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Old 01-10-2019, 08:28 PM   #1
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2018 25' International
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2016
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Brand New Lavy Sink is Tarnishing???

We have a 2018 Rear Twin 25' International Signature. Last December 5th, our Airstream dealer replaced our stainless-steel lavatory sink at no charge because its was tarnished along its sides.

We have been camping since then. As shown below, the tarnish is beginning to return.

Is this a common occurrence? What could we be doing to cause this? How can we remove the current tarnish? Is there a way to prevent more tarnishing?
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:02 PM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2,473
Barkeeper's friend in liquid formula?
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:25 PM   #3
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2002 19' Bambi
Lafayette , California
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There are various types of stainless steel and none of them are truly stainless. As AtomicNo13 says, Barkeeper's Friend would probably take off the spots. In truth, practically any metal polish or something like Soft Scrub would, too. Even toothpaste will usually work. Cleaning agents containing bleach of any sort are not a good idea nor is something like pure Clorox. Bleach is an oxidizing agent that any steel, stainless or not, will react to. Rust is the result.

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Old 01-11-2019, 06:56 AM   #4
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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This particular model sink I believe has been used in some fashion on trailers dating back to 2003ish as far as I can tell. My 2004, built in late 2003, has this same sink in the back of the rig. I haven't had any surface issues in 15 years with the sink itself. Only issue I have is that the drain plug closes on it's own once in a while. One time when I was flushing out the lines and just caught the water before it ran over the top of the sink. Of course, who knows if it's the same company providing the sink 15 years later. As has been pointed out, there are a few different levels of "stainless" out there and just about 2x the vendors that make that style sink.

I've used stainless cleaner on mine, Pledge, lemon and regular scrubbing bubbles, Windex for general cleaning and shine, not leaving crud on the surface very long either. Not entirely sure I remember right, but I might even have put a coat of car wax on it after I cleaned it on days my OCD meds aren't quite dialed in right--(tongue in cheek, I'm not really on OCD meds), but if I did wax my sink, maybe I should be.

If this is your second sink, a call to the factory might not be a bad idea at this point. They may have switched vendors and that vendor is supplying them with an inferior sink compared to the previous units?! I haven't been looking regularly, but this is the first time I've heard of such a problem with the stainless sinks...and I've heard, read and exp first hand a lot of issues, but none with the stainless sinks. Since yours is a 2018, perhaps something changed recently that the factory isn't even aware of yet.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:14 AM   #5
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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We have had three Airstreams over the last thirteen years. All had a similar stainless steel sink to yours. We have used our Airstreams extensively and have never seen the corrosive condition of your sink.

I believe that I would start with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar product and move up to something more abrasive if necessary.

This situation is most likely the result of Airstream's supplier using a low grade stainless in the manufacture of these sink bowls.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:28 AM   #6
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Elgin , Texas
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We have a 2018 Flying Cloud 30. Do not have the tarnish issue shown in your photos. We always wipe the sink dry after every use. Perhaps that helps.
Bill Caz.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:35 AM   #7
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2018 23' International
Crescent City , California
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Very common. We use Barkeeper's Friend and polish when needed.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:53 AM   #8
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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Try scotch bright in a circular fashion in the direction to the lines that are already there. If there are pits left then the alloy is not good. Usually caused by not enough chromium in the alloy. Also aggressive cleaning solvents and long term exposure to salts and bleach can cause pitting. A lesser abrasive would be those white polishing sponges.

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Old 01-11-2019, 12:21 PM   #9
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1989 29' Excella
1979 31' Sovereign
1999 25' Safari
Youngsville , North Carolina
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I have to agree with moosetags, most likely inferior SS, sourced from China.

Has anyone ever seen a similar problem with their homes Kitchen SS sinks? Probably not.

I would contact mother ship, and see what they have to say.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:32 PM   #10
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Napa , California
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Barkeeper's Friend will remove the crude, and gentle use of a Stainless Steel Polish (Sprayway Stainless Steel Cleaner works very well, Original Bee's Wax Spray or Pledge) will enhance the shine and add a barrier to whatever is causing the issue.

We had a brand new, very expensive stainless sink in our house and the painters cleaned some brushes in it that instantly started this same problem "latex paint, what could possibly go wrong?". I demanded a new sink, but the repair man offered to clean it up and monitor it (the general contractor was on call to pay for it if it didn't clean up to perfection). Barkeeper's friend and Sprayway worked and it has looked like brand new for five years now.

Be aware since you have had this issue twice it may be related to some product you are using in the trailer. Tooth whiteners or mouthwash? Bug Spray? Hair Spray? Spray antiperspirant? Astringent soap or chemical cleaners? Wiping the sink out after using will help to alleviate issues as well.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:32 PM   #11
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2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
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I suspect you used bleach at some point to clean the sink. Bleach is an oxidizer, which probably rusted impurities in the stainless alloy causing the rusty spots. Bar Keepers Friend contains oxalic acid, which will help reduce the appearance of those Rusty spots. Using a wax or other sealant isn't a good idea.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:40 PM   #12
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Fallbrook , California
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This has happened/is happening to us too.I had never used anything harsh on the sink, only water and mild green soap cleanser. They replaced our sink, and our stove top and all our vent covers (which were all showing rust? discoloration of some sort too)... our sink is strating to show again the same, but not as bad spots. I'm worried it is just the way it is and we have to accept it as normal.
After several camping trips, I hardly notice it anymore because I think I have moved on into acceptance...good or bad. I'll try some of the suggestions too.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:42 PM   #13
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Fallbrook , California
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I agree, and accept this is the problem that can't be overcome, since I have already had the sink repaired and notice it again on my 2017 Flying Cloud
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:29 PM   #14
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2019 25' International
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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When cleaning your sinks, always wash it going with the grain of the sink. I've always used Scrubbing Bubbles spray on sink and toilet with good (fast) results.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:49 PM   #15
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Got rid of it, it’s looks like crap after brushing your teeth.
"Ferdara" Mark and Michael Broussard-Hubbard
Aluminum pulling Aluminum 2018 F-150 4X4 Platinum, 3.5L V-6, 10 speed trans, 6.5 bed, Max Tow 3.55 Elec Locking axle, Roadmaster Active Suspension ~ 2015 Airstream Custom Ordered 27fb International Serenity - Lafayette Louisiana
WBCCI 11100
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:20 AM   #16
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Trent Woods , North Carolina
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I fought this problems for a few years and observed the same problem on other Airstreams. The lav sink looks crummy, although the galley sink looks fine.
I finally just replaced mine with a Kohler round porcelain sink, just required a little bit of counter cutting with a jig saw. Looks way better.
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:39 AM   #17
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Bulahdelah , NSW Australia
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Why give in to AS's policy of sourcing cheap goods and selling them at 5 star prices.
Tony LEE
International Grey Nomad.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:09 PM   #18
Jim J
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Austin , Texas
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Are you putting other non stainless steel in your sink?

Under most conditions Stainless is rust free but it can be made to rust.

One way to start stainless steel rusting is to put some other steel that will easily rust on top of it. Make sure you are not using a steel wool pad or any steel utensils in your sink, but if you do, do not leave them in there and rinse thoroughly after you remove them. Ditto for other metals which can cause galvanic corrosion.

Pitting is usually caused by chlorides like chlorine bleach or salt. If you use Clorox wipes to clean your sink, stop. Try a mild detergent and water. I usually use Windex or 409 without issues. If you are dumping salty water in your bowl, rinse it with fresh water afterwards.

Low pH can cause corrosion of SS. Do not dump other acidic chemicals into your sink bowl and fail to rinse it out with fresh water.

The attached link has more.

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Old 01-16-2019, 01:38 PM   #19
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2016 30' International
Quartz Hill , California
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We use scrubbing bubbles, soft scrub, or Bon Ami to clean our sinks. Never had a problem with our sinks. Also never use the green scotch brite pads. They ere far too abrasive. We have used the blue ones which are scratchless and work well on tough stains. WalMart stocks them.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:19 PM   #20
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2019 30' International
Merritt Island , Florida
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I use this on my boat, any exposed metal (Aluminum or SS) and used it in my other camper's (that had much cheaper SS sinks) and it keeps it them from pitting. I've just started using it in my 2019 Airstream, Rupp Aluma Guard Aluminum Protectant.
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