by Amy Gordon
(last updated February 20, 2009)
Most people are surprised to see their stainless steel sinks getting stained, but the fact of the matter is they do get stained in brown, yellow, pink, and any other color you can imagine. These stains look ridiculous and they are extremely unhygienic. Moreover, stains created by iron and other metals can ruin entire plumbing fixtures. With these simple techniques, you should be able to remove these stains and bring your stainless steel sinks back to their original shine.
To maintain the hygiene of your kitchen, remove stains regularly. If you allow them to gather, they will penetrate the surface of your stainless steel become too difficult to remove. If you are using commercial cleaners, strictly follow the label instructions. Also, keep the windows open for proper ventilation while working with toxic acids.
Rust deposits along the edge of the sink are a common problem for those residing in an area with high iron content in the water. There are certain kinds of bacteria thriving in the water of such areas, which are responsible for creating this red or brown gunk in your sink. There are several ways of dealing with this problem. As rust stains vary with localities, you may have to experiment with more than one method to find out which works best for you.
A mixture of borax and lemon juice proves effective in certain areas. Apply the mixture to the rusty areas and let it dry before rinsing it away.
Oxalic acid is a very effective rust remover. To get the best results, rinse your sink after applying a solution of one part oxalic acid to ten parts water.
You can also try a combination of any scouring powder, cream of tartar, and peroxide. This mixture takes approximately half an hour to remove the stains. Simply scrub the stains, let the mixture sit, and then rinse it away.
When the water is too acidic, it is heavily laden with brass and copper contents. The result is blue or green stains in the sink and on all your plumbing fixtures. These stains slowly wear away all of your plumbing's fittings. Acidic cleaners or any all-purpose cleaner can remove these metallic stains. You can get acidic cleaners in all forms—many toilet or bath cleaners or kitchen cleaners available on the market are acidic.
Among household products, white vinegar is a very effective agent for removing brass and copper stains from sinks. Lemon juice, which contains citric acid, is as effective as vinegar.
Phosphoric acid, which can be helpful in removing these greenish stains, is commonly found in stain removing products, while oxalic acid is especially effective as a rust remover.
The diluted combination of hydrochloric and sulfuric acid is used to remove stains from bathroom sinks.
Before you use any acid, be sure to dilute it. To prevent any long-term damage to your fixtures, rinse acids off thoroughly after using them to clean off any buildup.
You can safely apply trisodium phosphate on plumbing fixtures that are not acid resistant.
Because of the presence of calcium and magnesium in water, hard deposits called lime scale gather on sinks. Common cleaners do not work effectively on these deposits. You can remove lime scale with any solution containing "sequestrants," which prevent minerals from chemically bonding with other minerals to produce scum, film, or lime scale.
Examples of some of the effective sequestrants are as follows:
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