How to Clean Soapstone Sinks

Lisa Maloney

Soapstone sinks are a curious mix of impermeability--they're almost impossible to stain--and vulnerability. Although you can set a hot pot on a soapstone sink without fear of burning or scorching the soapstone, slide that same pot around a bit and you may scratch the stone beneath it.

Scratches may allow debris to collect and make it hard to thoroughly clean your sink as recommended with soap and water, so repairing scratches as they appear should be a natural part of your cleaning routine for a soapstone sink.

  1. Remember that soapstone naturally darkens in color over time. So if the stone is darkening uniformly, it's not dirty, just darkening with age.

  2. Wipe your soapstone sink clean with soap and water. This should be sufficient to remove any soil: Soapstone is essentially impermeable and although it will discolor when liquid touches it, the liquid will evaporate without leaving a stain.

  3. Clean scratches out of your soapstone sink by sanding with 300- to 400-grit sandpaper. Deep scratches may require starting with heavier grit sandpaper and then working your way up to the 300- to 400-grit.

  4. Oil your soapstone sink after sanding and periodically throughout the life of the sink--once a month for the first 18 months and then twice a year thereafter--to help maintain its smooth, uniform finish. Apply a thin coating of mineral oil and distribute it evenly by wiping with a clean rag.