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How To Install A Faucet

Part 3:  Clean up the sink... YUCK!

Dirty sink after removing old faucetOnce you remove the faucet from the sink, you may be quite shocked at the mess it has left behind.  Years of cleaning and wear tends to leave a "ring" where the faucet once was.  The bases of all the older and many new faucets are set with plumber's putty, which must be removed before the new faucet is installed.

If the new faucet covers the same real estate as the old one, your cleaning chores will be less arduous, since the new putty or faucet gasket will compensate for slight amounts of yuck.

If your faucet is smaller than the original, you will need to do a better job of cleaning to remove the old "ring around the faucet".  Try these tips, but  sometimes there is no way to make these "marks of age" completely disappear!

  • Any putty or caulk that doesn't just fall off should come off with a gentle scrape with the help of any flat tool such as a screwdriver, scraper or razor blade.  If any large, hard pieces of dried putty or caulk remain, you can soften them with a hair dryer or heat gun before scraping.
  • Use a mild abrasive, such as ZUD or Barkeeper's Friend, with hot water and a sponge to remove the remains of the putty and also slight mineral deposits.  These are virtually identical products... mildly abrasive with oxalic acid instead of chlorine as a bleach/cleaning agent.  Most hardware stores carry one of them... some both!
  • Rub the cleaner in a "back and forth" manner, not circular.  Slight "swirls" caused by circular rubbing are much more noticeable, especially on stainless steel!
  • The oxalic acid in these cleansers does a great job of removing mineral deposits and stains, though you might have to make a "slurry" of the cleanser and warm water and leave it on the surface for a while.  They are also mild enough to be used on cultured marble, though vigorous scrubbing is NOT recommended!!  
  • On a china sink (NOT cultured marble, pulleeze!), you can use a pumice stick to remove most types of solid residues.  Pumice sticks must be used with water to be most effective.  Follow the directions on the stick for maximum effectiveness and minimal chance of damage!  Again, do not use a circular motion when rubbing!
  • Chlorine bleach cleansers (you know which ones I mean!) should never be used on stainless steel... it may lead to corrosion on some types of stainless steel!  These can be used on china sinks, though.  Also, chlorine bleach can actually set mineral stains, making them all but impossible to remove!

The next part of this series of articles will show the glorious results of our cleanup efforts!

Continue to Part 4:   Hallelujah... Time to install the new faucet!

Back to Part 1:  Looking at your old faucet... surprise!
Back to Part 2:  The hardest part... removing the old faucet!