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topic 30186p3

Lime-A-Way destroyed stainless steel sink, p.3

A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2020

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June 15, 2014

Q. I used OxyClean to get rid of stains in the sink, and it has stripped off the coating. Is there any way to fix this?

Des Cooper
- Vancouver, Canada

June 2014

A. Hi Des. Stainless steel is solid all the way through, rather than coated. What kind of coating do you have or think you had on a stainless steel sink?


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

October 30, 2014

Q. How can I get marks off of my stainless steel hob? It was cleaned by mistake with cillit bang and this has left marbling marks.

Eileen miller
- London, England, United kingdom

March 2, 2015

Q. Hi, I used Barkeepers Friend on my oven racks and left it on overnight, now my new SS sink has white blotches all over. Any suggestions to get it looking new again?

Michelle Perl
- Atlantic Beach, New York

February 2015

A. Hi Michelle. On this page you'll see recommendations for brands a, b, and c; and if you read other threads you'll see recommendations for brands x, y, and z --which will include Barkeepers Friend as the solution to the problem you describe :-)

Actually, many of these cleaners are combinations of abrasives and mild acids which, if used as scouring agents, will clean stainless steel ... but if allowed to sit in one spot for hours, the acid will discolor the same stainless steel.

Cleaning the whole sink with a scouring action, whether you use Barkeepers Friend or a different cleaner, will eventually even it out. But if that's too much work, you may need help from a buffing pad on a battery operated drill, or a stronger abrasive like the Scratch-B-Gone. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

April 2, 2015

A. This is the perfect solution. I have found the perfect product that does not harm hard surfaces/fixtures (non porous) and just melts away hard water deposits: it's called "descale it". You just spray it on or wipe it on and let it set as long as needed to dissolve it. It's non abrasive. I have removed the aerators on my bath faucets that were crusted with hard water deposits and let them soak in a bowl with "descale it" for a while periodically working the deposit off and looks brand new now without harming the finish. I originally discovered this product in a pool supply store as a cleaner for fiberglass spas which is very scratchable service with most other cleaners. It's available in hardware stores in the cleaners section (just ask the attendant). You can't go wrong with this product. Just polish to a shine when you're done. I periodically treat all areas where I have water contact as part of my maintenance. I also use in my rentals to bring them back to new condition.

Dee Demarest
- Peoria Arizona

June 8, 2015

A. Bar Keepers will clean stainless. All the over the counter cleaners are useless and leave residue. So you may need to do this twice. With a damp cloth just touch the top of can and tip upside down. Wipe down stainless and rinse off with water. Yes water it is the same as your sink. Black will come off try a second time until all the black is gone. ALWAYS WITH THE GRAIN! Then polish with soft clean cotton towel. If you mess up try again. Get all the Bar Keepers off. . if you have a really dirty surface get it good. After once a month or little touch ups should do. On my sink I use more always with the grain. If you use your sink a lot it will eventually have a wonderful patina like your rings. If you put racks and rubber etc on it you will never see this only the few scratches. NEVER USE ABRASIVES ON ANYTHING. THROW THEM OUT. YESTERDAY.
CLR for lime deposits is good try a qtip. Don't squirt or pour it on. They took the acid out. But sadly, if you have hard water you need to wipe off that granite. Try CLR first on one of your granite scraps or under the lip.
If all else fails call the installer and ask to be resealed; they will not come for the small job. BUT MY ADVICE IS USE YOUR KITCHEN LIKE YOUR MOM DID ... HARD ... BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL.

carole S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- los gatos California usa

July 2015

thumbs up signThanks Carole. I've heard your closing phrase many times before -- but we can never hear it enough because it quickly fades out, whereas it should constantly be at the top of our consciousness.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

affil. link

December 16, 2015

A. In response to the black stainless steel as a result of lime remover. I THINK I HAVE THE ANSWER!!! Long story short, I thought I wrecked a $150,000 commercial dishwasher. I rushed to the local Ace Hardware and brought back several metal cleaners and polishes. The one that worked...FLITZ Polish and Tarnish Remover. Small grey tube. What a miracle worker!

Rob Prestwood
- Sparta, Wisconsin

January 15, 2016

A. Yes, I used an alkaline drain cleaner and it destroyed our stainless steel sink. AND it did not unclog the drain. We used 3 chemical bottle to try and nothing.
We plunged. We got the snake and not even a drop was going through.
We only were in this home for a couple of months.
1st. Chemical drain openers don't work on grease, especially deep down.
2nd. If it's not in the trap call a plumber, they saved us flooding our home and well worth the money!
3rd. Now we are using enzymes that eat the little grease that will get down there and no more nasty chemicals that almost did us in!

affil. link
Rubbing Compound

Okay now the drain is cleared but the sink is an ugly grey, black and dull. I tried Fantastik, Vim, Baking Soda, Easy Off Oven cleaner. NOTHING worked. then I read this website in desperation.
COMPOUNDING CAR POLISH WORKED A MIRACLE! My sink is shiny again, not dull grey but shiny! The brand I found in the garage was Turtle and it's easy to use. It's the rubbing compound kind.
Hope this helps someone else like it's helped us!
Thanks everyone!

Sammi Wiebe
- Vancouver, BC, Canada

July 15, 2016

A. Toothpaste also worked on my black stained sink :)

nooshin akbarzadeh
- tehran iran

February 12, 2017

A. I had some Flitz and thought: if it cleaned silver, it might help my sink that I had etched with Lime-A-Way. Worked like magic.

Janice Carlson
Mrs. - Holcomb, Illinois

April 24, 2017

A. So I'll just add my experience to this thread, which is a little different than most I've read here. My toilet has bad lime under the rim that looks dirty. I have tried everything, but this time I used stainless steel pad on porcelain while there was Lime-A-Way in the bowl, and it discolored the porcelain. Some kind of stainless steel plating. Don't do this! ;)

Deni Boardman
- San Bernardino, California, USA

affil. link
Cape Cod Polishing Cloths

August 31, 2017

A. Hey guys.

I had the dull stains on my stainless steel sink and after seeing a few posts here, thought that I would try something I have at home. I have Cape Cod cleaning/polishing cloths.

I bought it specifically to polish the steel parts of my watch but can confirm that it worked on my sink, with a bit of effort!

Rob Levy
- Valencia, Spain

March 5, 2018

Q. Hi, I wrongly used my toilet cleaner in my stainless steel sink now there are patches in the sink which is dark black color and I don't know what to do. Tell me how to get rid of these?

Eraiarul Vajravel
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

March 18, 2018

A. Lime out stained stainless steel sink. I used harleydavidson metal polish; came out looking like new. It's not just for bikes.

Flora Rose-Phillippi
- new york, USA

April 20, 2018

Q. My stainless steel kitchen sinks are over 30 years old and are now causing a grayish tint to white towels when I dry them. What's happening? How can I make this stop? I tried baking soda and vinegar to clean them and it didn't help.

Sandy Martinez
- Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA

August 2, 2018

thumbs up sign Thank you for answering my question. Our Stainless steel sink in our 2 year old motor home seemed to have some build up of lime or calcium as well as did the porcelain sink and toilet. I had used Lime-A-Way at home and so bought some and it worked well on the bathroom sink and toilet. So I headed to the kitchen and after cleaning with a bleach spray and rinsing (I know now, no bleach), I used the Lime-A-Way. I know now that I used too much and left it longer than needed and the stainless dulled and smells like steel. So, then I read the bottle (Hindsight is 100%), and small white print says "Toilet cleaner! " I think it is a different formulation than the old Lime-A-Way.
So I am off to buy my Bar Keepers and polish and getting rid of all the caustic cleansers in my motor home!
Wish me luck!

Rosalie Jensen
- East Wenatchee, Washington, USA

August 2018

! Hi Rosalie. Thanks for reminding other readers that something that happens all the time these days is that if a manufacturer achieves name recognition for one of their products, they then put that name on their whole product line. So, if you hear a recommendation about a product, you have to be really careful that they're talking about the same thing because the trade name will be on all sorts of products.

For example, as an engineer for 50 years, the name "vicegrips" has been used generically to mean a device halfway between an adjustable wrench and pliers that that lock like a vice. And "channel locks", again, I recently bought "Vicegrip" brand channel lock (style) pliers. I've read that confusion between traditional generic tool names vs. tradenames has caused some problems for fire departments finding themselves with the wrong equipment on hand.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

August 7, 2018

A. Cleaning a stainless steel sink:
Mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with 1/4 cup cream of tartar. Be sure to mix this in a glass or plastic container (no metal). Use the mixture as a scrub for your stainless steel sink and rinse with warm water. Your sink will shine! I also use this mixture on my pressure canner, stainless steel bowls and stainless flatware. It even removes the dark tomato stains from my stainless steel canner.

Jan Bose
- Grand Island Nebraska

June 20, 2020

I applied Lime-A-Way in my stainless steel sink to remove the grime buildup just under the granite countertop. I let it sit for 15 mins, washed it off and discovered it stained the sink where it had dripped. Horrified, I found this thread and felt better that I wasn't the only one who had done this... as dumb as it was!


I tried what I had on hand first, Comet, stainless steel cleaner, vinegar, bleach, NOTHING worked. So I decided to take a trip to Ace to get Brasso after a friend suggested it. NOPE, DIDN'T WORK. Went back to Ace to pick up NEVR-DULL (someone on this site suggested it) and the lady at Ace showed me a different product Bio-Clean Products Hard Water Stain Remover and said it was guaranteed to work so if it didn't I could return it and get my money back! My husband & I both started scrubbing, I used NEVR DULL and he used the Bio-Clean.

affil. link
Bio-Clean Water Stain Remover

affil. link
Never Dull Polish

30186-2d   30186-2c

After lots of elbow grease and using BOTH products I am proud to say it worked! My sink is prettier now than it was before I destroyed it.


Betsy Power
- Sarasota, Florida USA

June 25, 2020

A. A hardwater cleaner (with sulfamic acid) left horrible black marks on my stainless steel sink. I used a liquid scouring product with oxalic acid (suggested after a google search to this site and watching a You Tube video) and then a ceramic cook-top cleaner and stainless steel spray cleaner (of the same brand) to alleviate the mess. I scrubbed 2 or 3 times with the scouring agent with a small brush, as well as a"scrubbie sponge". It helped quite a bit. The ceramic stove top cleaner seems to have worked to remove hard-water deposits as well as staining. I applied and used paper towels rubbing briskly in the direction of the "grain". I could see the black marks being removed on the paper towel. The stainless steel cleaner removed more of the spots and left a nice shine. I used a terrycloth shop towel with lots of pressure for this part of the process. I may need one more round of each but it is so much better.
Hint: read all directions AND consult the product website when using cleaning products.

L Garcia
- Tucson, Arizona

July 5, 2020

A. I was happy to find I wasn't the only one who had "ruined" my stainless appliance with lime remover. Also thankful to everyone who posted possible solutions. I was cleaning the drip tray of the fridge's water in the door area & it dripped down on the stainless. When I wiped it off, it only made the stained area bigger! I decided to try what I had on hand at home first. Brasso did not work. Before trying car polish I pulled out a very old jar of a Shaklee product which I hadn't used in years but should probably use instead of the white paste for stove tops! It was once called "At Ease"---a dark pink, cherry scented paste. And it worked! It's now called "Scour Off." One little jar will nearly last you a lifetime!

K LaGambina
- Orlando, Florida

sidebar October 15, 2020

Q. Can I use this product to clean rust scale off of the inside of a 3000 gallon cistern tank?

Lance Halingstad
- Chinook Montana

November 2020

A. Hi Lance. Assuming your cistern is steel, I don't know why Lime-A-Way [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] or CLR [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] would be inappropriate. But depending on the use of the water (drinking water?) you should rinse it off/out well. Good luck.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

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