May 17, 2013

Myth or Miracle Cleaner Series: Shine Your Stainless Steel Sink with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Homemade Sink Cleaner Myth or Miracle Cleaner | Tried & Twisted

Step 1: Remove all dirty dishes so you can actually see your sink.
Step 2: Shriek at the grime and mess in your sink!
Step 3: Return all dirty dishes to the sink and walk away. Perhaps open a bottle of wine and pretend you don't have a sink anymore.

The kitchen sink is like the eyes to the soul of the kitchen and shows a very public face for guests. It should give a good first impression.

But evil things grow in the sink.

The kitchen sink takes a lot of abuse and if you have an older stainless steel sink, this abuse is very evident with smudges, hard water deposits, coffee stains, scratches, and sometimes rust stains that make you want to run screaming from doing the dishes to update to your tetanus shot. You don't have to call an exorcist, break out the bleach, or even buy expensive cleaning products to chase away the demons.

Today, I tried out a recipe for a DIY homemade stainless steel sink cleaner that claims to buff and shine the steel like new. Our sink has seen better days, since our older rental hasn't always received TLC, so it will be the perfect guinea pig to test out The Happy Home's tutorial for cleaning and bringing the shine back to a stainless steal sink.

While this process is based on the Happy Home's tutorial, I did change a few details of the process so read on below for my twist to the homemade sink cleaner.

Vinegar (about 2 cups)
Baking soda (about 1 1/2 cups)
Boiling water (about 1 quart)
Goo-Gone (apply as needed)
Olive oil (apply as needed)
Spray bottle
Paper towels or wash cloth

Homemade Sink Cleaner Before and After | Tried & Twisted
Before & After: Coffee stains and grime are gone! The polish couldn't hide the scratches sadly.

Step 1. Spray vinegar over the surface of the sink with a spray bottle.

Step 2. Sprinkle baking soda over sink by hand or through a large sifter to get an even covering without wasting extra baking soda.

Step 3. Boil a large pot of water while waiting for 10 minutes to let the baking soda and vinegar fizzle.

Step 4. Rinse the sink with the boiling water.

It's hard to rinse the edges without water ending up all over the counter top, so rinse the sides and basin and wash off the edges with a wash cloth. Be careful not to burn yourself!

Step 5. Spray more vinegar on the sink and scrub every surface with a sponge.

This is where you really start to see the reward for your effort. The coffee stains, grime, and dirt easily wiped away.

Step 6. Wipe the vinegar away with paper towels.

Step 7. Dampen a paper towel with goo gone and wipe down the sink.

This stage did the best at removing some of the caulk gunk and rust stains. Sadly, it only removed some of the heavy-duty rust and caulk gunk. I haven't had much better success with commercial products though, so I guess I can forgive it for that one failing.

Step 8. Dampen a new paper towel with olive oil and buff the sink to reach a high shine.

For a newer sink, this stage will do wonders. My friend Ali did this in her sink and the glare was nearly blinding. Sadly, my sink is older and has scratches on its scratches. It added some shine, but not enough to be noticeable.

Homemade Sink Cleaner Before and After | Tried & Twisted
A whole lot shinier, but this process couldn't eliminate all of the caulk grime and rust stains. Le sigh...

Rating of difficulty: 2 out of 5. This DIY cleaning process requires a little elbow grease, a bit of scrubbing, and a bit of time to complete all stages. Applying all of the ingredients without ending up with a mess on the counter top can prove to be a challenge too. It takes a little more time, but it's about as much work as scrubbing with a commercial cleaner.

Cheap: This cleaning method uses supplies that are probably already in your kitchen cupboard. You can buy most of these items in bulk or through discount brands, except for the Goo-Gone. Goo-Gone is often sold in smaller containers and only through the name brand, so this will add to the cost, but luckily, we don't have to use very much Goo-Gone.

Green? Well...depending on which environmentally-friendly expert you listen to, using baking soda isn't as green as you might expect. It is commonly made through a chemical process or mined from a non-renewable source in America, so it does have come at a cost to the environment. So this cleaning method doesn't use harsh chemicals, but it may not fit your goal of green cleaning.

Verdict: It works! As a cleaner, this process removed the hard water stains, grime, coffee stains, and some (but not all) of the rust stains. However, there is a debate in our household about whether or not the sink is actually shinier in the end. I think so, but my fella is not convinced. As he put it, it's not really as dramatic as an infomercial. The scratches are still visible, but I wasn't expecting the treatment to hide decades of scratches and dents.

If you're looking for a cheaper cleaner, this may be for you. If you're hoping to return your sink to a like-new shine, then this process may be a bit of a gamble. It can't do miracles, after all!

So I'll arbitrarily give it 10 points for cleaning power and 6 points for shine. I just made that up and the points don't matter

Now you can allow people in your kitchen without shame. You can still open that bottle of wine if you really want to. 

Have you ever tried an all-natural or green remedy to cleaning the house? What has and hasn't worked for you? Don't forget to share your idea for a DIY or thrifty homemade cleaners and I'll test it out at the end of the month.

Linking at:
Whimsy Wednesdays, Someday Crafts Whatever Goes Wednesday, Flaunt it Friday, Frugal Friday, Natasha in Oz, Mums Make Lists, Fidlin' Friday


  1. YAY! Nice Who's Line reference. That made me smile. :)

    Your sink got a lot of improvement. It's hard when you're renting and have no control over the past of how it was cared for. At least it's clean.

    Your three step process is very accurate, but it's also how we ended up with just one fork in our apartment... ;)

    1. Ha! I love your story about the "one fork"! It's definitely a good lesson against the dangers of procrastinating.

  2. I use baking soda and vinegar to clean so many things and when I had a stainless sink it worked like a charm. Now I have a butler's sink it works even better!

    I have pinned this and shared it on Twitter too-thanks for sharing at the Say G'day party!

    Hope to see you again this weekend!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    1. Thank you for sharing! I was so happy to find how well this worked, too.

  3. This is so great to know! I really need to clean my sink! Pinning! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    1. Thanks for pinning, Jenna! I love that this shine lasts for several months too, so it saves me so much time in the long run.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this. I have a stainless steel sink that I like to keep clean and shiny!

    1. My pleasure, Brandi! Thank you for stopping by!


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