How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink

Follow these simple steps and make your sink shine like it's brand-new.

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Undermount sink with blue countertop and modern Kohler faucet.

Kohler Strive Sink

Learn how to remove water spots and add shine to your stainless steel sink.

Photo by: Kohler

Kohler

Learn how to remove water spots and add shine to your stainless steel sink.

We love the look of a stainless sink in the kitchen, but nobody seems to talk about how often you need to clean it to keep its appearance shiny and fresh.

Even in a home without hard water or mineral deposit issues, a stainless sink is prone to water spots and will quickly attract gunk. In our home, it looks its worst when food particles dry in the bottom of the sink instead of filter into the disposal or drain trap. Very gross!

While you might make it a habit to wipe down the inside of the sink with a soapy sponge, two of our favorite methods for cleaning a stainless steel sink involve using a melamine eraser and either baking soda or the trusted Bar Keeper's Friend cleaner. While the suggestion to use a product like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser gets mixed feedback across the Internet, a representative at the company assured me that it can be used on stainless steel sinks (as well as many other approved surfaces) when used as directed on the product packaging. And, for what it's worth, we've used it on our sink for five years and it has never caused scratches.

You'll Need

Step 1: Remove Accessories

Relocate any accessories you keep in your sink: the sponge holder, the bottom sink rack and the sink drain strainer.

Step 2: Wet Stainless Steel Surface

Wipe down the entire stainless steel surface with a damp cloth or spray it with your faucet.

Step 3. Sprinkle Cleaner

Both baking soda and Bar Keeper's Friend cleaning products are non-abrasive, making them perfect for cleaning stainless steel. If you sprinkle it lightly across the walls and bottom of your sink, it'll stick to the moisture and begin to do its job. Some tutorials suggest that using white vinegar in conjunction with baking soda will add extra oomph, but I've found that the powder alone is enough to agitate tough grime.

Cleaning a stainless steel sink with Bar Keeper's Friend and a Magic Eraser is safe.

Bar Keeper's Friend is a non-abrasive cleaner that's safe for stainless steel.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Bar Keeper's Friend is a non-abrasive cleaner that's safe for stainless steel.

Step 4: Wipe the Surface with a Magic Eraser

Rather than scrub the cleaner with a regular sponge, we find that using a wet Magic Eraser clears mineral deposits and food particles that adhere to the surface.

Note: You don't need to scrub aggressively! The combination of the sponge and the cleaner does a great job tackling buildup with minimal effort.

Cleaning a stainless steel sink with Bar Keeper's Friend and a Magic Eraser is safe.

Wipe the stainless steel with a melamine sponge.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Wipe the stainless steel with a melamine sponge.

Step 5: Rinse Stainless Surfaces

Use the sink faucet to rinse the cleaner down the drain. You'll likely see that the surface becomes hydrophobic, repelling the water and exhibiting a flawless shine.

Cleaning a stainless steel sink with Bar Keeper's Friend and a Magic Eraser is safe.

The stainless steel is cleaned in minutes.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

The stainless steel is cleaned in minutes.

Step 6: Dry With an Absorbent Towel

Wipe down the sink with an absorbent cloth or microfiber towel to remove water drips. Looks like new!

While you're at it, clean the garbage disposal, too

Grime and food particles settle into the garbage disposal, leading to smells and a dirty drain. While we like running ice cubes with lemon peels through the disposal periodically to cleanse and freshen it, scrubbing at the disposal while cleaning the sink helps a lot, too. The process that works best for me is:

More Advice

How to Clean Stainless-Steel Appliances

Say goodbye to streaks and smudges with our top DIY and store-bought cleaning methods.

Add Shine to Your Appliances
  • Turn the garbage disposal off, then disconnect the disposal from its power source. You way also want to flip the circuit breaker that controls power to your disposal to the "off" position. Confirm the disposal is not getting power by flipping on the disposal's power switch.
  • Wet a long-handled bristled brush.
  • Sprinkle Bar Keeper's Friend on the bristles.
  • Extend the bristles into the garbage disposal. Scrub at the walls and around the blades.
  • Pull the brush out. The interior of the disposal will rinse out as you finish cleaning the stainless-steel sink.

Will Dawn Dish Soap Clean a Stainless Steel Sink?

Yes, it does a fine job! This everyday dish soap works well on grease and grime, and if you're using it on your dishes, it's easy enough to wipe down the rest of your sink at the same time. We don't find that it lends the same hydrophobic tendencies as Bar Keeper's Friend or baking soda and a Magic Eraser, but it does gently clean the surface of the sink without damaging it.

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