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How to Prevent Rust in Stainless Steel Sinks

How to Prevent Rust in Stainless Steel Sinks

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Stainless steel is no less than a magical product of modern technology, but most of us don’t know what adds this magic to stainless steel and why steel is “stainless.” Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge leads us to make the wrong purchase and suffer the consequences.

This might make you wonder, what can be the possible consequences of making a wrong purchase or carelessly treating our stainless steel sinks?

The one-word and straightforward answer to this are “Rusting.”

Let us dig a little deep to understand rusting and how we can prevent it?

The science behind the process of Rusting?

First of all, to prevent rusting, it is essential to understand this process’s cause and chemical background.

In simple words, rusting is an oxidized layer or coating that occurs due to a reaction between oxygen and moisture. Oxygen is a very active element that chemically loves to react with other parts. When steam hits the surface of the steel, oxygen in this moisture reacts with steel, and as a result, rust occurs. This pretty much explains that rusting is a natural process.

The primary and most basic way to stop this process is to prevent direct contact between steel and water. This can be done by coating the metallic surface with either galvanizing, painting, or powder coating. This will prevent oxygen from directly making bonds with the metal surface and engaging it with the outer layer.

But wait, we are discussing stainless steel sinks here. This might make you wonder how a stainless steel sink can rust when it is meant to be stain-proof?

Why is the stainless steel sink rusting?

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To get a clear answer to this here is a brief introduction to

What is stainless steel?

Steel is a metal alloy with iron being its primary component and other elements like carbon, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, and oxygen completing the rest of its composition.

Now regular steel is much more prone to corrosion and other effects that can affect metal quality. So to avoid this, metallurgists experimented and created this better and more innovative version of steel that we today know as stainless steel.

Difference between stainless steel sinks and ordinary steel sinks:

The only component that makes stainless steel different from the standard average steel is Chromium. Therefore, about 20-30 of Chromium is added to the metal alloy. In addition, in some examples, small amounts of nickel and manganese are added to increase this metal alloy’s strength and durability.

How Does Chromium work?

Chromium reacts with oxygen and forms chromium oxide. Chromium oxide forms a layer on the surface of steel and prevents direct contact with iron and water, thus avoiding the formation of ferric oxide, i.e., rust. Another magical thing about the chromium oxide layer is that it automatically heals itself, so even if you have damaged it somehow, you need not fret.

Types of rust on a stainless steel sink?

Another essential thing to understand about rust from stainless steel sinks is the location of the rust stain. This is of prime importance because the site can hint at the reason for the rust.

Let us take a deeper look and understand what causes these two types of rusting of stainless steel sinks.

Stainless steel rust inside:

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Rust occurring in the innermost points of your stainless steel sink, such as joints, gaps, etc., is all because of the harsh chemicals you might be using to clean your stainless steel sink’s surface.

The common mistake people usually make to use the same cleaner for the countertops and sinks. These cleaners generally have bleach as their main component, which can be very abrasive toward your stainless steel surface.

We always advise not to use bleach-containing cleaning products even near the stainless steel sink as if these products come in direct contact with the stainless steel. They can initiate rusting. Instead, you can use the below-mentioned Diy’s to save your stainless steel sinks.

Rust on the underside:

If you see rust on the underside of your stainless steel sink basin, this is high time to check what is stored in the cabinet under your sink. People commonly use this cabinet to store many household chemicals, chemical containers, or cleaners such as bleach, acids, salt, lye, toilet-bowl cleaner, drain cleaner, or hard water stain removal products. not just this. Still, even worst, we sometimes store open containers in these cabinets.

Chemical fumes from these containers can destroy the protective layer on the surface of your sink. Therefore, to avoid these rust stains, you need to be mindful of what you store in this cabinet.

How can rust harm stainless steel sinks?

Rust can sometimes prove to be deadly for your stainless steel sink. This rust appears stingy to the eyes and destroys the visual aesthetic of your stainless steel sink, but it can also gradually weaken and eat the surface of your sink.

Sometimes, when only surface rust, it can easily be washed off by some simple DIYs. However, if you leave your sink unattended for months and use no rust treatment, be ready to see a withered and weak, ugly-looking sink in no time.

Regular maintenance is undoubtedly crucial for your sink.

How can I prevent stainless steel sinks from rust stains?

Here are a few tips to prevent your stainless steel sinks from rusting.

Rust appears only when a surface is left exposed to moisture. Make sure you dry your sink with a clean cloth every time you use it.

Do not leave wet objects, cast iron cookware, and other items in your sink, including food cans left from your dinner or lunch for hours. Cast iron pans and cast iron pots are the biggest enemies of your stainless steel sink.

Do not use steel wool, wire brushes, abrasive sponge pads, or dish scrubbing scrub sponge. Instead, use a soft bristle brush, wet paper towel, nylon scrub pad, non-scratch cleaning pads, and soft cloth to remove rust and clean a rusty sink. Abrasive pads have enough abrasive power to damage your stainless sink surface compared to soft-bristled brushes and fingernail brushes.

If you have slight OCD and cannot resist harsh chemicals in your kitchen, we suggest using rubber dish mats. With its waterproof and chemical-resistant nature, Rubber will save your stainless sink from rust. So leave rubber dish mats in your sink and use whatever you like to clean your kitchen counters.

Methods to remove rust stains?

Now the question remains, how to clean rust from stainless steel?

The simple answer to this query is to use the traditional DIY methods instead of the modern cleaning methods for removing rust from stainless steel.

What is the benefit of using DIY methods to remove rust stains?

Rust spots caused by chemicals, moisture, and other wet objects can quickly be cleared away without rinsing away the metallic particulate of the stainless steel fixtures. These can help whether the affected area covers a large chunk or just a tiny spot of the stainless steel sink.

Here is a list of a few ways to clear away the rust spots without using abrasive methods.

Baking soda Paste:

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The use of baking soda paste is not very uncommon in our households. With its ultra cleaning abilities and a very mild abrasive nature, you can be sure and comfortable that your sink is in safe hands.

All you need to do is take a tablespoon of baking soda and mix it with two cups of water. Mix it well and apply the paste to the target area. Leave it for some time and then wash away and clean with a paper towel. This beneficial baking soda paste is affordable stainless steel friendly, and easy to use.

You can also remove rust by sprinkling baking soda liberally on the target surface. Could you leave it to rest and then wipe it off?

Baking soda can do miracles when it comes to treating rust spots.

Oxalic acid:

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Good old oxalic acid can rescue you if you ever left cast iron cookware in a wet sink and woke up to rust conquering your crockery while running rampant on your once beautiful stainless steel sink.

All you need to do is use a cleaner with oxalic acid. This can be the good old barkeeper’s friend or potato peels. Yes! You got us right. If you want to get a smooth and more organic alternative to barkeepers, friend, here you are, use the lovely potato peels.

Potato peels are a brilliant oxalic acid source, rub a peel on the sink’s surface, and rub until the rust spot starts fading completely. Once gone, rinse off with warm water.

Vinegar method:

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If you have used all the methods mentioned above and the stain persists, worry not. We got you covered. Take a soft cloth, dip it in lukewarm water, pour some white vinegar on it, and gently scrub the surface where the spot appears.

This is yet another effective and valid way to clean rust from stainless steel. This method is a little concentrated yet milder than using bar keepers friend. You can add a drop or two of lemon juice to the cloth for better results. This can be effective when removing thick fluid like elbow grease and lighter fluid like oil stains from the sink surface.

Cream of Tartar:

Cream of tartar is yet another less abrasive, acidic, yet gentle rust remover. Just take a scoop of cream of tartar, rub it well on the target spot, and leave it to rest for 15-30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and dry the surface with a paper towel.

Final Thoughts:

Stainless steel is no less than a marvel when discussing materials used to manufacture sinks. This material can increase the glamour of the kitchen corner where your sink sits, but only if properly cared for.

If left unattended and handled carelessly, the same beautiful sink can ruin your entire kitchen theme. So, take some time and pay attention to these minute details and the needs your kitchen sink is screaming for.

Trust us when we say these efforts and care will all be worth it with the long-lasting glamourous sink you will get overtime.


Post time: Apr-06-2022