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The Hotline: Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing. Ted Mooney, Webmaster


An ongoing discussion from 2003 through 2014 . . .


Q. I was spraying this product called "Zap" on a rusty grill and I had this grill over my stainless steel sink. I left the grill over my stainless steel sink with this zap solution dripping into my sink, now my stainless steel sink has this stain in it and I cannot get this stain off of my sink, please tell me what should I do to remove this stains.

Doris Johnson
- Charlotte, North Carolina


A. G'Day,
If you can paint on some pickling gel on the rusted area, you will find that the entire sink will cry out for attention. Be very aware however that the "gel" is extremely corrosive but very effective. Make sure that all trace is well flushed away is this sink is used for food preparation.

Michael Hein
- Sydney, NSW, Australia


Q. I recently moved into a new home that has stainless steel sinks. They look to be in good condition and I would like to keep them this way. How do I keep them in good shape in the future? But, in one sink there looks to be residue from paint, like from cleaning a paint brush in the sink. So far normal cleaners have not worked. What can I use to clean this stain out.


Carole Peer
- Swartz Creek, Michigan


A. There is a product called "Barkeepers Friend [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]" that is great for removing stains on stainless steel and also for regular care for ss. It comes in a container like Comet does, is powder form, and is fairly nonabrasive. It is inexpensive and I have found it at some discount stores and grocery stores.

Sally Warren
- Mt Pleasant, South Carolina


A. Dear Sir,

There are pickling & passivation chemical products that can solve your problems for SS sink. You can use jelly for localised application by brush or spray form to spray on SS sink to remove stains on it. Try to solve your problem.

Vinay Golwala
- Bombay, India


Q. I had a ceramic plate with a silver stain on it from being in the sink with a wet pot, and I found out that the stain could be removed with toilet bowl cleaner. I thought, "where should I clean this?" I decided to do it in the kitchen rather than the bathroom sink. Unfortunately, I didn't read the bottle which states to keep away from metallic sinks, and now the stain on my plate is gone but I have stains from the toilet bowl cleaner on my sink. Can these be removed?

Gabriela Ayala
- Moreno Valley, California


Q. I had the same problem with Zap. Did you ever find out how to remove the stain?

Marlene Dagen
- Aliquippa. Pennsylvania


Q. Hi,
My Iridium brand stainless steel cooktop was cleaned with Kaboom (a mix of organic salt and surfactants) and now has an uneven coloration (parts are darker than the original finish). Is there anyway to restore it to a consistent color? Help please! Thank you!

Anna B. Cassidy
hobbyist - Ambler, Pennsylvania, USA


Q. Hi,
I sprayed Kaboom on my refrigerator drinking water drip tray to dissolve mineral deposits and some of the product ran down the on the stainless steel facing(Kitchen Aid). This has caused a stain or discoloration on the finish. We have tried Kitchen Aid stainless steel polish/cleaner, baking soda with mild soap, vinegar, liquid comet and ammonia to no avail. Please provide any assistance as to what we may try to resolve the problem.

Molly Nelson
consumer - West Palm Beach, Florida


A. I accidentally left a big stain in my brand new stainless steel kitchen sink when I tried to clean a vase with a lime remover. I was about to special order a brand new $500 sink when I decided to try for an answer to my problem. I tried the product called 'Barkeepers Friend [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]' and was AMAZED at the results! The stain disappeared and my sink is shinier than when it was first installed. Thank you. What a wonderful resource you are!

Nancy Johnson
- Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania

November 9, 2008

A. I also got involved with the product ZAP, which is an acid, and it left spots all over my stainless steel sink. Thanks to your great source of information and BARKEEPERS FRIEND, I have a new looking sink again.

Jerry De Baker
- Warren, Michigan

Barkeeper's Friend

February 20, 2009

Q. I made a bad choice of cleaners a few years ago and have damaged my sink and brushed nickel drain. Any suggestions or ideas on how to refinish or fix the damage?

Jennifer B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
hobbyist - Houston, Texas

April 30, 2009

A. I was really distressed when I stained my relatively new Franke sink by accidentally spilling a little toilet bowl cleaner. But your posters really helped me by sharing in the use of Barkeeper's Friend. Like magic my sink was restored and polished beautifully. This is the greatest. I went out and bought it for my children who also have stainless sinks.

Thank you for rescuing me.

Victoria Schwarz
- Staten Island, New York

May 22, 2009

Q. I poured a very poisonous toxic sink unclogger down my kitchen sink, it came back up this black liquid, I let it sit over night, then cleaned it up, but now I have these black stains that won't go away, I haven't tried bar keepers friend yet , I wonder if it doesn't work, what can I do?

fran owen
- palmetto, Florida

May 26, 2009

A. Hi, Fran. What is involved is polishing away (rubbing away) the discolored surface to expose the fresh stainless steel. So, it's not a question of whether Barkeepers Friend [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] will work -- it's a question of whether the depth of discoloration that must be polished away is practical to polish away with a mild abrasive and manual rubbing.

By way of example, you don't need a steam shovel to dig a foundation for a house, you can dig the foundation yourself with a teaspoon, but it might take the better part of a lifetime :-)

If the depth of discoloration is such that you need a power buffer and more aggressive abrasives to make the procedure practical, you may want to call a professional because these materials can easily remove the brushed look of the sink, or leave an objectionable shiny spot if you don't know exactly what you are doing. Good luck!


Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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