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I have moved into a place that has an elderly black sink in the kitchen. I've cleaned it with Lime Away and Bon Ami, but I've made no progress with some discolored lighter areas that become apparent whenever the surface dries.

What can I do to clean it, or to restore a more uniform appearance, short of replacing the sink?

It appears to be made of some kind of plastic, because when I look underneath, I see a large triangle and a message about being recyclable.

  • Could you add more information. Like what materials the sink is made of? – Jacques Ramsden Aug 26 '18 at 12:06
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    @JacquesRamsden - I don't know. It's not stainless steel. I don't know if porcelain can come in other colors besides white. – aparente001 Aug 26 '18 at 12:07
  • Sorry I'm a bit lost you said it was black? Are you implying. That its not porcelain? – Jacques Ramsden Aug 26 '18 at 12:09
  • Porcelain can be died I have seen all sorts of colours. It could also be granite... hence my question. Its hard to give advice if you don't know what something is made of as you could give bad advise. Also. Is it not just painted? Powder coated etc? – Jacques Ramsden Aug 26 '18 at 12:11
  • @JacquesRamsden - I'm trying to say that I am not able to identify a specific material that it's made of. I'm not even sure what the choices are. I don't know whether porcelain is a possibility. If porcelain is always white, then that would obviously eliminate porcelain as a possibility. Can you point me to methods for figuring out what the material is? – aparente001 Aug 26 '18 at 12:12
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You Probably have a slate sink similar to the chemistry lab countertops and sinks in schools. Newer installations use a slate composite which is tougher and easier to maintain.

Per International Stone Works:

Slate can look polished or textured (cleft). It comes in a variety of colors such as gray, green, dark yellow, and even red. Slate tends to be more chemically resistant than some other stones such as marble. Some slate can also be more scratch resistant than other natural stones as well.

They quote and link to the Marble Institute of America, “Stone Dimensions” publication:
(the provided link is 404 - not found, however)

Slate is primarily composed of quartz and illite, with mica, calcite and other materials. The grey and black colors are due to carbon and/or graphite. Red shale is caused by the presence of Hematite, while greens colors are due to Chlorite. Shades of red, purple and tan result from the amount of iron oxides contained in the stone.

How do you keep slate clean?

Even though slate does not react to chemicals as easily as marble, we still advise cleaning slate with neutral cleaners. We recommend cleaning slate floors with Lavenet neutral stone cleanerand slate tops and showers with Akemi Crystal Clean. Crystal Clean will also help reduce calcium deposits and soap scum build up as well.

We do not recommend power washing or steam cleaning slate floors, especially textured slate. These harsh processes may remove some of the top layers of this foliated natural stone.

We also suggest that customers seal slate on an annual basis to prevent substances such as oil and grease from staining the slate surface. We recommend using Seal & Go® Sfor those who like a natural, no shine look. Alternatively, you can enhance the color of slate to give it the “wet look” by protecting it with Seal & Go® Enhancer S: this sealer will slightly darken the slate without adding shine.

Good Luck

  • "We do not recommend power washing or steam cleaning slate floors, especially textured slate. These harsh processes may remove some of the top layers of this foliated natural stone." -- What if some of the top layers have been removed by previous occupants? – aparente001 Aug 29 '18 at 12:16
  • @aparente001 I can't comment on assessing or repairing past damage. Comments in the article referring to flooring specifically were left in so that the reader can better judge which techniques may or may not be appropriate. Also a mention is made about composite (epoxy bonded slate powder) which may apply as well. – Stan Aug 29 '18 at 16:12

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