How to Descale a Stainless Sink

Updated March 23, 2017

Hard water from your pipes causes scale and lime to build up on your stainless steel sink, forming an ugly, solid, white or greyish crust. In addition to being unattractive, the concentration of dissolved minerals can pit and eat into the stainless steel causing permanent damage. Most hard water deposits consist of calcium and magnesium, easily removed if you keep on top of the job before it becomes a monstrous cleaning endeavour. Descale your stainless steel sink regularly to keep it looking shiny and new.

Plug the drains and add straight vinegar directly into the sink to remove scale on the inside of the sink. Purchase large, gallon bottles of vinegar, available at most grocery stores, for tough jobs. Allow the vinegar to sit in the sink for 30 minutes to three hours before draining and scrubbing with a nylon scrub pad.

Soak paper towels or clean cloths in straight vinegar and lay them over the stains to combat scale around stainless steel faucets and fixtures. Allow the vinegar to penetrate the fixtures for 30 minutes to three hours before scrubbing. Wipe the area dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Mix a solution of three parts bicarbonate of soda and one part water to attack stubborn, hard water deposits. Form a paste with the consistency of oatmeal and slather it onto the scale. Allow the mixture to sit for 20 minutes and scrub the area with a nylon scrub pad to remove the build-up. Rinse with plain water and dry the sink with paper towels.

Pour straight hydrogen peroxide liberally onto a nylon scrub pad and scour the sink. Allow the peroxide to bubble around corners and faucet fixtures to remove embedded scale. Wipe clean with a soft cloth to leave a nice shine on your sink fixtures.

Remove light water stains with Isoprophyl rubbing alcohol applied with a soft microfiber cloth. Rub over the stains in a circular motion to remove the mineral deposits.


Commercial products found in most grocery stores can help descale sinks. After removing the water deposits, flush sinks at the end of the day to rinse off salt and mineral deposits; wipe sinks dry with a soft cloth. This will ensure you do not face another build-up on the sink.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Soft cloths
  • Nylon scrub pad
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Isoprophyl alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth
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About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.