How to ACTUALLY Clean A Stainless Steel Sink
If you’re like me, then you pinned all sorts of blog posts about cleaning the crud and build up out of your stainless sink. Then you tried them all and found that no combination of baking soda, vinegar, peroxide, or prayer was ever going to actually get that crap out of the sink. I even considered whether it would be easier to just buy a new sink – easier? yes. cheaper? hell no! So back to the drawing board.
A while back, we rounded up a set of pre-loved stainless steel appliances, and as with most other things that have been “gently” used by others, it was going to take something a little stronger than elbow grease to get them to my standards of clean. Redding and I shopped around for options, and I tried them all. Finally, as if they were a gift from God himself, I finally came across the only two household metal cleaning products I will ever use again.
The new sink we installed seemed lovely and wonderful at first – nice and deep, modern square design – I can literally defrost two turkeys in each side of this sink if I’m ever so inclined! But the downside to this sink hit me like a ton of bricks after the first use – it doesn’t drain as well and it’s really easy for fats, oils, flour, and other general gunk to just get left behind. It’s literally a “sink crap” magnet.
Uggggg. Look at how skuzzy this is. This is seriously 2 weeks between cleanings:
So I stumbled onto this idea while I was power cleaning down to the wire with my parents coming to visit – can’t have skuzzy anything. I already had my two gem cleaners going on the appliances, and I got a call that they were seriously down the street. FML. As a hap-hazard last-minute thought, I decided that “the appliances are stainless, the sink is stainless, what could possibly go wrong?” I quick blasted through the cleaning with these two, and was floored by how new the sink looked. It was back to that nice showroom luster I had only seen once when we opened the box and I had assumed lost forever. What mystical cleaners could possibly be responsible for turning my mule of a sink into a unicorn? Meet Steel Meister and Bar Keepers Friend – both discovered at my local Home Depot. If yours doesn’t have Steel Meister, this one works well too: Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner.
So if you don’t believe the amazing-ness, than you need to buy these things and try them yourself. The process is simple (only takes 5 minutes), and I promise you’re going to be absolutely floored by the results and the possibilities.
Step 1: Lift out any grates, scrub them off, set them aside. Shake the you-know-what out of the Bar Keepers Friend (because it separates) and squirt a liberal amount into the sink. If I measured it, it would probably be about a 1/4 cup.
Step 2: Scrub the bottom using a low-abrasion scrubbing sponge. Scotch brite makes a good one for pots and pans that is perfect for not adding scratches to the sink. Notice I’m not wearing my ring here and you’ll understand why as soon as you smell this stuff working – it may be an ingenious chemistry experiment, but it’s a chemistry experiment none the less. The metallic smell means it’s reacting with (and lifting away) the non-metal parts of the sink. It does amazing things against rusty build ups on my steel wok and cookie sheets too, but that’s a story for a different day.
Step 3: Rinse away the Bar Keeper’s Friend and be sure not to leave any – I imagine from how well it works, that it’s probably pretty corrosive if you just leave some behind. I don’t wear my ring when I use it because I don’t want it to get eaten. I have also noticed that this cleaner makes your nails more brittle and your skin more dry, so wear gloves if you’ve got them, otherwise wash with soap and water well after you’re done cleaning.
At this point, it probably looks pretty good and unless you’re striving for “showroom”, you can honestly stop after the Bar Keepers Friend if you’re just clearing out the goo in a normal weekend cleaning, but if you’re entertaining, or just want to amaze yourself, go the extra step for that mystical sparkle.
If you’re going to continue, Step 4 is to dry out the sink with some paper towels:
Step 5 on sparkle quest is to add a small spray of Steel Meister into the bottom of the sink. This stuff is an oil, so a little goes a long way.
Step 6: Use a dry paper towel to wipe the Steel Meister around the sink, trying to leave as little as possible behind.
And wahlah! The sink is sparkling like new again! So just a recap, get the gunk out with Bar Keepers Friend then make it look brand new again with Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner. Now go make your Pinterest-failing friends jealous of your shiny new sterile sink!