Fixing Scratches in an Enameled Cast Iron Sink

Dear Home Ec 101,

I have a fairly new (less than 1 year old) cast iron Kohler sink, it is the shiny black one, the manual recommended using the Kohler cast iron sink cleaner and I have used it regularly and I have used a plastic mat on the bottom of the sink, to try to prevent scratches. Yet I have some minor scratches. Is there any way to safely remove the scratches from my sink without harming the enamel?

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Again I LOVE your site and by the way I am hooked on Method products!! Love them!!

Signed,
Scratched in Scanlon
Heather says:

Take a deep breath, I have good news for you, dollars to donuts those are not actually scratches in your sink. I highly doubt you were sitting there with a chisel and hammer purpose trying to gouge your sink. That’s pretty much what it takes to mar the finish of a quality enamel finish. What you are actually seeing is called a “pot mark” and it’s just a scuff from the sink taking a tiny bit of metal off of your cookware.

It’s a lot like when somebody just barely grazes your car in a crowded parking lot and leaves a bit of their paint on your car. A bit of buffing is all it takes to get rid of their carelessness and it’s pretty much all that is needed here, too.

Go ahead and use the recommended cleaner, but find a cork, perhaps from last night’s wine-braised pot roast? Apply the cleaner full strength to the scratch on the cast iron sink and then use the cork to gently scrub the marks away and your sink will look good as new!

Pot marks will likely become a source of irritation over the years, but at least you now know that you have not inadvertently scratched your shiny, new sink. It’s going to look good as new for a long, long time.

Good luck and please let me know how it turns out.

Oh and thanks for letting me know about Method, I’ll be sure to pass that along.

Submit your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

Quick tips: shiny sink redux

I got this in the mailbag this morning and wanted to share with you readers:

Dear Ivy,
You know there’s more than one way to shine a sink. :-) I use the FlyLady method, which although time consuming, produces a wonderful shine on my stainless steel sink.
First, you fill the sink with warm (not hot!) water and add 1/3 cup bleach. Let this soak for 3 hours. 3 shall be the number of hours and the number of hours shall be 3. Four shall it not be and five is right out. When the three hours is up, you drain the sink and dry it with a towel or wash cloth. Lastly, you spray it with regular Windex and buff to a high shine. After that, unless you spill something really ucky in your sink and get it nasty again, all you have to do is Windex and buff.

I<3 shiny sinks

mailbag.JPG Ivy says:

What a great idea! Fly Lady is not my personal style (I can not handle shoes in the house. Or 42 emails per day.) but she has some wonderful ideas and this one is great! While we’re on the subject of bleach, I wanted to remind our readers to never mix bleach and ammonia.

Have you got some quick tips to share with us? Let us know!

How to Clean Corian

Dear Home-ec 101:

I have Corian counter tops and sink. The sink is stained because my family never cleans it. I try to clean it, but even with a special Corian cleaner or bleach, I cannot get the stains out after several cleanings.

The counter tops are clean, but dull. I tried a counter top polish and it did nothing.

What am I doing wrong?

signed:
Corian despair

Heather says:

My sink is similar to Corian and frankly, I’d rather have stainless steel. I feel your pain. My sink, like all Corian sinks has a matte finish, which means it is safe to use a mildly abrasive cleaner. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite is Barkeeper’s Friend.
before pic of white kitchen sink

I apply it to the stains and rub gently, but not in a circular motion (their rules, not mine). On occasion I have to use good, old-fashioned elbow grease.

after picture of white kitchen sink with a coat of waxTo help keep my sink looking nice and temporarily avoid new stains I wax it on occasion. Yes, that’s right, Carnauba Wax, it’s food grade.

As far as your counters go, DuPont says you can use a mild abrasive to remove stains and restore the finish. I have laminate counters, but if I were trying to restore shine to what is supposed to be a semi-gloss, or glossy finish, I might try Pledge or waxing, in a hidden area. If you choose to use Pledge, occasionally remove the build-up with mineral spirits.

Submit your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

How to have a shiny sink

Dear Home Ec 101,

How in the world do you get your sink to stay so shiny?

Signed,

Im in ur house, lookin @ ur sink

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Get out of my house. Seriously, you’re creeping me out.

But while we’re here, I’ll go ahead and share my secrets to a super shiny sink. First, wash it out so any funky bits are gone. Dry it with a dry towel, and buff it a bit.

Now, here’s my secret: I whip out the Pledge, put a bit on a paper towel and buff to a shine. Not only does this make your sink shiny, but it helps keep it shiny, which is always a bonus.

Caveat: I’ve only ever had a stainless steel sink, so if your sink is made of other materials, do a test patch first.

Check that shiny sink, yo:

shiny stainless steel sink

Submit your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

How to Clean

Dear Home-Ec 101,

My house is a wreck. I’m scared to open the fridge, I swear something growled at me the last time I grabbed a soda. I think a dust bunny ate the baby.

Help Me!

Signed,

Don’t Know Where to Start.

Heather Says:

I begin with the kitchen sink, it’s a small area and it can be conquered!

Empty your sink of all dishes, fill it with hot water and a little bleach.

Come back and read for a few minutes or empty the dishwasher, if you’d prefer.

After the hot water has had time to loosen the crud, drain the sink, and use a non-abrasive cleaner to scrub it. Don’t be afraid to use a little elbow grease! Now, if you have a sink like mine, you may have to use a mild abrasive like Bar Keeper’s Friend, or in a pinch, baking soda.

Finish by shining the faucet with a little window cleaner and wipe with a paper towel or soft cloth.

It’s a lot easier to face the day when you don’t have to shovel dishes out the way to brew a pot of coffee.

Clean Kitchen Sink

Now go find that baby!

Submit your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.