Every home comes complete with finishing touches that are guaranteed to give your space a little extra personality. However, over time these finishes, especially brass and nickel, will endure scratches and scuffs that need to be attended to. While normal wear and tear is to be expected, there are steps you can take to help your finishes stay bright, shiny and looking their best.
The finishes in your kitchen and bath are durable and will remain beautiful with proper care.
Enamels are made from tile, porcelain, or vitreous china. These surfaces are hard, but they can be scratched and chipped with misuse, such as by a blow with a heavy object or by cleaning with abrasive cleansers.
Stainless steel fixtures generally resist staining. They need a thorough scrubbing only occasionally. With maintenance, a stainless steel finish can last many years. Small scratches that do occur over time will usually blend in with the overall finish.
Chrome, Nickel, and Brass
Chrome is a hard, durable, and scratch-resistant finish. Nickel, which looks similar to chrome except with a warmer undertone, is softer and scratches more easily. Brass, like nickel, also scratches easily. Brass fixtures are usually treated with a clear protective coating to make the surface more durable.
Care and Maintenance
Follow these care and maintenance suggestions for the finishes in your home’s kitchen and bath.
When washing dishes: Be careful with metal utensils, sharp utensils, pots and pans, etc. Scraping or banging metal utensils in a sink gradually scratches and dulls the enamel, making it susceptible to stains that become increasingly difficult to remove. A blow from a heavy or sharp object will chip the surface.
When cleaning: Don’t use strong abrasive cleansers. Shiny new fixtures can be dulled or stained in a short period of time with strong abrasive cleansers. Improper cleaning can chip, scratch, and stain the enamel.
Most household cleaners are mildly abrasive, but when used with plenty of water, some aren’t harmful. You can use baking soda or Bon Ami®* Powder (not Bon Ami®* Cleanser), which are nonabrasive, to clean enamel.
*Bon Ami® is a registered trademark of the Bon Ami Company.
To fill chips in porcelain finishes, a bottle of liquid porcelain from your local hardware store is a simple, inexpensive remedy. Follow the product directions carefully. Apply a second coat if necessary to fill a deep chip.
Clean a stainless steel finish with warm water and a nonabrasive cleanser or a commercial stainless steel cleanser. Dry completely after cleaning.
Clean a stainless steel sink occasionally by filling it full with a 50/50 solution of water and bleach. Let the solution stand for 15 minutes. Drain the solution while washing the sides and bottom of the sink. Rinse thoroughly.
Rinse a stainless steel sink after each use to remove chloride residue found in most soaps, detergents, and cleansers.
Scrub a stainless steel sink once a week; this will help keep the finish looking lustrous.
Don’t allow soaps, salts, or water to dry on the finish. Wipe the surface dry after each use.
Be careful when washing dishes in the sink. Stainless steel sinks will dent when they receive a strong impact.
Don’t use steel wool pads. They can remove the finish.
Don’t use a stainless steel sink as a chopping block or cutting board. The knives will scratch the sink’s finish, and the stainless steel will dull your knives.
Wet sponges, cloths, and cleaning pads left on the sink surface can lead to discoloration, pitting, and rust.
Chrome, Nickel, and Brass
Don’t use an abrasive cleaner, which may scratch the surface and remove the finish.
Clean chrome finishes with a soft cloth and a nonabrasive wax polish. Otherwise, chrome needs very little maintenance.
Clean nickel and brass with a nonabrasive cleaner, and then buff them with a soft cloth.
Wipe water spots with a soft cloth. Don’t allow water to dry on any finishes.
There are many finishes in your home. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the most up-to-date care and maintenance information.