How to Remove Stains from a Porcelain Sink

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How to Remove Stains from a Porcelain Sink

I just moved into a house with a Porcelain sink and I was surprised at how many stains and scratches it gets from daily use.  I love the look of Porcelain but I really don’t like the discoloration that happens.  I love coffee but my sink hates it.  Can you tell?  I had to find a way to bring it back to its bright white shine.  I’ve tried a few different methods.  I’ve had many fails and one Ah-ha moment! Oh, the joys of cleaning hard water, rust and soap residue from your Porcelain sink.

There are a few different methods that actually work.  Some are a bit easy than others though.  It will all depend on what you like or how easy you want to make this task.

Cleaning Methods That DON’T Work (or doesn’t work fast enough):

Don’t waste your time with a Mr Clean Magic Sponge.  It doesn’t work.  It’s a complete waste of time and effort.

Regular soap and water doesn’t work either.  I’ve tried all kinds of elbow grease and no amount of power in my arms will remove those stains.

Bleach is another product that doesn’t work.  UPDATE:  Bleach works but not fast enough for me so it will stay this part of the list.  I’ve had many people tell me that bleach works for them. I’ve learned that I am a very impatient cleaner. I want it clean now.   I took the advice and mixed a spray bottle of 50% water and 50% bleach, sprayed it on and let it sit after all the dishes were done. It works! Just not fast. And God for bid if anyone runs water down the sink after you just sprayed it on. You pretty much have to spray it and let it sit for about 10 minutes. That’s the part I hate.  So it does work, just not fast enough for me.  Also,  be careful where you spray the bleach too.  If you spray it on the rim and someone leans over the sink to turn on the water, you will get a bleach mark on your clothing (ya,  happened to me).


Cleaning Methods That DO Work:

My favorite number one product is Bar Keepers Friend.  The stuff is Ah-mazing!  And easy!  I use the Bar Keepers Friend powdered kind as seen here on Amazon.  I did find a difference between the liquid kind and the powdered stuff.  I really like the powder.  The Bar Keepers Friend liquid kind does work but it seems to make me scrub longer.  I like to clean it quick and easy.


Another method that works is a mixture of Cream of Tarter and Vinegar or equal parts of Cream of Tarter and Hydrogen Peroxide.  Both work.  I do like this method but it requires mixing which takes away from the easy part for me.  But if I have the ingredients on hand and I am out of my favorite Bar Keepers Friend then I will make this as a backup.


Savings Tip:  When buying Cream of Tarter I found the best price here.  It’s much cheaper than in the stores.

A Pumice stone.  All you need is a little water and a pumice stone to remove the stubborn stains.  Now you would think that a stone might be a bad idea but pumice stones are actually volcanic rocks and light in weight.  They can be a gentle abrasive to tubs and porcelain sinks.  The trick is to make sure the stone is always wet when you use it.  Oh and use a rounded tip Pumice Stone like this one seen here on Amazon.  (Source:  Ehow Article)

I’ve been told Nail Polish remover works.  I haven’t tried this personally.  Have you?

Secrets to a Perfectly Clean Porcelain Sink

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  1. My porcelain sink has tea stains in it!! I have scrubbed with comet but just doesn’t get it clean! I’m going to try some of these suggestions because I hate that my sink always looks dirty

  2. I used drano to unclog my sink drain and ironically it made my porcelain sink look white again. It looked brand new. Not sure if anyone tried drano or any kind of drain cleaner. Sometimes you find things by accident lol

  3. I hung rubber gloves over the sink. I never noticed that the sink now had stains from the color of the rubber gloves. I have tried bleach, Soft Scrub with bleach, and CLR. Any suggestions?

  4. Nail polish remover works. It is Acetone which you can buy at Walmart. In a 2 to 1 ratio with Xylene it works as a gas additive. It’s what RXP is made up of…. and it works very well…

  5. THANK YOU THANK YOU…OVER AND OVER. I tried gently rubbing Bar Tender’s Friend on a yellowing spot in bathroom sink and voila….it worked and is gone!!
    Brilliant ! I will be watching your posts.

  6. I have a red vintage porcelain sink. Somehow there was a black marker stain I could not get rid of. Used professional-style nail polish remover and it came right off. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. I use washing powder (for washing clothes). For awkward stains, use it dry added to a damp cloth, and scrub away. Otherwise, just fill the sink with hot water and washing powder, leave for a while and then rinse with clean water.

  8. Learned from mother-in-law to use baking soda, a little liquid dish soap, and a wet, non-abrasive scrubber sponge. Works like magic to remove the scratches left by metal bowls, pots, etc.

  9. I”m surprised you didn’t have any luck with the Mr. Clean Magic Bars. I’m actually using Walmart’s knock-off version and it’s the only thing that has worked. However, I haven’t tried bleach. My skin is dried out enough!

  10. We get marks on our Kohler white porcelain sink; they are caused by our Revereware stainless steel bowls. We tried many suggested products, but then I tried the Weiman’s Glass Cook Top cleaner & polish, and it works wonders.

    1. The best trick I have discovered for my 20 year old sink, is to fill the sink with hot water and place 2 dishwasher detergent pods in the water. Dissolve them by stirring the water a bit. Let that sit a few minutes (the longer the better). After sitting a few minutes, drain sink and wipe with a magic sponge. I guarantee, it will look like new with no abrasives or elbow grease! This works for bathtubs, showers and shower doors, too.

  11. Comet didn’t work and finger nail polish remover didn’t either. This sink is only a year old. Can’t get the shine back in it either. Anyone have any other ideas??

  12. I spray white vinegar on the bottom and sides of the sink … then sprinkle a good, but even, amount of baking soda on top of the white vinegar, you will see bubbling and hear hissing, then let it sit for a few minutes, scrub it in, then rinse … sparkling white!

  13. i found out accidentally that LimeAWay Toilet Bowl Cleaner immediately removed the stains from my old porcelain sinks. Be careful not to get on your skin when you rinse.

  14. I use clorox spray bottles that are specially for the kitchen. Yeah actually just have to leave it on for like 5-10 minutes and usually just see the durt run down and then just run some water for any residue. I have had in a very allergic us and so far thing God nothing has happened.

  15. Bar Keepers Friend is to abrasive and will scratch over time leading to more staining. I just use bleach occasionally.

  16. I LOVE my porcelain (cast iron) sink! But I also hate the stains it gets. I have used Soft Scrub (the kind with bleach) on mine, and that works to get the stains out too. I have also used bleach, but I fill the sink (at least half way) with hot water and add about a cup of bleach to it and let it sit. Don’t ask me how long I let it sit, because I don’t remember! (Ha!) But when the stains started to disappear, I would use a Scotch Brite (no scratch) sponge to scrub above and below the water. It does take patience because you have to let it sit, but it’s another option in a pinch. 🙂 And now I’ve put Bar Keeper’s Friend on my grocery list – I’d like to give it a try!

  17. Any cleanser will work. By “Cleanser” I mean the very cheap powdered stuff that comes in cans. You mentioned ‘barkeepers friend.’ That is just a brand name for a cleanser. Comet, Ajax, Old dutch for example. There are a lot of different brands. The best part… Most are less than one dollar a can! Can’t beat a good old fashioned cleanser. Works great on bath tubs, tile floors, counter tops etc. Only draw back is you have to rinse it well or it leaves a residue.
    Happy cleaning!

    1. I’m going to have to update this article. I’ve had many people tell me that bleach works for them. I’ve learned that I am a very impatient cleaner. I want it clean now and fast. I took the advice and mixed a spray bottle of 50% water and 50% bleach, sprayed it on and let it sit after all the dishes were done. It works! Just not fast. And God for bid if anyone runs water down the sink after you just sprayed it on. You pretty much have to spray it and let it sit for about 10 minutes. That’s the part I hate. It does work though Wendy.

      1. Bleach is a very dangerous product to have in your home. Switch to gentle natural cleaning products that work even better, such as peroxide, lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda, borax. Bar Keeper’s Friend is an excellent cleaner and safer than bleach.

      2. For rust stains I use iron out brown bottle lasts for about 3 weeks unless you have heavy iron in your water.for yellowing I use tko pumice hand cleaner from also has lanolin in it to keep hands soft.

  18. i use Soft Scrub cleanser on my white porcelain kitchen sink. Just squirt som in, wet a scratch-free scrubby and work it into a paste covering the sink. Leave for 5-20 minutes, scrub lightly around the surface again & rinse away. Beautiful, every time. :0)

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