Fixing Scratches in an Enameled Cast Iron Sink

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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!!

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.

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11 thoughts on “Fixing Scratches in an Enameled Cast Iron Sink”

  1. We just installed a shiny black cast iron sink 3 weeks ago, and when my mother-in-law watched our kids last week, she placed a ceramic crock pot with a stoneware base on top of the bridge while she washed it. It left deep gouges in two large areas (3″ long) on the bridge. I’m just sick. Is there anything that can be done to fix these types of scratches?

  2. I was cleaning my refrigerator shelving in my tub and thought the marks left behind were cat hair (she likes the way her voice sounds in the tub) but to my horror! I found this page and tried this trick (I used a baking soda paste too) and OMG it worked! Now if only my heart rate would calm down. Thank you Thank you Thank you

  3. I just called kohler regarding, what I thought were scratches, from the kohler sink grates we keep in the bottom of the sink. The representative told me those aren’t actually scratches but instead are pot makes caused by the grates being kept in the sink all the time. I’m relieved to say the least. I plan to use your method to try to remove them. Wish me luck! Thanks for the guidance.

  4. I just got a white kohler cast iron sink(enamel coated)installed three weeks ago.I noticed that I had scratched it while doing dishes this afternoon even though i have rubber mats in the bottom of both sidesI was so pleased with the advice on this site! I used a cork from an old wine bottle and voila! Disappeared in seconds! Thank you so much for that tip and all the posts on cleaning and upkeep! I am so relieved to have the scratches gone and to know I can USE my sink without worrying everytime i have a pan or silverware to wash!

  5. Heather,
    I have the same issue with our white Kohler Westhaven apron sink, only several months old. It too is cast iron with enamel finish. From the get go, it tends to embrace what I thought were scratches despite our regular use of a plastic mat to help protect it. Note, however, that glasses and silverware enter the basin from the children, etc. Again, I assumed these were scratches and was concerned we had a flaw with the sink. The sink also easily hold blueberry and coffee stains. We have to quickly clean anything that might stain the sink. Is this normal? I’ve used a baking soda/vinegar mix that seems to lift most the stains. But again, not sure if maybe my sink didn’t get coated/baked correctly? Final question, how often should I deep clean my sink. We do it weekly but there are times I’m traveling and it might go for a few weeks with just a soap/rinse cleaning. Please email a reply : )

    • I wonder if you’ve had any satisfaction with any replies to your question. My white Kohler doublt cast iron sink, very pricey and very beautiful when installed just over a year ago, has lost all the gloss in the bottom (ONLY) of the left hand sink (ONLY). This happened within a month or two of installation. I have old Kohler porcelain cast iron fixtures everywhere else in the house, and they all still have that beautiful glossy surface shine, even after many decades. This sink stains VERY easily and requires a LOT of attention, because Kohler says not to use most products, and their own cleaner doesn’t do an easy job of removing pot marks and stains. My old sinks clean up beautifully no matter what I use on them–mostly baking soda. I think Kohler changed their process with these new sinks, and doesn’t want to own up to the problems. Customer service told me that the gloss is not warrantied.

      • So interesting, I am very frustrated with my Kohler kitchen sink, about 4 years old that has loss its gloss and gets the black marks in the corners from the metal grates and anything else that touches. Before this remodel 4 years ago I had a 25 year old Kohler that was still like new but I wanted the shallow wall between the double bowl. I, too called Kohler and was told to rub the dry cleanser on to the spots with your moist finger. It never removes the scratches totally but does lighten them. I am really disappointed with the new Kohler enameled finishes. I will try the cleanser on the cork and hope that removes them.

      • I’m having the same exact issue. Our sink was only installed at the end of August 2019, and it’s now the first week of November (so that’s 2 months and one week) and the bottom of the left basin of our double basin sink is no longer shiny and actually has scratches… not lines from pots/pans, but an actual scratch that I can put my fingers nail in. It’s really disheartening when it’s an undercount sink and to take it out and replace it will involve either destroying the brand new quartz countertop or our brand new base cabinet that it sits in. Has anyone been in contact with Kohler further about this? I’m so annoyed by the money spent and what a waste!

      • I have a white Kohler enamel sink also and I have lost all the finish in the bottom where my grate sits and a large section is not smooth or feels like the finish is all gone. It’s only a couple years old. I clean it a lot with water and bleach so it’s diluted. Now it has a yellowish color to it where the finish is gone. It will not stay white. I tried a car wax on the finish to try to restore a smoothness but it isn’t really working on the rough area. Can you refinish the enamel while the sink is in place?

  6. I have had a cast iron Kohler white sink for 35+years (we remodeled the kitchen once upon a time to fit in a dishwasher) and a cast iron tub that is 50 years old. And it still has a shine on it. I have only used 2 things to clean my sinks/tub/toilet/shower. Bon-Ami cleanser for those scuff marks/ scratches and for whitening them a wet paper towel or rag with a bit of bleach to wipe them down and let sit for a couple of minutes. (NEVER mix the 2 cleaners AND rinse well between them). My fixtures still had their original shine when we sold the house. Clean gentle and things will last for years and look really good too. We had built the house when we married.

  7. I hope your sink is OK, I was nervous just reading about it. I have an ancient stainless steel sink that seems to be able to put up with any and all abuse we can (and do) throw at it!


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