Fireclay has just the right blend of nature and design. A leading manufacturer explains how fireclay goes under a kiln in extremely high temperatures to create a material –impervious to scratch, heat, acids, and bleach.
However, sinks are bound to be dirty and stained as they are the busiest place in your home. And fireclay isn’t an exception, but fortunately, repairing this everyday wear and tear won’t be difficult when you have the solutions at hand.
Are you looking for methods of cleaning your fireclay sinks on your own? You have come to the right place. This article incorporates solutions to problems you are likely to face with a fireclay sink.
What Is a Fireclay Sink
While fireclay sinks are available in top mount, undermount installation, people seem to choose fireclay farmhouse sinks.
Fireclay is currently a ‘hot’ material, especially for farmhouse-type sinks, that has a handcrafted quality and suits the rustic-themed kitchen, according to Blanco.
Fireclay farmhouse sinks are indeed built with durable fireclay sink material that can withstand heat and everyday scrubbers and cleaners. Additionally, a farmhouse (or apron) sink sits well beneath the countertop.
Things to Avoid on Fireclay Sinks
Fireclay is composed of liquid ceramics –quartz, kaolin clay, and china clay. And then, it is subjected to high temperatures to create a solid surface withstanding everyday scrubbers and cleaners. Therefore, there are certain things you should avoid on fireclay sinks.
Before diving into the cleaning solutions, let us understand which things you should NEVER use on fireclay sinks.
- Abrasive cleaners
- Scouring pads, steel wool
- Steel cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Paint removers
- Undiluted bleach
- Cleaners with ammonia or alkalis
The 14 Different Ways
Now, we are thorough about what NOT to use on fireclay sinks. So, let us explore the cleaning solution to various sink problems.
Listed below are different issues a sink owner faces and their best possible solutions.
The Daily Cleaning Guide
A fireclay sink shines through when regularly cleaned. The kitchen, in particular, should have a cleaning routine every day. It keeps your sinks extremely clean and fresh.
Dishwashing Soap/ Detergent
Elkay, a fireclay sink manufacturer, says regular cleaning using mild dish soap and a soft, damp cloth is all it takes.
- Take a dampened cloth and mild dishwashing soap/detergent.
- Gently scrub the entire sink to take off any buildups.
- Let the sink run under clean water for a few minutes to remove any soap residues.
- Wipe dry the sink thoroughly after you’ve finished.
Note: Always dry the sink after cleaning. Leaving standing water can damage the glossy finish of the sink.
Mild Abrasive Cleaners
One of the mild abrasive cleaners is baking soda. Baking soda helps remove mild gunk or light stains from the sink. For this method,
- Mix baking soda and water to form a paste.
- Dip a soft-bristled brush into the paste.
- Start scrubbing in a circular motion.
- Rinse and dry the sink.
Once a month, apply liquid wax for deep cleaning your fireclay farmhouse sink. Using wax on your fireclay sinks keeps them clean and protected. For waxing,
- Firstly, dry the sink thoroughly.
- Using an applicator or a soft cloth, smear a thin layer of wax entirely over the sink.
Wax will get rid of water deposits and drain down the unwanted gunk. Ensure that the wax is dry before using your sink.
Clean the Stains
Although fireclay sinks are stain-resistant, some stubborn stains always make their way. But, we do have some DIY methods to remove these stains.
Baking soda, as mentioned above, is a mild cleaning agent which helps in cleaning stains. There are two ways to use baking soda:
With Oxygen Bleach (hydrogen Peroxide)
Particularly for white fireclay sinks, baking soda paired with oxygen bleach -hydrogen peroxide, does wonder.
In this method,
- Clean the sink to remove any buildup or gunk.
- Form a paste using baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a little water.
- Apply this paste over the stubborn stains.
- Now, wait for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse the sink with plain water thoroughly.
CAUTION -Never leave bleach standing in the fireclay sinks. Clean the paste extremely well using ample water.
For yellow or settled stains, use baking soda with lemon to lift the stains and remove them. The citric acid in lemon acts as a cleaning and whitening agent.
- Take a lemon and cut it into equal halves.
- Smear baking soda on the halves.
- Then, start buffing the yellow stains in circular motions.
- Scrub for a few minutes until the yellow marks become invisible.
- Rinse and dry the sink.
One of the most recommended products to clean stains is Magic Eraser, a melamine foam. It is the easiest to use.
- Wet the magic eraser with water and squeeze out the excess water.
- And start scrubbing.
- After a few minutes, the stains should be gone.
Bleach and Water
Treat the sink stains with bleach and water to settle on the surface.
In this method,
- Combine water and bleach in the ratio of 90:10, forming a solution.
- Pour the solution in a spray bottle carefully. Do not let bleach touch your bare skin.
- Spray the 90:10 solution all over the stains.
- Allow it to sit for just about 5 minutes before you scrub it.
- Scrub the stains away with a soft cloth and rinse the sink.
- Clean the solution thoroughly and dry the sink.
Tip -Always use safety precautions such as gloves, goggles, and a dust mask while handling bleach.
White Vinegar and Water
White vinegar is a diluted form of vinegar that will not harm your fireclay sinks. It is a quick and safe cleaning agent which helps in removing soap scums, mineral/hard water deposits from the sinks. For this method to work,
- Fill a spray bottle with 80% water and 20% white vinegar.
- Spray the solution evenly onto the sink.
- After 5 minutes of application, start buffing the stains.
- Followed by rinsing the sink and wiping it dry.
CAUTION -Vinegar and bleach should NOT come in contact because they create toxic fumes when mixed.
Bar Keeper’s Friend
Besides Magic Erasers, Bar Keeper’s Friend is a highly recommended and used product on the internet. People love the result of this product. Additionally, it quickly removes black scuffs, grey marks from the sink. Hence, it saves time and energy.
- First, wet the sink.
- Then, apply the Bar Keeper’s Friend onto the marks.
- Start buffing the marks with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Using normal water, rinse the sink after scrubbing for a minute.
- Make sure to wash your hands after using this cleaning product.
Clean Limescale from Fireclay Sinks
The white chalky on the sink is called limescale, hard water deposits, or mineral deposits. Whatever you call it, they are stubborn and unattractive. But, we do have a solution for this.
White vinegar is the solution. It helps in removing stubborn dried water deposits.
In this method,
- Place some paper towels covering the sink entirely.
- Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it over the towels until thoroughly soaked.
- Once they are soaked, let them sit overnight.
- Remove the paper towels in the morning and rinse the sink with clean water.
- You will definitely wake up to a clean and glowing fireclay sink.
Clean Scratches from Fireclay Sinks
The only disadvantage of fireclay sinks is their susceptibility to scratching or cracking. Even though fireclay is scratch-resistant, metal utensils can scratch the sink surface and leave metal marks.
However, you can prevent these marks by installing a sink grid at the bottom of the sink.
A Pumice Stone
You might think using a pumice stone on minor scratches on fireclay sinks will damage the sink surface. However, as long as the pumice stone has smaller pores and is wet, you are not harming your sink.
- Fill the sink with about ½ inches of water until it covers the bottom of the sink.
- Wet the pumice thoroughly with water.
- Gently start buffing up the scratches with pumice in a back and forth direction.
- Scrub until the scratch is invisible and drain the water from the sink.
Note -While using pumice, keep the pumice stone and the sink wet to avoid damaging the sink.
Yet, if the scratches persist, you can use metal polish. Metal polish will smooth the scratch and return the glaze of your beautiful fireclay sinks.
How to Repair Cracks in Fireclay Sink?
If high pressure is exerted on the sink, it might get cracked. The best way to repair cracks from the fireclay sink is to use a fireclay repair kit.
Fireclay Repair Kits
Fireclay farmhouse sinks on average cost $700-$1500
Hiring a professional to repair your sink will be an added expense. But, you can repair cracks and chips in the vicinity of your homes with fireclay repair kits.
The repair kit includes,
- Fine-grit sandpaper (180-200 grit)
- Lint-free cloth
- Epoxy filler/Porc-A-fix,
Before using the kit,
- Investigate the nature of a crack, whether it is a surface crack or deep within the bathroom or kitchen sink.
- Use repair kits only if the cracks/chips are minor.
In this method,
- Clean the sink with hot water and dishwashing soap. After rinsing, the sink will expose the cracks.
- Without exerting pressure, sand the cracks using the sandpaper provided with the kit.
- With a soft cloth, wipe away the sanding particles.
- Fill in the cracks evenly with epoxy or Porc-A-fix with an applicator. Let it air dry. Apply multiple coats if necessary.
- Let the epoxy air dry before applying the second coat.
- Once the filler is dry, sand the crack again to level it.
You will see that the crack is invisible, and the sink is as new as ever. Ultimately, you can polish or re-glaze the fireclay sink with a re-glazing kit.
CAUTION -Do not use repair kits for deeper cracks into the sink. If the cracks or chips are deep into the sink, consider replacing the sink.
How to Maintain a Fireclay Sink?
A fireclay sink is easy to clean and maintain. For this reason, fireclay sinks are preferred by people for their aesthetic kitchens.
Isn’t it better to prevent your sink from getting damaged than going through all the trouble of cleaning it?
Yes, you can maintain the fireclay sinks with the following tips.
- Clean the sink regularly.
- Wipe the dirt and debris as soon as you witness them.
- Once a month, deep clean your fireclay farmhouse sinks.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals and scrubbers.
- Make sure you put vessels, dishes, pots, and pans cautiously in the sink.
- Do not throw metal items in the sink.
- Clean your sink safely.
Have a happy and safe cleaning!