Introduction: How to Clean and Remove Stains From an Old Cast Iron Sink

Picture of How to Clean and Remove Stains From an Old Cast Iron Sink

So, as you all know, I have been working diligently in my basement for the past couple of months. For the bathroom I had set aside my grandparents’ old bathroom cabinet and this gorgeous, ancient, American Standard, cast iron sink! It was in one of the sheds and though I don’t know exactly how old it is my guess is between 40-50 years. It was literally still in the crate it was first boxed in from the factory! Even the old wrapping around the hardware was still there! It pained me a little to remove it from the crate because every board was so cool and so old. (I saved every board and the crate for a later project.) Even the old American Standard label was still stuck to the front of it. It also came with a serious amount of ick so I knew it would be a big job to get it clean. First, we got it installed and working, I can’t believe there were no leaks, it works perfectly, even the drain stopper! Really, they just don’t make them like they used to. After that, I got to work cleaning it.

Step 1: Drying Cleaning Then Hard Core Scrubbing and Then...

Picture of Drying Cleaning Then Hard Core Scrubbing and Then...

First thing was first I got as much as I could without water or anything, just paper towels and some scrubbing to remove all of the dry big nastiness. Then I rolled up my sleeves. When I clean cast iron there are only three things that I bring with me: a scrubby sponge (NOT an SOS pad or anything abrasive!!), a box of baking soda and a jug of white vinegar. First I covered the whole sink with baking soda and made sure to plug the drain, then I dumped in about a cup of vinegar so everything went crazy sudsy. After a substantial amount of scrubbing the sink was looking remarkably better, I got the majority of the worst off of it and dried it up and assessed what I needed to do next. Where the label was there was one heck of a nasty stain that no amount of elbow grease was going to work on so I made a paste with the vinegar and the baking soda and covered it up and left it for about 36 hours.

Step 2: After 36 Hours...

Picture of After 36 Hours...

The stain was nearly gone at this point so I gave it the paste treatment again and left it for another couple of days:

Step 3: Almost Like New Again!

Picture of Almost Like New Again!

And viola! The stain is almost completely gone! This sink will never again look brand new certainly, but I am really impressed with how beautiful it is. The vinegar and baking soda treatment has impressed me before but now I’m a real believer if it can clean cast iron it can clean anything!

Comments

Stan1y (author)2016-12-21

That clearly isn't raw cast iron, It is probably vitreous enamel over cast iron. Which is effectively a glass surface coating, nice clean up though also impressed that vinegar and baking soda is all it took

GrandmasHouseDIY (author)Stan1y2016-12-21

Very true, thanks!

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