How to clean a badly stained stainless steel sink?

During renovation works, the workers installed a new stainless steel kitchen sink. But during the construction, they also used the sink to wash up.

Now the sink is dull and stained. They used it for washing up cement, grouting, who knows what else, and even some acid used for cleaning up the ceramic tiles.

How can I restore the original shine to the sink? Already tried vinyl scouring pads and detergent but it doesn’t help

First, if grouts, mortar mix, thinset & sheetrock mud has been dumped down your sink, you might want to remove the p-trap & see if you have a build-up in the bottom. If I catch any of my personnel pouring any of that down a customer’s drain, they clean it out on their time or replace it at their cost.

Next, muratic acid (hydrochloric acid) is used to clean grout & mortar from tile & stonework & muratic acid will etch and discolor stainless steel. There are any number of grades of stainless steel & discoloration/staining can vary from mild to severe & possibly cleanable to to no hope scenarios.

Finally, many environmental agencies and/or water departments prohibit pouring these substances down the drain.

Having said all of that, I would put the contractor on the line for a sink replacement. It was his/her responsibility to deliver a new, undamaged sink to you.

The sand & grits in the grouts & mortars will scratch the SS & may not be removable without grinding, with the same being true of the acid stains.

If you want to try to clean it, here is a formula that might or might not work:

Ketchup – 1/2 cup
Vinegar – 2TBS
Salt – 1-2 TBS

Mix, spread paste on stain & let stand 30-45 minutes & repeat if necessary.

You can also try using lemon & salt. Cut the lemon in half, dip the cut face in the salt & scrub the stained area.

Good luck…

8 Responses to “How to clean a badly stained stainless steel sink?”

  1. benzhowz Says:

    If you’ve already used scouring pads, that’s bad news for stainless steel. But once you’ve cleaned it, and manufactures advice against, bleach will bring back the base, but you must dry it immediately and use stainless cleaner, restorer. It may take multiple applications and some earthly oils to prevent scour rust, but with a little luck and constant observation, it is possible to bring that beautiful shine back to its original luster.
    References :
    25 yrs exp.

  2. tzweeb Says:

    stainless steel is just metal and it can become dull if the wrong type of chemicals are put into it. you might want to have the construction company come back and check it out. i would want them to clean the stains or even replace the sink with a new one.
    you can also get a stainless steel cleaner and polish, at a grocery store or car parts supply, that might help to get some of the shine back, but make sure you are happy with that as you will be doing this forever to keep it looking good. also be careful to only scrub the sink in the direction of the grain so you dont put more scratches on the surface.
    References :

  3. jivepacketrat Says:

    I would go to a local hardware store and question them on what might clean up the stainless steel. I have noticed that bleach removes a lot of stains on stainless steel. Depending upon what the hardware store says, I might get the contractor to either clean the sink or replace it.
    References :

  4. W. C. Says:

    First, if grouts, mortar mix, thinset & sheetrock mud has been dumped down your sink, you might want to remove the p-trap & see if you have a build-up in the bottom. If I catch any of my personnel pouring any of that down a customer’s drain, they clean it out on their time or replace it at their cost.

    Next, muratic acid (hydrochloric acid) is used to clean grout & mortar from tile & stonework & muratic acid will etch and discolor stainless steel. There are any number of grades of stainless steel & discoloration/staining can vary from mild to severe & possibly cleanable to to no hope scenarios.

    Finally, many environmental agencies and/or water departments prohibit pouring these substances down the drain.

    Having said all of that, I would put the contractor on the line for a sink replacement. It was his/her responsibility to deliver a new, undamaged sink to you.

    The sand & grits in the grouts & mortars will scratch the SS & may not be removable without grinding, with the same being true of the acid stains.

    If you want to try to clean it, here is a formula that might or might not work:

    Ketchup – 1/2 cup
    Vinegar – 2TBS
    Salt – 1-2 TBS

    Mix, spread paste on stain & let stand 30-45 minutes & repeat if necessary.

    You can also try using lemon & salt. Cut the lemon in half, dip the cut face in the salt & scrub the stained area.

    Good luck…
    References :

  5. jeep32mudtaman Says:

    Use a brillo pad and really scrub it. It will bring that shine back immediately. Steel wool also works great. Since it is a stainless sink you need to get metal on metal in order of you to get the shine back. Nothing else will work.
    References :

  6. Julia Says:

    buy a new fucking sink
    References :

  7. Richard Says:

    SOS PADS
    References :

  8. M M T Says:

    Before you get into the chemicals and all that, try getting some Barkeepers Friend. It’s a powdered cleanser/polish that works wonders on metal of all kinds! It works great but isn’t damaging to the metal.

    When you do get the product, rinse the sink out with hot water, then generously sprinkle the powder over the area. Take a wet sponge and cover everything with the it. Then walk away for about 15 minutes at least. Yup, put down the sponge and walk away! After the break, scrub with a good sponge/cloth and you should see a big difference. Might have to treat the really bad spots several times.

    Honestly, I’d be after the contractor whose employees did it in the first place. There was/is no call for leaving a brand new sink in such a mess. I’d be telling the boss man that he is going to replace it!
    References :

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