LESLIE: Janice in North Carolina needs some help cleaning stainless steel. What are you working on?
JANICE: My kitchen sink, it’s fairly new and it looks terrible on the bottom and I’ve tried the different special cleaners made for it but they don’t seem to work.
LESLIE: When you say “terrible,” you mean you see almost like scratches and circular patterns from maybe where you put a pot or a pan down?
JANICE: Yes, and rusty – kind of rusty looking.
LESLIE: Well, the rust, that’s what happens when you put dissimilar metals together for some time. I’ve accidentally done this in my own sink when I’ve taken a pan and maybe there was something baked on and I put water and dish detergent in it and then sat the pan in the bottom of the sink and left it over night. The next day I found like a square mark and rust from the two metals sitting together and that’s because they’re different metals.
The only thing that you can do there is use like a Brillo or very, very fine steel wool and you want to sort of go in the grain of the steel – you’ll see that there’s a grain to the stainless itself – jut because you want to get rid of that stain, that rust stain. And that generally works but don’t leave a pot or a pan in there that’s not stainless steel overnight or for an extended amount of time because you’re going to end up with that happening again.
JANICE: OK. What about the other stains? Is there anything for that?
LESLIE: You know, nothing, Janice. Even though the stainless steel is a very durable material, when you put a plate down and it’s got that unfinished ceramic edge and then maybe put a couple more plates on top and then one twists and turns, you’re going to end up with these sorts of marcations on it and the stainless steel cleaners, I mean they do a great job of cleaning the stainless and making the stains go away; it doesn’t make the scratches go away.
TOM: You know what I use is Barkeeper’s Friend – it’s a cleaner and a polish and it works really, really well. We used it on our stainless steel sink and now we use it on our Corian sinks, too, and it really does a good job of cleaning it up.
JANICE: OK, I’ll try that.
TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.