Aug. 11, 2013: This is the most-clicked post on the blog, which is terrific. Happy white sinks, everybody! Here’s the short version:
THE METHOD: Coat the stained part of your white sink with a layer of dishwasher paste — the thick gloopy stuff you put into the dishwashing machine, not the liquid soap you use for hand-washing dishes. Let it sit for a while (start with a short time span, perhaps). Then wash it off. Hopefully your sink’s now back to white!
CAUTION: Dishwasher paste can etch surfaces. Test it in a small area, or start out by only using it for a minute or less.
SUCCESS STORIES: Victory has been reported over ordinary grunge, blueberry stains, tea stains and other marks. Most of us had tried bleach and other cleaners with no luck. Here’s one success story with photos. Other surfaces it’s worked on: Formica countertops, the Corian-type stuff my shower is molded out of, stone-type beverage coasters that tea had slopped on, my white-enamel saucepan.
WHY IT WORKS: I have no idea. The dishwasher paste smells like bleach, but I’d already tried bleaching the stains with no luck. I’m guessing the cleaning agents in the paste are just super-mega-strong. (See CAUTION above)
Accidental discovery: Our kitchen has a white enamel (or “porcelain,” as I incorrectly call it for reasons unknown) sink, and despite our efforts with bleach to remove stains from tea, blueberries, etc., gradually the sink has been getting yellower and yellower. Especially around the drain. Ech.
Recently I dumped out some old dishwasher soap that I’d been informed had gotten too gloopy to use in the washer. Planning to recycle the bottles, I let the soap drain into the sink, where it made a layer about a half-inch thick. It sat there a couple hours while I did other tasks. When I came to rinse it out: White sinks! (It didn’t remove scorchmarks, but it clobbered everything else.)
I filled the sink with water, dumped in the remaining liquid and left it for a few hours, stirring occasionally. This whitened up the sides, too.
So try coating your white enamel sink with a layer of dishwasher detergent and letting it sit awhile. I’m sure you don’t have to use a whole bottle. But regular hand-washing dish soap has never done my sinks much good, and this does. No scrubbing, either!