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How to Remove Rust Stains from Stainless Steel Sinks [2 Quick Methods]

A kitchen with shining stainless steel appliances and worktops exudes a clean, professional vibe. But rusting your kitchen sink, worktops, and pots makes the aesthetic look worse than it is.

How to remove rust stains from stainless steel sinks?

You can remove rust stains from stainless steel in two ways. The first is to use baking soda as a cleaning solution. And the second option is using an oxalic acid-based cleanser. Oxalic acid-based cleaners are a great alternative when baking soda fails to remove rust. But both are effective.

There’s more to it. A more thorough explanation of these techniques is in order.

Let’s get into a brief discussion on this issue!

2 Removal Methods of Rust Stains from Stainless Steel Sinks

When it comes to steel, stainless steel is defined as having at least 10.5% chromium. To protect steel from corrosion, chromium is added.

A reaction between chromium and stainless steel occurs rather than oxidation and discoloration. It’ll generate a thin protective layer. 

While this protective layer can be wiped away, it soon regenerates. That is why stainless steel surfaces in a kitchen appear indestructible.

This gleaming substance is quite scratchable. Gleaming stainless steel takes considerable caution when removing stains without harming the finish.

So, we’re here going through 2 easy methods with step-by-step instructions for avoiding scratches. Here we go-

Method-1: Using Baking Soda

The chromium coating on stainless steel must be protected when cleaning, so care must be given not to be too harsh. 

Stainless-steel products might be difficult to remove if something becomes stuck or burnt. But when it comes to dispelling hard water stains from stainless steel, it’s easier than removing rust.

Cleaning with baking soda is environmentally safe and non-toxic, and it’s gentle enough for stainless steel. Retailers commonly carry this product at a competitive price.

Required Materials

  • Baking soda
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Paper towels

Step-1: Rinse and Apply a Baking Soda Coat

Rinse the entire surface area thoroughly with soap and water. Clean the surface and dampen it with a sponge or cloth after that.

Apply a layer of baking soda to the rusted area immediately, making it careful to coat it thoroughly.

Step-2: Leave It to Rest

Leave the baking soda layer to settle for anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour.

Step-3: Remove Rust by Scrubbing It Away

Roll up your sleeves and go to work scrubbing away. Scrub gently with a brush with a soft bristle. If your cleaning supplies are running low, you can use an old toothbrush.

Step-4: Rinse and Dry the Area

You can use a paper towel to gently clean a stainless steel sink or other surface. Wiping down can remove any remaining product.

Method-2: Using an Oxalic Acid-Based Cleaner

Wet cast-iron pans in the sink are a regular occurence. Then you’ve probably awoken to the dreadful sight of rust spread. Those can come across as a once-perfectly glossy stainless steel sink. 

Use a cleaner containing oxalic acid or a powdered form of oxalic acid in this case. It can be combined with water to boost your cleaning ammo.

Indeed, stainless steel doesn’t all behave the same way. Oxalic acid-based cleaners are a great choice when a baking soda bath isn’t cutting it. It’ll dissolve rust and remove stains.

Required Materials

  • Soft sponge 
  • Oxalic Acid Cleaner

Step-1: Pick and Use an Oxalic Acid Rust Remover

Applying oxalic acid to the affected area is as simple as reading and following the package directions.

Here we’ve added two best oxalic acid cleaners recommendations for your picking. So check them below:


Cleaners recommended these by the manufacturer are gentle enough to be used on delicate surfaces (a liquid cleanser free of grit). You can also pick these up at a local home improvement store.

Don’t use any chloride-based caustic cleaners. It’s because these chemicals will erode the steel’s chrome film further.

Step-2: Rub into the Stainless Steel’s Grain

It is possible to apply the cleanser with a soft, slightly damp sponge. Once it’s hardened, it should point in the direction of the grain lines in the metal. Again, this will need some effort, but the gleaming result will be well worth the effort.

Step-3: Clean and Air-dry

Finally, use new water to wipe up, then thoroughly dry with a soft towel. If the stain lingers, use warm water to rinse the cleanser and try again. Continue scrubbing until all the stain is removed, but don’t let the cleaner sit on for too long.

Rust Removal Worst and Best Practices

Scrubbing is required to remove rust from metal. Try to avoid steel wool, steel brushes, or cleaners containing fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine. Don’t use them to remove rust from stainless steel.

For the “stainless” surface to be corroded, it must be protected from chlorides. Abrasive cleaners and scouring pads like steel wool can cause scratches or worse. Also, they can leave a residue that can lead to more rust.

Stainless steel appliances should be kept dry to avoid future rust. Refrigerators are especially vulnerable if you live near the seaside. If you have little children who tend to pour into the fridge’s crevices, it can be more dangerous! 

A mop or an absorbent paper towel will quickly clean up any spills. Your beautiful stainless-steel kitchen will reward you.

Use warm water, mild soap, or dish detergent to clean and maintain your kitchen surfaces. Do it by a fast rinse with a moist cloth and thorough drying.

You can eliminate moisture by wiping away any standing water or droplets with another clean cloth. Sometimes, candle wax can make the same rust in your sink. But you can remove candle wax easily from the sink by following these techniques.

The best strategy to preserve stainless steel surfaces free of corrosion is to prevent it from ever happening. For the same reason, consistent upkeep can protect these surfaces in peak conditions.


Question: How to get the rust off without scrubbing?

Answer: It is possible to scratch stainless steel by using abrasive brushes or steel wool. The best solution is to avoid standing water and stains. Clean with mild cleaners with clothes or soft brushes.

Question: Can rust be removed by using bleach?

Answer: Bleach is not recommended for use on stainless steel. The surface can be damaged and stained if the solution is too powerful. Bleaching can make stainless steel more vulnerable to rust and discoloration.

Question: How long does it take vinegar to clear rust?

Answer: The rust must be broken down by the vinegar-and-salt solution over time. One to three days may be required for this procedure. Scrape the surface with a metal brush or steel wool after the rust has softened.

Bottom Line

Now you know how to remove rust stains from stainless steel sinks. Try to use the correct cleaners to get the removal process rightly done. Stainless steel can be damaged by some chemicals and abrasive items.

This concludes the conversation. Thank you for joining us!

I wish you a wonderful day!