How to clean and maintain your Stainless steel sink
Some Basics: why does Stainless steel resist corrosion?
Stainless steel must be cleaned to keep it looking beautiful and to maintain its ability to resist corrosion. The beautiful surface of Stainless steel is protected from corrosion by a thin layer of chromium oxide. Oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form this passive chromium oxide film that protects the Stainless steel surface from further corrosion. When the surface is contaminated by dirt, sand, or other materials, this passivation process is hindered and corrosive agents are trapped, allowing corrosion to ocurr.
Some form of routine cleaning is necessary to preserve the appearance and integrity of the surface. Stainless steel is easily cleaned by many different methods. The surface will actually thrive with frequent cleaning. Unlike some other materials, it is impossible to “wear out” stainless steel by excessive cleaning.
In the case of scratches and surface blemishes in brushed Stainless steel, it is necessary to repair the actual grained surface and replace the passive chromium oxide film to renew its resistance to corrosion and to blend the repaired area with the rest of the surrounding surface area so that it is not noticeable. (Yes, we know you were probably told that once you scratch the surface of Stainless steel, you were just out of luck. There is a solution now! It is called Scratch-B-Gone! More about that below.)
General Maintenance Guidelines and Good Practices
Things to Avoid
- Avoid allowing food or beverage residue, metal canned products, or mild steel or cast iron cookware to remain on Stainless steel surfaces for long periods of time. This can result in damage to teh surface, like staining or corrosion.
- Never cut directly on a Stainless steel surface.
- Never set hot pans directly on a Stainless steel surface.
- Avoid scouring a Stainless steel surface across the satin finish lines. Scouring across the satin finish lines can damage the original Stainless steel grain finish. Never use an abrasive scouring pad like a 3M pad. (There is a new type of scouring pad that is safe for Stainless steel.)
- Don't allow liquid soap or other household cleansers to dry on the Stainless steel surface. Most brands contain chemical additives, which will affect the finish.
- Never leave solutions of chlorine bleach and water on your Stainless steel surface for extended periods of time. Chlorides, which are found in most soaps, detergents, bleaches, and cleansers, are very aggressive to stainless steel. If left on too long they can cause surface pitting.
- Don't use a steel wool pad to clean your Stainless steel. Steel wool pads have a tendency to break apart and small particles of steel can become embedded in the surface of the sink. The steel particles will rust and will give the appearance that the Stainless steel itself is rusting.
- Never leave wet sponges, cloths, or cleaning pads on the Stainless steel surface. This can lead to surface rust.
Things to Do
- Rinse or clean surface after use. Clean with warm, soapy water. For heavier cleanup use a safe, non-abrasive sponge.
- Avoid caustic chemicals. Avoid exposing your appliance to strong chemicals, such as paint removers, oven cleaners, etc. If contact occurs, quickly flush the surface with water.
- Remove excess moisture. Towel dry after each use to prevent mineral deposits from building up on the surface of your appliance.
- Follow the grain. When cleaning the Stainless steel surface of your sink, be sure to rub in the direction of the grain finish lines.
*These guidelines were initially adapted from "The Care and Cleaning of Stainless Steel" by The Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) by Restore It Yourself, Inc.
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Today's Featured Solution
The Scratch-B-Gone Home Kit
Great Value: Good for up to 20 Repairs.
Works like a 'Magic Eraser' on scratches,
chemical stains, rust and heat scorching.
Beyond General Cleaning: how to fix what Stainless steel cleaners and polishes can't.
Use Scratch-B-Gone to repair your sink if it has become scratched, stained or even rusted.
Step 1 “Determine Direction of the Grain”
Scratch-B-Gone is only for Stainless steel surfaces that have a grain. It is not to be used on mirror, polished or clear coated Stainless steel.You must always work in the direction of the grain on your Stainless steel appliance, sink or grill since Scratch-B-Gone works to repair the surface by restoring the original grain pattern.
Step 2 “Restore surface using special abrasives and Ultra Shine™”
Choose correct abrasive for repair:
- Burgandy strip - For deep scratch removal.
- Burgandy pad - For medium scratches on coarse grain surface. Follows Red strip.
- Brown pad - For light to medium scratches on a fine, tight grain.
- Grey pad - For scuffs, light scratches, stains, and rust.
- Apply Ultra Shine™ cutting lubricant and surface oxidant sparingly to abrasive pad.
- Apply abrasives to Stainless steel surface, always following the grain.
Step Three “Wipe and Polish”
For more information about how to use Scratch-B-Gone to maintain and restore Stainless steel visit http://www.scratch-b-gone.com for more before-and-after photos, video demonstrations and customer testimonials.
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"It is a rare event to find a needed product that works 100% as advertised. I must congratulate your company as one of the few that lives up to it's promises. I purchased Scratch-B-Gone about 3 weeks ago to mend my brand new stainless steel sink. Last June I invited friends to visit and see my kitchen renovation. During the evening a pan was dragged in my sink and left an 8" scratch. To say the least, I was very upset, and thought the only option would be to replace the sink. I found your site on the Internet and thought "I really have nothing to lose" so I ordered your home kit. Today I finally had some spare time and decided to give it a try. Yes, I read the directions, and watched the DVD but must admit I was a little nervous about attempting the repair.
Well, what can I say? A picture is worth a thousand words, so I've enclosed some of my sink for you."