Quality cast iron sinks feature an enamel finish that, besides being attractive, is tough, resistant to stains and scratches and is very easy to clean. They’re a popular choice for busy homeowners with better things to do than pamper their sink. Cast iron sinks, based on manufacturers’ suggested care, are among the easiest sinks to clean and maintain.
This cleaning and care guide includes tips for keeping your cast iron sink looking great in the years ahead.
Daily Cleaning Tips for Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
Routine sink cleanup is very easy. Rinse the sink, wipe away remaining food debris, and rinse it again. Then, to prevent mineral deposits in hard water or salt in softened water from dulling the enamel’s glean, wipe the sink with a dry, soft cloth. That’s all you need to do.
If you want to sanitize the sink, use antibacterial dish soap or a gentle antibacterial cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge. Clean and rinse the sink thoroughly, since soap residue will dull the surface too if it remains. Dry the sink as suggested.
Cast Iron Sink Care Dos and Don’ts
These additional tips will prevent problems.
- Never use steel wool, a steel brush or abrasive sponges
- Rarely use soft scrub cleaners, if ever, and apply them with a soft cloth
- Consider using a rubber dish mat, soft-footed basin rack or dish rack in the bottom of the sink to help prevent scratches
- Don’t leave juice, wine, coffee grounds, tea bags, or food debris in the sink for very long
- Don’t leave metals in the sink for very long that can rust and stain the enamel
Suggested Cleaning Products for Cast Iron
What do manufacturers suggest for cleaning their cast iron sinks?
- Kohler: For daily care, use Kohler Cast Iron Cleaner, Fantastik Antibacterial Heavy Duty, Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose, Soft Scrub Gel with Bleach. For rust removal, use Bon Ami or Super Iron Out Rust Stain Remover. Avoid Comet, Zud and Bar Keeper’s Friend
- CECO: For daily care, use Ajax, Comet, Bon Ami. For stubborn dirt, sparingly use Zud, Bar Keeper’s Friend or other slightly abrasive cleaners.
Cast Iron Sink Care and Maintenance FAQ
This brief cast iron sink care Q&A covers additional topics that may be of interest to you.
I’ve heard you shouldn’t store harsh chemicals under a cast iron sink. Is this true, and if so, why?
That’s exactly what most manufacturers suggest. For example, Kohler’s website states, “Do not store open containers of cleaners or chemicals such as acids, bleach, sodium chloride, lye, toilet bowl cleaner, drain cleaner, or hard water stain removal products under your sink.”
Here is the reason: Those products are very corrosive to metal, especially a metal as reactive as cast iron. Even the fumes may pose a threat to the exposed cast iron on the underside of the sink. Once corrosion and rust begin, it can be difficult to eradicate, and that could ruin your sink.
A pan that slid on the sink bottom left a metal mark on the enamel. How should I get that off?
Use a slightly abrasive cleaner such as Soft Scrub gel or Bon Ami. Apply it and scrub gently with a soft cloth or sponge. Some suggest a cork as the scrubber, and feel free to give one a try. Rinse the sink thoroughly, and dry it after removing the mark.
Is cleaning the enamel with vinegar a good idea?
Porcelain enamel probably won’t be harmed by vinegar, but non-porcelain might be. There are other, safer options for cleaning and sanitizing your cast iron sink.
Does the porcelain on imported sinks contain lead?
It certainly might. We suggest buying your cast iron sink from a well-respected company like Kohler or CECO. The lead content in some imported sinks might be quite high.
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