove stains on them, even if you're keeping up with cleaning regularly. After every use of a sink, spray the surface with a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. This will not only disinfect the sink, but it will also help remove any surface stains.

Cleaning Acrylic Sink Stains

Sometimes, acrylic sink stains require the application of a gentle acid or other substance to clear off the stains from the surface of the sink. Baking soda is a popular alkalizing cleansing agent that can break up the bonds causing the stain on the surface of your sink. Work the baking soda into the stain with a strong sponge, then spray it with white vinegar. This will create a bubbly cleansing foam.

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Scrub the bubbling vinegar and baking soda into the stains and the surface of the sink, allowing it to sit for about 20 minutes. Then, rinse with cool clear water. If the stains remain, it is worth making a paste of baking soda water and allowing it to sit on the stain before attempting to scrub it again.

Additional Stain Removing Techniques

If you can't fully remove the stains on the surface of your sink, you might be tempted to try to clean the stains off using alcohol. Cleaning acrylic with isopropyl alcohol is generally safe, but if you prefer to use a non-toxic method that won't create unpleasant fumes and smells in your space, you should consider a different sort of abrasive cleanser.

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Barkeeper's Friend is a popular and commonly used abrasive cleanser that is known for removing surface stains on diverse materials, from stainless steel to acrylic. With a consistency similar to baking powder, Barkeeper's Friend contains oxalic acid, which can help to break up the bonds between stains and clear them from the surface of your sink.

Using Barkeeper's Friend, apply a liberal amount to the surface of the stain and create a paste with water. Allow the paste to sit on the stain for around 30 minutes. Then, scrub in a circular motion over the surface of the stain. Rinse with cool water. Repeat the process until the stain is removed. After the stains are removed, apply an acrylic cleanser like Gel Gloss with a soft cloth to seal the surface of the acrylic sink and prevent additional stains from taking hold.

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Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.