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The Hotline -- Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing


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

July 10, 2009

Q. I dropped some TarnX solution on our brand new stainless steel sink. The sink now has back spots that would not come off. I tried using baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, and most of the cleaning liquids. The stains are still there. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Sally Lich
- Dallas, Texas

July 21, 2009

A. I took the above advice and tried Bar Keeper's Friend on some recent stains and it worked beautifully. It not only removed the new stains but also, with a little elbow grease, nearly removed (still working on it) Lime-Away damage from over four years ago that I'd completely given up on. Everyone who has a stainless sink should know about this. Thanks to all who suggested it.

Marsha C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Henderson, Nevada

September 24, 2009

A. Be advised, BarKeeper's Friend is NOT recommended for Stainless Steel. Check out their website. I did have success with removing rust on my silverware, but then there was some in the grooves of the serrated blade still, so I let some barkeeper's friend set on it for awhile. When I went to clean it, the barkeeper's friend had permanently damaged the silver. It works chemically, so I'm guessing that it removed the silver plating from it. So, if you use it, do so sparingly.

Jack Jensen
- Valrico, Florida

September 23, 2009

! Hi, Jack. I did check out their website and don't quite understand your posting. Their website prominently says: "... and is great for cleaning stainless steel.", and "If you're looking for a cleanser you can trust to clean your stainless steel, ..."


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

October 2, 2009

A. Ted, Jack began by talking about putting it on stainless steel, but ended by talking about it taking the silver/silver plating off. My guess is it is the silver plating that is not listed on the website.

Thanks everyone...I am headed to the store for Bar Keepers Friend. I am sure it can't hurt.

Charla Henderson
- Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

October 27, 2009

A. I found this thread because I had purchased a fantastic retro set of brass flatware and immediately stained it with Tarn-X, thinking that it would polish up the metal. (yes I did read the back of the bottle, but did not think the metal was actually brass at the time)

I will capitalize the words BARTENDERS FRIEND to make this thread seem like a blatant advertisement for the stuff. It not only polished like I thought the Tarn-X was going to, but also removed the black spotty damage that it did to my now magnificently shiny golden set of flatware. This stuff is less than $3 a can at a grocery store, go try it. My hands feel kinda funny though, maybe you ought to use gloves.

Kelvin Vance
- Aiken, South Carolina

August 26, 2010

A. Whink [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] works great with little to no elbow grease at all; it is a rust remover. I have also used Easy Off oven cleaner liquid form. It takes a little more elbow grease but works good. I recommend to follow up with a soft scrub to bring back luster.

R Shapley
- Center, Texas


Scratch-B-Gone to the rescue once again! All of your stains from chemical, heat and acids are quickly removed using Scratch-B-Gone. Just 3 minutes and your sink and other Stainless surfaces are looking NEW! Really!

Barry Feinman
Restore It Yourself, Inc

Carlsbad, California

October 24, 2011

A. Tried everything on my stainless appliances and got NOwhere. The stain was from muriatic acid that was used as a cleaner for the floor. Then I found a bottle of stuff I haven't thought of for years and it worked like like magic with NO scratching and the stains are gone: Brasso [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]

Jack McKee
- Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

November 15, 2011

A. I just moved to a house with my first stainless sink. As usual I put CLR around the faucet to clean hard water stains. I got busy elsewhere and when I came back there were terrible black stains around the faucet and running down into the sink. I read all these posts and tried the only one I had on hand....Brasso. It worked great! It did take a bit of elbow grease though.

Brenda Gervais
- Ventura, California, USA

March 15, 2012

A. I accidentally spilled some ZAP into my stainless steel sink when pouring from one container into another. I noticed the following day that there were black stains all over the bottom of the sink. I found this blog online, read about "Barkeeper's Friend", and got some. I used it on the sink, and it worked like magic--the sink now looks brand new! Thanks for the advice--it really works!

Hillary Green
- Ft Lauderdale, Florida

June 5, 2012

A. I had a Tarn X stain on my new stainless steel sink, I used the Bar Keeper's Friendly powder and my stain went away 95%, there is still a small mark but I'm sure If I keep cleaning it will eventually go away. I was worried the Tarn x was going to be there permanently but I'm so happy most of it is gone, so Bar Keeper's Friend-ly powder did the job. For all of you who had the same problem, this is the solution.

Evelyne Hadida
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada

June 6, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi, I just used the liquid cleanser, 409 Natural Stone Cleaner on my stainless steel range hood not realizing it wasn't my stainless cleaner that I usually use. It left my hood with staining, almost like bleached out where the cleaner was sprayed on. I wiped the cleaner off right after I sprayed it on with a towel and then noticed it had stained. I then immediately cleaned with dish soap and water followed by Stainless Steel Magic polish, but you can still see the staining. Any suggestions or is it permanently damaged? Thanks!!

Deb Partington
Home owner - Victor, New York, USA

June 8, 2012

Q. I have always used Bar Keepers Friend and I have a new stainless steel sink. I sprinkled it all over the sink and ran to the store; upon my return I went to scrub the sink and the Bar Keepers Friend left spots all over the sink!
Any suggestions?
Thanks so much!

Suz'anne Hawkins
- The Woodlands Texas USA

July 4, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I had a major meltdown today! I brought my horse's bridle home to polish (some silver grommets on the leather had rust around them). I held the bridle over my stainless steel sink and used Rustoleum as recommended at the hardware store. OMG. it has chemically changed the finish in big places and totally taken the shine out of those places.


The sink is relatively new. I'm freaked! What can I do? This is not about "scratches", It's more like chemical burns. Help!!

Sherri Haskell
- Sausalito, California

September 11, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. By mistake I poured Kaboom toilet bowl cleaner into my ss sink and it left a stain. Tried comet didn't work. How can I remove the stain? Please help me. Thanks

Elizabeth Diaz
- METAIRIE, Louisiana

April 30, 2013

Q. I left some Barkeeepers Friend in my ss sink. It left white milky stains all over. How do I get this off? Does anyone know ?

Cathy Downey
- Las Vegas, Nevada

July 18, 2013

Q. My son squirted Clorox Derived Natural dishwashing detergent around the sink and forgot to clean the sink. It sat overnight and darkened the sink with a ring and drizzle stain. PLEASE tell me what to use to get rid of this stain ... thank you!

LaDawn Burt
- Los Angeles, California, US

October 7, 2013

To All who are having sink staining, scratching, or rust issues PLEASE READ MY LIPS! Scratch-B-Gone does and will fix these issues quickly and effectively.

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
Restore It Yourself, Inc

Carlsbad, California

May 12, 2014

thumbsup2My sink was stained with Tarn-X, but I didn't know what had caused the stain until I shook the bottle with the lid not tightly closed. After reading all the kind entries on this site, I decided to try Silvo Silver polish, the only silver polish that I had in the cupboard. After much elbow grease, it worked. I'm thrilled!!!

Willa McGinley
- Quispamsis, N.B.,Canada

June 9, 2014

A. I own and operate a green cleaning service in NYC. Many of our clients have stainless steel appliances.

We use ONLY uses natural industrial strength products.

We've been using Barkeepers Friend [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] for 32 years. It's made from ground up rhubarb. Rhubarb is a plant that contains high amounts of oxalic acid. It cleans metals and scours stains out of countertops.

I always wet the surface first with plain water and the sprinkle the Barkeepers on, let it sit and then scrub with a regular sponge. I prefer a microfiber sponge or cloth.

It is non abrasive and has no bleach or other ingredients.

Rinse with clean water. And that should do it

I hope this was helpful

Cindy LeBow
Great Green Cleaning of NY - Brooklyn New York USA

August 26, 2014

Q. I need help, I put barkeepers friend all over my stainless steel sink and left it overnight, when I went to clean it there are black spots all over the sink, does anyone know how to get these spots out? Hysterical, it is a brand new sink!

Marley Vranesic
- denver, Colorado

September 10, 2014

A. I found this thread on-line earlier today. Like most of the others who stumbled across this, I was looking for help for discoloration of my stainless steel sink.

In my case, I used Whink Rust Stain Remover on a soap dispenser (it took the rust off) and left the brush I had used with the Whink product residue overnight in the kitchen sink. This morning I discovered that my stainless steel sink had discolored where the brush had made contact. It looked awful and I was afraid the sink was ruined.

I emailed Whink and asked them for advice. Here's their response...

"Thank you for contacting Whink Products Company.
Rust Stain Remover will damage metal surfaces, which is why it is not recommended. We cannot guarantee anything will reverse or remove the damage.
We have heard that some people have had luck using Bar Keeper's Friend.
Thank you,"

Others who have posted in this thread have also recommended Bar Keeper's Friend. I looked around my house thinking I might have some but instead found a product called Cameo [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cleaner hiding under my sink. I think I purchased it a long time ago to use on my Calphalon cookware. It is manufactured by Church & Dwight Co. and available from Amazon. It's inexpensive.

Anyway, I tried it and it worked great! It removed all of the discoloration with very little effort. My sink looks better than it did before this mishap.

I hope this post is helpful. Good luck.

Sam Pruett
- Chicago, Illinois, USA

April 23, 2015 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. My daughter used toilet bowel cleaner on our stainless steel sink. It now has turned all cloudy and spotty. I've tried cleaning it again, no luck. Can I fix this?

Lisa Swaine
- toronto, ontario, canada

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