Stainless steel sinks are beautiful, stylish, and functional additions to any kitchen. They are sleek, good-looking, and easy to care for, and they complement the natural, organic aesthetic of a granite or quartz countertop.
Many homeowners are curious if stainless steel sinks rust. The answer is yes, but it depends on the grade of stainless steel. The common grade for kitchen sinks is Austenitic stainless steel, which is classified as 304 by the American Iron and Steel Institute’s AISI. When investing in a new sink, it is important to realize that not all 304 grade stainless products are created equal.
304 Stainless Steel Grades
Steel with the composition of 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel is the most used steel for sinks. This type of steel contains enough chromium to create a barrier against oxygen and moisture, which can cause corrosion and rust. Chromium also provides resistance to stress corrosion and cracking.
Stainless steel sinks can and do rust. Prevent damage by caring for your new sink properly.
- Leaving cast iron cookware in your sink for any length of time will because iron particles attach to the sink, causing the appearance of rust. Instead, promptly wash the cookware, dry it and remove it from your sink.
- Always air-dry dishes on your countertop, not in the sink.
- Never use steel wool to scour your stainless sink – steel wool breaks apart and will leave particles behind that will cause rust.
- Opening a can of vegetables or soup and leaving it in the sink will cause a ring to appear. Your best bet is to try not to leave items in your sink.
- After using your sink, clean it with the cleansers specifically formulated for stainless sinks, which will keep particles from attaching to the sink and giving the appearance of rust.
- Always rinse cleaning products away thoroughly to keep them from drying on the surface and degrading the finish.
- If your sink has yet to be used and already contains tiny, scattered rust stains, clean it as soon after installation as feasible.
Even with care, your sink may develop rust through no fault of yours. Purchasing quality sink products that don’t opt to use less nickel or replace it with other cheaper alloys will ensure that your sink lasts and provides years of rust-free beauty in your kitchen.