I'm dyeing here.
September 30, 2012 10:45 AM   Subscribe

RIT dye and a stainless steel sink - now there's a line in the sink where the dye level was. How, why, and can I get rid of it?

Renting a house with the landlord (I live with her), and I asked for permission to dye an article of clothing. She said that the stainless steel kitchen sink would be the place she recommends, because it won't stain. So, that's what I did. I used Navy Blue RIT powdered dye according to the directions, and according to the directions, I scrubbed down the entire sink with Comet (which includes bleach) afterwards. And I only had the dye bath in the sink for 30 minutes. But now there's this line where the dye level was - it's like the steel that was exposed to the dye is a lot lighter and shinier than the steel above it, and it's obvious. Like, the dye also did some sort of weird chemical cleaning process to the steel. The sink isn't damaged, but the line is obvious.

(This was also a one-off dyeing project, I don't dye things on a regular basis, nor do I expect to.)

So, is this normal? Will it fade in time? If not, how do I get rid of it? I REALLY don't want to have to replace her sink!
posted by spinifex23 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total)
Best answer: You could try a "magic eraser". I have found this helps with similar issues. You can buy the generic brand at a dollar store or the four dollar brand name kind at the grocery store. (And they are apparently not carcinogenic, as I was originally told).

Failing that try emery cloth from a hardware store. You can use emery cloth to polish a stainless steel sink that is looking dull from wear even without a stain problem. I am guessing the dye has gotten into the minute scratches in the lower half of the sink.
posted by Jane the Brown at 10:51 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Try Bar Keeper's Friend cleaner, usually in the same aisle as Comet. Much better cleaning ability!
posted by vers at 10:59 AM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Bar Keeper's Friend. If that doesn't do the trick, then likely nothing will.
posted by cecic at 11:22 AM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fine grit sandpaper? I might be wrong on this, so test in an innocuous spot beforehand.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:56 AM on September 30, 2012

Response by poster: Off to try Barkeepers friend and a Magic Eraser - thanks!
posted by spinifex23 at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2012

Fine grit sandpaper?

Absolutely not.
posted by ook at 1:36 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

BKF will probably do a decent job, but failing that, the next step might be a specifically-labeled stainless steel cleaner. Whirlpool has one, ZEP and Weiman's are other brands. In this case I would look for a cream-type or I would create a paste from a powder-type, such that you could leave it on -- 10-15 minutes should be plenty.
posted by dhartung at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2012

Response by poster: I'm staying away from anything heavy like sandpaper or Emory boards. I'm uploading pics now, so all you can see what it looks like.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2012

Response by poster: Here are two pics of the sink, where one can see the line in question:

The full sink.
The closeup of a corner.

I tried Magic Eraser to no effect, and I also tried Barmaid's Friend, to no effect. I even mixed the latter into a paste, put it on the line, and left it there for 5 minutes or so before scrubbing. It really looks like a chemical reaction vs. just not scrubbing enough for me. I can try making a poultice and keeping it on longer, but I'm not taking sandpaper or something to it.

Other ideas?
posted by spinifex23 at 2:10 PM on September 30, 2012

Contact Rit.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2012

Do you have Jif or gumption or Ajax in your country? Cream cleansers with no water should do it.
posted by taff at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2012

As a last resort, you could try exposing the entire sink to the same dyeing/cleaning process that you exposed the bottom of it to. That might make the sink look uniform again. From your pictures it sort of looks as if the bottom part of the sink is actually cleaner than the top, perhaps due more to the Comet than the RIT? Is it possible that what you are looking at is a bleach line from the Comet rather than a dye line from the RIT? Maybe you should try thoroughly cleaning the entire sink with Comet if you haven't already.
posted by Scientist at 3:31 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I think it's an acid reaction from the RIT, that's the only thing I can think of. I just tried covering the entire sink in a poultice of the Barmaid's Friend, and letting it sit for an hour or so. Line is still there. However, I now have the cleanest, shiniest sink anywhere.

I thought of doing the 'buy more RIT' and try to cover it up, but I don't want to either damage the sink or potentially make the problem worse. Not to mention that when RIT gets on something else, it's a bear to clean up. I'll just talk to the landlord about it, and the sink is definitely still useable.

It's also the cleanest sink anywhere right now!
posted by spinifex23 at 3:41 PM on September 30, 2012

Response by poster: And yeah, I'll be calling RIT in the morning.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:42 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: I think it's always been there, and the fact that you're lookinf at the sink more closely now means you've just noticed it. As evidence, two pictures of my stainless sink, which has never contained dye or indeed anything other than water, showing a very similar line near the bend. I think the line is caused by the machine that gives it the brushed appearance.
posted by chazlarson at 3:47 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: *looking
posted by chazlarson at 3:47 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: Isn't that just the normal stainless steel sink line? Ours has that too. It's more noticeable when the sink is clean and shiny.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:14 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ok. You all just made my day. It probably is, and cleaning it thoroughly for once just exposed it.

Seriously. I just want to hug you all. And that Barmaid's Friend powder is made by angels. I just know it.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:34 PM on September 30, 2012

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