State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500203
Porcelain Enamel Sinks and Tubs--Care and Cleaning
Porcelain enamel is a glass surface fused to a metal base. This glass
surface is damaged by acids and harsh abrasives. It is very hard but
can be chipped by hard blows.
Porcelain enamel is acid resistant but not acidproof. The glass coating
is gradually dissolved by acids. Acetic and muriatic acids are
effective in removing certain stains, but they will also remove part of
the surface coating of porcelain enamel. Eventually they will attack
the base metal underneath and cause serious damage. Therefore, it is
advisable not to use acid cleaners on porcelain enamel.
To clean, wash with warm or hot sudsy water, using detergent. A
solution of non-precipitating water softener, or baking soda, in warm
water also may remove soap scum and soil. Always rinse with plain
If you use scouring powder it should be the very finest one possible.
Most scouring powders contain hard particles, such as quartz or
feldspar, that cause minute scratches. Once a glasslike surface has
been roughened, it becomes a catchall for dirt, grease, soap residue
and minute alkaline deposits from hard water. Then abrasives are
necessary to remove soil imbedded in the roughened area.
Commercial household or bathroom cleaners may also be used.
You may use chlorine or hydrogen peroxide bleach to remove stains. Do
not use these bleaches full strength or let them remain on the surface
for more than a few seconds. Rinse the surface thoroughly. Bleaches
eliminate most stains but are not effective on rust.
Heavy deposits of grease or soap scum can be removed with a solution of
1 tablespoon trisodium phosphate in 1 gallon hot water. Rinse
thoroughly. Or warm water and ammonia solution will do this. Rinse
thoroughly. Do NOT combine with any other cleaners.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with references from the Porcelain Enamel Institute.
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status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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