Due to it’s durability and cost, stainless steel is one of the most popular materials for sinks. Stainless steel is a naturally shiny metal that resists rust and corrosion and is also a symbol of cleanliness. In the kitchen, the grain of brushed stainless steel can become clogged with grease and grime, dulling the signature shine. Even after scrubbing with cleaning fluids, the sink may look dull and lack luster.
To bring back that natural shine, scrub the sink with a gentle abrasive. Homemade soft scrub is great way to quickly restore the shine. Stainless steel sinks are easy to clean with a number of products that most households keep on-hand. Mild abrasives that will work to clean and shine the sink include table salt, baking soda, borax, and washing soda.
Sprinkle salt over a wet sink and scrub with a piece of lemon. Citric acid in the lemon works with the salt to lift grime and cut grease. Vinegar will also work to the same effect. Use household white vinegar, because it is the most cost-effective. Vinegar on its own is good for a final rinse to restore extra shine after cleaning.
To make homemade soft scrub that will restore the shine to stainless steel, combine a squirt of dish detergent or liquid laundry detergent with few tablespoons of any of the three mild abrasives, baking soda, borax, or washing soda. Soft scrub works best when applied with a sponge, cleaning cloth, or scrub brush. Avoid using scouring pads that can mar the brushed steel. Abrasives can also be sprinkled on the sink, like scouring power, and scrubbed with a sponge or soapy brush. The fine abrasive power goes deep into the grain of the brushed stainless steel and the foaming action of the detergent helps lift off all of the embedded dirt.
Borax and washing soda are both found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store. These two laundry amendments are also great utility cleaners around the house. Borax is milder than washing soda and is better at removing odors. Borax is the best choice for making a homemade soft scrub for stainless steel. Washing soda has a stronger pH than borax and generally has coarser granules. Washing soda is very effective, but it is also very harsh and drying. Always use gloves while working with washing soda.
Homemade soft scrub will keep a stainless steel sink shiny for quite some time. For maintenance between scrubbings, wipe the sink out with a brush or soapy sponge after every use. Rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and club soda all prevent build-up, streaks and maintain shininess.
Drains are one of the dirtiest and hardest parts of the sink to clean. To restore the shine to the grill over the drain, a little bit of commercial drain cleaner can be poured down the drain. The extremely high-pH of these drain cleaners eats away the very top layer of the metal, revealing a clean shiny surface underneath.
Stainless steel is very resistant to rust and staining, but prolonged contacted with acids and corrosive substances can degrade the protective coating. Stainless steel is an alloy made from a blend of metals, mainly iron, chromium, nickel and manganese. The addition of 11% chromium is what makes steel stainless. Chromium reacts with the air to maintain a rust resist coating of chromium oxide. Every time the stainless steel is cleaned more chromium oxide is produced. For this reason, regular cleaning is very important.