Stainless Steel Sink Care: Common Complaints / Solutions

This is a reprint of the Stainless Steel Sink Care instructions that come with all Eclipse sinks.

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Scratches: Stainless steel is hard, but is can and will scratch. Some sinks come with a fine grain or brushed pattern. Scratch removal can be very easy or tough to accomplish depending on the severity and pattern of the scratch. The deeper and more perpendicular the scratch to the brushed pattern of the original finish, the more difficult it will be to remove the scratch, but rarely impossible. If your sink has a brushed finish, you must scrub in the same direction as the brushed finish. Fine scratches can be removed with some buffing using the coarse side of your typical Scotch-Brite sponge. There are also specialty products for scratch removal, such as Scratch-BGone (

Multicolored Stains or Residue on the Bottom of Sink: These problems are most commonly traced to minerals contained in your water. They can also be caused by salts from water softeners. Even cleaners can cause the problem…ones that have an oil base. These stains can be removed by using Shiny Sinks or Bar Keepers Friend ( in most cases. Rinse well and then dry the sink to see what happens.

Rust Marks / Rings in the Sink: Many people think stainless steel does not rust but it will under certain conditions.  The Chromium in the sink interacts with atmospheric Oxygen to form Chromium-Oxide, a thin protective film to resist rust formation.  If this film is interrupted, such as by a rubber pad people often use to protect their sink from scratches, rust can form.  Or if the sink is in prolonged contact with Iron containing products, rust can form. Another common cause of rust is contact with Halogen salts common in household products, such as Chlorides in bleach.  The Chloride breaks the Chromium-Oxide barrier and accelerates rust formation.  It is generally safe to use bleach but user must rinse well afterwards so the Chromium-Oxide can reform.  If not rinsed, rust will occur.  In the early stage, the rust stains are simple deposits on the surface of the sink and scrubbing with an abrasive cleanser will almost always solve the problem. For more severe rust, try Citrisurf (—22-oz-Bottle-P137C0.aspx) along with scratch removal techniques.

Corrosion is a real threat. Construction chemicals, solvents and household cleaners often contain chlorides and acids which can react and damage stainless steel. Muriatic acid, which might be in grout cleansers or PVC pipe solvents can possibly cause problems. If a dangerous chemical gets on the sink, wash it immediately with water. Rinse well and dry the sink with a towel.

Do’s and Don’t

DO– Rinse, Rinse, and Rinse Again. Rinse your sink well after each use. Not only spray, but rub with a clean cloth or paper towel as the clean water is flowing. Simply spraying will not remove all residue or harmful deposits.

DO– Perform Regular Cleaning.  It is very helpful to regularly clean the sink with a mild or ultra mild abrasive cleaner. This will help keep the sink look shiny and new. Remember to follow grain marks that are already present.

DO– Dry the Sink after Rinsing.  Unless pure distilled water flows from your faucet (usually this happens only in chemistry labs), there will be dissolved minerals and salts in your water.

When the rinse water evaporates, the minerals/salts are left behind. These are the same water spots you see on your car finish. If you dry your sink after rinsing, these spots will not form. If you have hard water deposits, try to use a little white vinegar to remove them. After removal, rinse and dry the sink.

DON’T– Rubber Mats.  Rubber mats cause big problems with stainless steel. They can trap harmful cleaning chemicals which will not be rinsed away. The water and cleaners is trapped between the rubber and the steel and never dries.  Stain and rust will occur.

DON’T– Steel Wool Pads. Do not use steel wool to clean a stainless steel sink. Small steel fibers will be left behind which will rust. Use a nylon or some other synthetic cleaning pad to scour the sink.

DON’T– Allow Cleaners or Detergents to Dry on Surface. Cleaners and detergents often contain harmful chemicals that can corrode stainless steel. You can use them, but they must not be allowed to sit on the sink surface. In addition, do NOT fill the sink and allow a strong solution of chlorine bleach and water to sit in the sink. If you want to sanitize an object in a solution of chlorine bleach, use a bucket or other non stainless steel sink.

About Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson is Director of Business Development for ANO, Inc. an Independent distributor of plumbing accessories - sinks and faucets - primarily to countertop fabrication and installation industry. The are the exclusive distributor of Eclipse Stainless products in the Midwest. Tom is a former home builder. Past President of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago, winner of eight key awards for design and construction and he created over $200 million in new real estate.
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