How to Restore Old Sinks

Written by samantha volz
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We use the sinks in our bathrooms and kitchens for so many things, it's impossible to think about life without them. Cooking, cleaning dishes, brushing our teeth, washing our hand--the uses are endless. All of that wear and tear will damage the lining and look of any sink. Fortunately, whether your sink is slate, soapstone, brass, porcelain or stainless steel, it can be restored to its original beauty with a little work.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Protective mask and gloves
  • Orbital sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic scraper
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Boat caulk
  • Mineral oil
  • Soft cloth
  • Paint thinner or paint stripper
  • Brass lacquer
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • Sponge
  • Toothpaste
  • Restore-4 or paste wax
  • Vinegar
  • Club soda
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lighter fluid
  • Hydrogen peroxide

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Instructions

    Slate and Soapstone

  1. 1

    Wear a protective mask whenever working with a sander to avoid inhaling dust.

  2. 2

    Sand the interior of your sink with fine grit sandpaper, no coarser than 220 grit. An orbital sander will provide a smoother finish. Be sure to sand out any scratches or dents as well.

  3. 3

    Scrape any excess sediment or old caulk from the seams of the sink. Vacuum using the hose extension of the vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining sediment.

  4. 4

    Seal the sink with boat caulk to prevent water from leaking. Knead the caulk tube before application to be sure the caulk is thoroughly mixed. Snip the end of the applicator and squeeze necessary caulk into the seams. Smooth over with your finger or the edge of your scraper.

  5. 5

    Allow the caulk to dry for at least 48 hours. Sand the caulk to remove any excess. Vacuum any dust or sediment out of the sink and wash the sides of the sink.

  6. 6

    Apply a thin layer of mineral oil with a soft cloth.

    Brass

  1. 1

    Pour lacquer thinner or aircraft stripper into a bowl or bucket. These materials are available at hardware stores or on the internet.

  2. 2

    Apply paint thinner to the walls of the brass sink with a paintbrush. The paint thinner will help to remove the old or damaged finish.

  3. 3

    Paint brass lacquer onto the walls of your sink with a clean paintbrush. Allow to dry; apply a second coat if needed.

    Porcelain

  1. 1

    Wash the interior of the porcelain sink with warm water mixed with dish detergent. Wipe down with a sponge to remove surface dirt and grime.

  2. 2

    Apply toothpaste to any stains on the porcelain sink. Wipe on with your finger or a toothbrush, and scrub away with a sponge.

  3. 3

    Apply Restore-4, paste wax or another finishing agent to the interior of your porcelain sink. These products will prevent staining and will restore shine to the porcelain. Acquire these products at a hardware or cleaning speciality store; apply to the surface of your sink per directions on the product.

    Stainless Steel

  1. 1

    Clean hard water streaks or water spots from your stainless steel sink. Soak a paper towel in white vinegar, rubbing alcohol or club soda and rub away the stains.

  2. 2

    Pour a few drops of lighter fluid onto a soft cloth and rub at any rust stains in the sink. The lighter fluid will break down rust stains better than the other cleaning products.

  3. 3

    Soak a sponge in hydrogen peroxide and scrub the interior of the sink. Hydrogen peroxide will polish the interior of the sink, restoring its shine. Rinse foam and any remaining reside from the interior of the sink.

Tips and warnings

  • Have the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner running nearby while you sand your slate or soapstone sink to cut down on the amount of dust spread throughout your home.
  • Consult an expert at hardware store if you have questions regarding the use of paint thinner, paint stripper or brass lacquer.
  • Regular cleaning of your sink will prevent staining, rust and damage from built-up food particles.

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