Intro: 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...
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...
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!
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!