5 Reasons Why Your White Sink Is Turning Brown or Yellow

brown stainns in bathroom sink

The sink in your bathroom and kitchen is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. Not only does it provide a convenient place to wash dishes and hands, but it also serves as a focal point for many daily activities.

So when something goes wrong with it – like its white finish starts turning brown or yellow – you need to take action right away. Here are some possible reasons why this might be happening, and what you can do about each one.

1. Hard Water And Water Stains

One reason why your white sink is turning brown or yellow is due to hard water. Hard water contains high levels of iron and mineral deposits that may aid in the discoloration of white surfaces such as sinks.

If there are splashes of water on your sink after you finish using it, the best thing is to wipe it down with a dry cloth or towel to possibly slow down or avoid the damage that may be caused by the stains of hard water.

Even if you do not live in a state where there is hard water, leaving water splashes on your sink after use will eventually discolor the sink.

2. Infrequent Cleaning

Against the backdrop that water stains can eventually turn your white sink yellow or brown, it is clear that another reason for the discoloration is not cleaning your sink frequently. The little clean-up you do after using your sink can help maintain its white color.

You do not require any detergent or special cleaning materials for this cleaning. You will only need a clean dry towel or cloth to wipe down the sink after each use. It may seem like a continuous tedious task but it will help maintain the white color of your sink. 

On another side, if you do not frequently wash your sink with detergent, the dirt that collects over time will be difficult to clean or get rid of after some time. This debris will in turn begin to turn your white sink yellow or brown. 

3. Old Age

Like every other thing, the older a white sink gets, the more likely it is to begin to turn brown or yellow. Apart from having confirmed this with the bathroom sink in my roommate’s grandparents’ house, most people can validate that the longer a white sink has been in use, the more prone it is to discoloration.

Over time, the combination of hard water and water stains can make your white sink turn brown or yellow. So even if you maintain a cleaning culture of your white sink, old age will certainly catch up with it.

4. Irregular Use

If you install a new white sink and abandon it for a long time without using it, it can begin to turn brown or yellow. This happens because it collects dust during the time it is not in use. Therefore, if the dirt is not cleaned from time to time, it will begin to stain the white sink.

Sometimes, if you are unlucky, these stains will become so difficult to clean if not entirely impossible. Thus, even if you do not use your white sink, it is also likely it can turn brown or yellow with time.

5. Rust

Another possible reason your white sink is turning brown or yellow is rust. Rust in your sink can start developing from the metal strainer, faucet, or any other metal part in the sink.

Rust has this brownish color that can eventually discolor the sink if not taken care of.

If you see rust spots on your white sink, it is best to take action right away, as the discoloration can worsen quickly.

How To Get Rid Of Brown Or Yellow Stains On Your White Sink

If your sink just started discoloring, you may not have to replace it yet. There are a few things you can do that might help remove the brown or yellow stains and restore your sink to its original color.

It must be noted however that, sometimes, the stains are soaked in the sink and no matter what you do, it might not be possible to get rid of them all. In this case, you will have to replace the sink if you want it to look white again.

Here are three steps you can follow to get rid of the discoloration in your sink, with each step requiring a more harsh solution.

1. Start With a Cleaning Solution

If you want to try and remove the stains, start by making a simple cleaning solution of warm water and dish soap. You should then use a damp cloth to scrub the stains gently, making sure not to damage the sink. If it just started, this method will completely get rid of the stains.

2. Use Baking Soda And Lemon

If the stains don’t come off with dish soap, you can try a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. The acid from the lemon will help to break up the stains, while the scrubbing action of the baking soda will help to remove them.

To do this, first spread the baking soda on the affected area and then squeeze some lemon juice over it. Let it sit for a few minutes before you begin scrubbing.

After scrubbing, you should be able to get rid of the majority of the stains if not all. You can repeat this process if necessary to completely remove the stains.

3. Use A Specialized Cleaner

If the above solutions don’t work, you can try using a specialized cleaner. There are several cleaners available that can help remove stains from white sinks without damaging them. I will personally recommend Barkeepers Friend and Soft Scrub.

These cleaners are designed to break up the stain without damaging the sink, so you should be able to get rid of the discoloration without replacing the sink.

Follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure that you are getting the best results.

Preventive tips To Keep Your White Sink From Discoloring

Here are some ways that can help you prevent or slow down the incidence of your white sink turning brown or yellow.

1. Treat Hard Water

Since it has been established that hard water can almost not be eluded, one way to slow down or avoid your white sink turning yellow or brown is to treat your hard water. You can install a water softener to get rid of minerals from the water before it is displaced into your pipes and your house. 

Treating your hard water will ensure that the water that splashes on your sink after use does not damage it within the shortest possible time.

2. Clean Your Sink Regularly

To ensure that your white sink doe not turn yellow or brown, clean it frequently. You can wipe water splashes on the sink after each use with a dry clean towel or cloth.

Also, maintain a culture where at least once every week, you use appropriate detergents to clean your sink properly to avoid the build-up of dirt which may leave yellow or brown stains.

Again, even if your sink is not in use, you will have to clean it routinely to avoid the build-up of dust.

3. Don’t Use Harsh Cleaning Solvents On Your Sink

When cleaning your sink, ensure to use mild cleaning products. Avoid using harsh solvents or chemicals as these can cause discoloration and etching of the surface.

Also, do not use steel wool or any other abrasive materials on your sink as these can damage the finish.

Instead, opt for natural cleaners such as baking soda or vinegar, which are gentler and will not damage the sink.


The whiteness of your sink may be affected by different factors over time, but with the right steps, you can prevent discoloration and ensure that your sink remains looking like new. Follow the tips outlined above and you will have a white sink for years to come.

If discoloration still occurs, there are also some cleaning methods you can use to get rid of the stains and restore your sink’s whiteness.

However, if these solutions fail, it may be time to replace the sink with a new one. Keep up with preventive measures and you should have no problem keeping your white sink looking good for years.

David A. Morris

Home On Point is owned by David Morris. I am a real estate professional and a huge fan of beautiful homes. I like researching ways to keep homes shining at all times and I am excited to share them as I learn along.

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