How to Remove Rust and Food Stains From Stainless Steel

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A typical kitchen would have different appliances like a stainless steel sink, a stainless steel fridge, and a countertop or sink with a stainless steel surface. The metal is popular to use in high-moisture areas for its durability, shine, and resistance to stains, but that doesn't exempt stainless steel appliances from getting rust and food spots.

In this article, we'll tackle the cleaning methods to remove rust or food stains from your stainless steel sink and other kitchen appliances. Food stains are easily removed with a vinegar solution, but you might need a bit of elbow grease to get those rust stains out. Here's how:

What You'll Need

  • Lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Steel wool
  • Microfiber cloth or Paper towel

How to Remove Stains from Stainless Steel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Removing Rust Stains from Stainless Steel

Stainless steel does not rust easily, and rust often appears after the metal has been scratched up, exposing the inner layers. Moisture, humidity, and chemical cleaning products can cause the exposed layers to form rust, which can be difficult to remove. You can use a commercial rust remover to get rid of rust, or use lemon and baking soda to lift the rust out.

Step 1: Squeeze Lemon Juice

Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl, or directly over the surface where there are rust spots. Allow the lemon juice to seep into the rust, and spread the acidic solution all over the affected area. The acidity of lemon will start to dissolve the rust, making it easier to remove later on.

Step 2: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda where you've just applied lemon juice. The reaction will bubble, and will turn into a paste that not only cleans the surfaces, but gets rid of rust as well. Baking soda will act as an abrasive to remove the rust, and will penetrate through the metal to lift rust spots from the rest of your stainless steel surfaces.

Step 3: Let it Sit, then Scrub Gently

Let the solution sit for 30 minutes to an hour - the longer the better, and use some steel wool to slowly, and gently rub the rust spots away. Be careful not to use steel wool on areas that are not rusted, as it may scrape off the protective layer. Only scrub off the rust spots until you can see the stainless steel surface at the bottom.

Step 4: Wipe Clean

Wipe the cleaning solution and the loosened rust off, and check if there are any remaining rust spots. Even a small area that you've missed could be the start of a new rust colony, so be sure to remove all the rust when cleaning. Repeat the process if necessary.

Remove any remaining residue from the cleaning solution by wiping the surface clean with some soapy water, which is made with liquid dish soap and warm water. This will prepare your stainless steel items for the next step.

Step 5: Polish with Oil

Polish the surface with a soft cloth, and a few drops of food-grade mineral oil or olive oil. This will form a protective layer on the stainless steel, and help with corrosion resistance to prevent water spots and rust from forming.

Removing Food Stains from Stainless Steel

Compared to rust stains, food stains are relatively easier to remove as most food stains can be lifted with a baking soda and vinegar paste. Discoloration from food stains can also be lifted the same way. Here is the step-by-step process to removing food stains from stainless steel appliances, sinks, and countertops:

Step 1: Create a Cleaning Paste

Create a cleaning paste by mixing enough baking soda and vinegar to create a thick paste. Baking soda will work to lift food stains and discoloration out of your stainless steel cookware and appliances, while white vinegar or apple cider vinegar has acidic properties to soften the food stains.

Step 2: Apply Cleaning Paste on Stain

Apply the cleaning paste directly on the stain to spot clean them, or cover the entire surface with the cleaning paste. Use a soft cloth and start rubbing the paste into the food spots to remove stains, and keep scrubbing until you can see the stain lifting from the surface.

Step 3: Wipe Clean, and Repeat

Wipe the surface with a clean cloth, and check for any remaining stains. Repeat the process to remove stains you might have missed the first time, and wipe the entire area dry afterwards. Your stainless steel items should have a lustrous, shiny appearance.

A Squeaky Clean Shine

Don't get overwhelmed with the amount of cleaning chores you need to do! Trust is us at Luce Home to tackle the chores for you. Our cleaning services are second to none, so you can always expect good quality cleaning at a moderate price.

Contact us today, and let's schedule a cleaning session for your home!

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