How To Remove Chemical Stains From Stainless Steel Sink?

Ugly chemical stains on your stainless steel sink?

Looking for effective but safe ways to remove these?

On this post, we’ll share the simple but very effective ways to remove those harsh chemical stains from your SS sink.

To bring back the look of sleek sophistication to your stainless steel sink, read our guidelines on how to remove chemical stains from stainless steel sink.

Read along!

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is one kind of metal alloy that is consisted of steel with other elements such as iron, Chromium, aluminum, silicon, and carbon. In many cases there is a significant amount of molybdenum and nickel.

In general, stainless steel contains 10.5 to 17.5% chromium, 3 to 5% copper and 3 to 5% nickel.

  • The addition of Chromium makes the stainless steel rust resistant and durable.
  • Nickel increases the corrosion resistance properties making stainless steel durable against aggressive usage.
  • Molybdenum helps stainless steel to be corrosion resistant against scarring.
  • Other alloying elements improve the structure and properties of stainless steel.

The rust resistance level of stainless steel depends mainly on the elements used to produce it: the more Chromium, the more corrosion resistance.

What Can Stain Stainless Steel?

Wouldn’t we say a secret to you?

Stainless steel is “Stain LESS, but not “Stainless.”

That means it may stain. But it’s “harder to stain” steel.

So, who is the culprit responsible for staining on stainless steel?

The corrosion and stain resistant aspect of stainless steel is due to the chromium oxide that forms naturally on the stainless steel surface.

When chromium comes into contact to the oxygen of air it forms a thin and invisible film of chromium rich oxide. This layer provides the stainless steel its ability to resist rust and stains.

This protective layer of stainless steel objects may break down over time that leads to pitting and corrosion.

Stainless Steel Stains : Different Types

  • White Stains/ Water Stains/ Calcium Deposits
  • Pitting stains
  • Rust spots
  • Heat tint
  • Black or Grey Residue
  • Bleach stains
  • Chemical stains

Chemical Stain

Acidic chemicals react to steel which causes a stain. When stainless steel comes into contact with acid, chemical reactions occur which damage the steel.

Some chemicals such as hydrogen, chloride, hydrogen sulfide cause the protective layer of stainless steel objects to stress and crack.

There are many acidic household items such as citrus extracts and juices, Vinegar, strippers, metal polishes. Although these are milder than lab chemicals, these may damage the protective layer and damage steel.

Additionally, everyday acid-base household cleaners are also responsible for staining on steel.

How to Remove Chemical Stains From Stainless Steel Sink?

A piece of good news is stainless steel is very resilient and responds well to various cleaning processes. Fortunately, you’ll need some inexpensive items to remove the chemical stains from the stainless steel surface.

PPE: A mask, Gloves


Before you start the removing process, make sure you put on your gloves and mask to protect yourself from exposure to the harmful chemical.

To Remove Light/Minor Chemical Stains

Method 1

Steaming Clean Up Method/Vapor Cleansing Process : The Less Damaging Method

What You’ll Need

  • Kettle
  • Spout
  • Paper towel

Step 1: Heat and boil some water in the kettle

Step 2: Pour some the boiling water down the sink

Step 3:  Place the paper towel over the stain in the sink

Step 4: Again, pour down some boiling water into the towel to make it wet.

Step 5: Wait for about 5 to 10 minutes and let the surface cools down

Step 6: Rub stains off. Use a paper towel or soft cloth to rub. Make sure you rub it following the grain.

WOW, now a new looking, clean stainless steel sink is yours!

Method 2

Baking Soda And Liquid Dish Soap (Or Water)

What You’ll Need

  • Liquid dishwasher
  • Baking soda
  • Bowl
  • Paper towel
  • Old toothbrush/Nylon scrubber

Step 1: Take an equal portion of baking soda and liquid dish soap and mix it well to make a nice paste.

Alternately, you can use one tablespoon (14.4 g) baking soda and two cups (470 ml) water.

Step 2: Dab the past onto an old toothbrush or a nylon scrubber.

Step 3: Gently but thoroughly scrub the stain along the grain of the stainless steel

Step 4: Rinse the paste away using warm water.

Step 5: Wipe the surface of the stainless steel sink with a paper towel.

The stain will be gone!

To Remove Strong Chemical Stains

Baking soda can’t eliminate heavy chemical stains. Ammonia and water method is effective for tough stains.

Method 1:

Ammonia And Water Method

What You’ll Need

  • Ammonia
  • Spray bottle
  • Bowl
  • Cleaning Towel

Step 1: Pour down some water on the stain. You may use a spray bottle to spout water over the stain.

Step 2: Take an equal portion of ammonia and water. And mix them in a bowl to make nice paste. The paste will be neither too runny nor too thick.

Step 3: Cover the stain with this paste pretty well. And wait for a few (10 to 15) minutes.

Step 4: Wipe down the area of the stain with a cleaning towel. If need, clean up the area with a wet towel.


Be careful enough while handling ammonia. Don’t forget to wear down the gloves and mask.

Method 2:

By Using Vinegar

What You’ll Need

  • White Vinegar/apple cider vinegar
  • Soft towel/paper towel

Step 1: Pour a little amount of undiluted Vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar) on the stained surface.

Alternately, you may spray some vinegar on the stains by using a spray bottle.

Step 2: Wait for 5 to 10 minutes. The Vinegar will work to lift out the stains.

Step 3: With a soft towel rub the stained area following the grain.

Step 4: Wipe the Vinegar with a dry cleaning towel.

Method 3:

Use Stainless Steel Cleaner

For really tough chemical stain you may need to use a perfect sink cleaner and polisher. Try to use the best stainless steel cleaner that will clean without excessive scratching.

Make sure, you follow the instruction, rinse and dry the sink thoroughly.


Never mix cleaners because some products may react to create dangerous gases.

Last Thing to Do- Buff the Sink

Looking for the extra sparkle?

Whatever method you follow to remove the stain, you can easily add extra shine. You should buff the sink after cleaning.

You can use silicone-based spray or stainless steel polish to maintain the finish. Instead of store-bought products, you can also use mineral oils such as lemon oil or olive oil.

  • Follow the specific directions of the product you use.
  • Apply a bit of the buffing agent to a clean, dry cloth.
  • Wipe back and forth along the grain of the stainless steel


Never use solvents while smoking or in closed spaces.

How To Remove Stainless Steel Scratches

To repair or remove minor scratches, using a microfiber cloth and non- abrasive cleaner buff out the stainless steel.

To remove heavy scratches, you’ll need a piece of coarse-grit sandpaper.  Wet it and rub over the scratches following the direction of the grain.

Tips for Preventing Chemical Stains on Stainless Steel

Rather than removing such a mess of stain each time, it’s better to take preventive measures to keep it stain-free.

Here are some simple tricks to help you prevent stains on stainless steel in the first place:

  • Avoid using bleach or anything that contain chlorine.
  • Since most detergent and soaps contain chlorides, rinse your stainless steel sink after each use.
  • If you need to use oven cleaners around the stainless steel sink, shield the sink surface from exposure.
  • Avoid any type of abrasive cleaners.
  • Do not use wire brushes, steel wool or other abrasive cleaning tools on the sink.
  • Never scrub against the grain of the stainless steel.

Stainless Steel and Chlorine: In contact with water or as a damp gas chlorine can be a corrosion hazard to stainless steel.


That’s it!

Hope, these guidelines on how to remove chemical stains from stainless steel sink have helped you a lot to learn the ways to remove those ugly stains.

Give it a try and enjoy a clean, shiny stainless steel sink!

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