How Do You Remove Acid Stains from a Stainless Steel Sink?

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Although stainless steel isn’t one to get stained with ease, it’s still susceptible to staining from acid-based household cleaners.

Acidic household items like vinegar and citrus extracts are common in most households. The milder the acidic component of the cleaners and household items, the more damage they can make to your sink.

So, how do you remove acid stains from a stainless steel sink? You’ll find that out in a few.

Can Acid Damage Stainless Steel?

Yes, acid can damage your stainless steel sink. If it is spilled on the sink or any other stainless steel appliance, you need to rinse it off quickly.

Although stainless steel is an alloy of chromium that helps fight stains, it can get damaged if acid comes into direct contact with it.

An irreversible chemical reaction is formed when acid comes into contact with the stainless steel. It’s from this reaction that potential corrosion and damage arise.

The good news is that although the stains cause damage, it can still be treated.

How to Remove Acid Stains from a Stainless Steel Sink

Discussed below are 3 methods of how you can remove acid stains from your sink. Keep reading to learn more.

Method 1

Materials required:

  • Protective gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Ammonia
  • Water
  • Mask.
  • An empty bowl
  • A spray bottle
  • Soft cloth
  • Cleaning towels
  • Food grade mineral oil

Acid stains removal instructions

  • Step 1: Wear the gloves

Since you don’t want your skin to suffer irritation from the cleaners you’ll be using in this process, cover your hands. Wear protective gloves (latex or dishwashing gloves will suffice).

You’ll also want to wear a mask if the stain was caused by a chemical.

  • Step 2: Clean the stained area

To clean the area on your stainless steel sink stained by the acid, you just need to rinse the stained area with water.

And instead of pouring the water on the stain, use the spray bottle to complete the task.

  • Step 3: Prepare baking soda paste

To prepare the paste, get equal amounts of baking soda and water. Mix the 2 until they form a paste.

If the surface of your stainless steel sink is rough, make a thin paste so that it reaches in through the cracks.

  • Step 4: Rub the paste in

Apply the mixture to the stained area on the sink. If it removes the stain, the better. However, if there’s no change, repeat step 2.

This time around, instead of adding baking soda to the water, add ammonia, make the paste, and apply it to the stained surface.

  • Step 5: Wipe the area

Now that the stain has been completely removed. It’s time to get rid of the chemicals. To do so, dip the soft cloth into the water and clean the surface.

  • Step 6: Dry and oil the sink

After cleaning the stainless steel sink, use a soft cloth to dry it. Apply some mineral oil on another soft cloth and rub the sink to help retain its shine.

Read Also: How to Remove Bleach Stains from Stainless Steel

Method 2

Materials required:

  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Cleaning towels or soft cloth

Stain removal instructions

  • Step 1: Apply Vinegar on the stained surface

Dip a soft cloth into the vinegar and apply it to the stained surface on your stainless steel sink.

  • Step 2: Rub it on the stain

Gently rub in the vinegar in clockwise strokes until the stain vanishes.

  • Step 3: Apply olive oil

If the stain is not entirely removed, it’s time to use olive the oil. Wipe the surface clean with a clean towel first and apply olive oil. Scrub until the stain vanishes.

Method 3

Materials required:

  • Baking soda
  • Liquid dishwasher
  • Cleaning towel
  • An empty bowl

Stain removal instructions

  • Step 1: Prepare baking soda paste

Add equal amounts of liquid dishwasher and baking soda into the empty bowl and make a paste.

  • Step 2: Apply the paste

Dip a clean cleaning towel into the paste and apply to the stained surface on your stainless steel sink.

  • Step 3: Scrub the stained area

Keep applying the paste and scrubbing it on the stained area until you are satisfied with the results. If it’s a fresh acid stain, it shouldn’t take you long to remove it.

How Does Stainless Steel Resist Corrosion?

Although stainless steel grades vary in manufacturing and metallurgic composition, a common trait is the passivation layer.

In simpler terms, the passivation layer is the coating of chromium oxide that is usually formed when the surface comes into direct contact with oxygen.

This layer gives stainless steel its finished texture and a variety of aesthetic options. It is also considered impermeable to water and protects the metal.

And although the layer can stain in case of extreme temperature changes, it still endures.

However, the layer doesn’t exempt stainless steel from corrosion. It can still get corroded under certain circumstances.

Can Vinegar Corrode Stainless Steel?

If you belong to the group of people who assume that stainless steel can stay for long without cleaning, you are in the wrong. You should know that the metal requires a regular cleaning routine.

Although it has a higher degree of resistance to stains than other metals, it can still get discolored and even corroded over time.

Therefore it’s not advisable to leave your stainless steel sink or appliance soaked in a solution containing chlorine, vinegar, or table salt for long as these can damage the metal.


There’s still hope for your stainless steel sink if it has been stained by acid. And more so, if you work on the stain immediately. With baking soda paste and a soft cleaning towel, you’ll get the job done in minutes.

To avoid working on stubborn stains (which take more time and energy to remove), work on your sink as soon as you notice the acid spill. And when doing so, wear protective gloves to prevent skin irritation.

If baking soda paste fails to work on the stain, use ammonia and liquid dishwasher solution instead. to know more visit

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