It is perfectly possible to make a stainless steel sink look new again even when it is old. All it takes is a bit of elbow grease and some regular care and your sink will look great again.
I bought my stainless steel sink second-hand from eBay. It is made by Franke which is a very high-quality brand, plus it came with a stainless steel Blanco 3 way tab including a built-in water filter. I only paid £35 for both items.
A brand new Franke sink and Blanco tap would have cost me around £1,000. I know this because when I bought mine second hand the very same models were still available to buy new.
As you can imagine I was ecstatic with my bargain. But, once I had it cleaned up I was even more amazed because it looked as if it was new!
I sometimes use affiliate links. When you click these links and make a purchase, I may get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything but it helps me to run this site.
The best chemical cleaner for stainless steel sinks
When my second-hand stainless sink arrived from eBay, it was very very dirty. Actually had it not been so grubby looking in the auction picture, I probably wouldn’t have won it for the price I paid for it, so I am very thankful!
After some searching, I came across a cleaner aptly named ‘Shiny Sinks’.
The Shiny Sink cleaner did a fantastic job of removing stains and watermarks. Not only that, it seemed to add a film that repelled water and helped to prevent new watermarks from appearing.
Here’s a picture I found from way back when it was newly cleaned and in use. You can just make out the Shiny Sink cleaner in the background. Despite the dishes and clutter, you can see that it is super shiny and looking like new!
Since that picture was taken, I have replaced the kitchen. But what did we keep? The sink!
How to clean your stainless steel sink naturally
Although I achieved a sparkling sink with a chemical cleaner, I prefer a more natural and frugal approach to cleaning and this chemical cleaner is a little too pricey for me.
Plus, my supermarket had stopped selling the Shiny Sink cleaner and the only place I could get it was Amazon.
So what is the best natural cleaner to make a stainless steel sink look new?
It turns out that it is a very simple answer which works as good as, if not better, than the commercial cleaner. Plain old baking soda and vinegar.
Baking soda is abrasive enough to clean up the stains without scratching the surface and vinegar dissolves the watermarks and kills bacteria. It’s a perfect combination.
If you don’t have vinegar to spare, a lemon works really well too. Find out more – How To Clean A Stainless Steel Sink With A Lemon
How to clean your stainless steel sink with baking soda and vinegar
Here is my sink before I started cleaning it. It has a small amount of rust and plenty of tea stains around the plughole, plus general greasy grime all over.
1. Sprinkle baking soda all over your sink
Baking soda is another name for bicarbonate of soda, whichever you have is just fine.
Sprinkle over as much baking soda as you need. I find I need about three to four tablespoons
Baking soda is perfect to use because it has lots of tiny scrubbing particles that get rid of dirt easily without scratching the surface.
2. Take a damp microfibre cloth and start scrubbing
For scrubbing, I recommend you use a microfibre cloth because it won’t scratch your stainless steel. The cloth needs to be damp rather than soaking wet because otherwise the baking soda crystals will dissolve too much and will reduce the scrubbing action.
Get your cloth wet and then ring it out tightly.
You can scrub for as long as you need to remove stains. Don’t worry about removing watermarks and limescale, that will disappear in a later step.
If you have rust marks or stains like tea they should rub off fairly easily.
(Make sure you wear rubber gloves, unlike me in this picture!)
The area around the plughole is usually the worst, you will need to give that area and the plug itself an extra scrub.
3. Spray with white vinegar
When you have finished scrubbing spray the whole sink and tap with vinegar.
There will be some fizzing action going on as the vinegar reacts with the baking soda, but this is all good and helps it to naturally lift dirt and get rid of hard water stains
4. Leave it to work for a few minutes
Now go and have a cup of coffee and relax while the baking soda and vinegar continue their work.
Rinse the whole sink and tap with water and give it a quick rub with a clean towel. Now is the time for an inspection.
If you can still see some watermarks, continue to the next step otherwise you can skip to step 7.
6. Spray with vinegar again
If you still have watermarks and limescale on your sink. Spray with vinegar again and then leave it to work.
You will need to repeat this step depending on how bad your limescale problem is.
Very soon you will end up with a stain-free gleaming sink.
7. Dry and buff
When you are happy give your sink a final rinse and buff it up with a clean towel.
How to make your sink shine like new
Do you need your sink to sparkle even more? Here’s a tip, rub a small amount of oil all around using a dry cloth. This will help your sink to repel water and dirt.
How to keep your stainless steel sink spotless at all times – six tips
Now you know how to make your stainless steel sink look new again, let’s keep it that way!
If you do all these things automatically it will always look great.
- Don’t leave your cloth in the bowl to gather and spread bacteria.
- Wipe your sink regularly with a microfiber cloth (make this job part of your daily 10 minute clean up strategy).
- Don’t rest metal cookware on it or anything else that might rust.
- Don’t use it as a cutting board.
- Don’t rub your sink with anything abrasive that might scratch it.
- Dry your sink after use to prevent the build-up of limescale.