How to Clean Tin Backsplash

Having a tin backsplash in your kitchen can add an elegant and timeless look. However, like any other surface, tin backsplashes are prone to grease splatters, food stains, water spots, and dust buildup over time. Cleaning a tin backsplash regularly is important not only for maintaining its appearance but also for removing bacteria that can accumulate on its surface. With the right techniques and cleaning solutions, keeping your tin backsplash sparkling clean doesn’t have to be difficult.

Why Regular Cleaning is Important

Tin backsplashes require more frequent cleaning than other kitchen surfaces because tin is a porous material. This means liquids, grease and grime can seep into the pores over time. Without regular cleaning, stains can build up and become more difficult to remove. Grease and food splatters also provide a breeding ground for bacteria.

Keeping your tin backsplash clean not only maintains its aesthetic appeal but also helps remove germs that can contaminate food and spread illness. Make cleaning your backsplash part of your regular kitchen cleaning routine.

Supplies Needed

Cleaning a tin backsplash doesn’t require any specialized tools or expensive cleaners. Simple ingredients like dish soap, vinegar, baking soda and lemon can be just as effective as store-bought cleaners. Here are some recommended supplies:

  • Dish soap: An everyday dish soap works well for most cleaning tasks. Choose a mild formula.
  • White vinegar: The acetic acid in vinegar helps dissolve grease, grime and mineral deposits. Undiluted white vinegar is safe for tin.
  • Baking soda: A gentle abrasive that lifts dirt when combined with water or vinegar. Also neutralizes odors.
  • Lemon juice: Helps remove grime and brighten the tin surface. The acid in lemon also disinfects.
  • Clean cloths and sponges: Soft cotton cloths, microfiber cloths and sponges won’t scratch the tin surface.
  • Old toothbrush: For scrubbing in crevices and grout lines.
  • Clear spray bottle: For applying homemade cleaners evenly over the surface.
  • Glass cleaner: An ammonia-free formula helps remove fingerprints and smudges.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Disinfects and removes stubborn grease stains.
  • Polishing paste: Optional for buffing the tin to a shine after cleaning.

Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrubbing tools which can scratch and damage the tin over time. Harsh chemical cleaners are also unnecessary and can discolor or corrode the surface.

Cleaning Methods

How you clean a tin backsplash depends on how often it’s maintained and the degree of grime buildup. Light, routine cleaning requires only a mild soap and water solution. For a deep clean of accumulated stains and grease, use a combination of the natural cleaners mentioned above.

Here are some recommended techniques:

Routine Cleaning

  • Wipe down the backsplash with a soft sponge or cloth soaked in warm water mixed with a small amount of dish soap.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • For water spots or light grime, rub the area gently with a paste of baking soda and water. Rinse and dry.
  • Buff with a microfiber cloth to restore shine.

Deep Cleaning

  • Make a cleaning solution by combining 1⁄4 cup white vinegar with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle filled with warm water. Shake well.
  • Liberally spray the solution over the entire backsplash surface. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • Scrub with a soft brush or sponge, concentrating on stained or greasy areas.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry the surface completely with a soft cloth.
  • For stubborn deposits or discoloration, make a paste with baking soda and lemon juice. Gently scrub the affected areas with the paste using a soft bristle brush. Rinse and dry.
  • Rub a cut lemon over the surface in circular motions, then rinse. The acid in the lemon brightens the tin.
  • Clean grout lines using an old toothbrush and baking soda paste. Scrub gently and rinse.
  • Disinfect and remove grease buildup with rubbing alcohol applied to a soft cloth as needed.
  • Buff dry tin with a microfiber cloth to restore its shine after cleaning.

Preventing Water Stains

Hard water can leave visible mineral deposits on a tin backsplash. Try these tips to prevent water spots:

  • After cleaning, go over the surface with a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol to help prevent water droplets from drying and leaving marks.
  • Rinse the backsplash thoroughly with clean water and dry completely each time you clean.
  • Use a squeegee on the backsplash after it gets wet to prevent water from drying and leaving marks. Wipe with a soft cloth after squeegeeing.
  • Apply a small amount of car wax or polishing paste and buff the tin about once a month to protect the surface from moisture and hard water deposits.

Cleaning Products to Avoid

While tin is durable, some cleaners and tools can damage the surface over time. Avoid the following:

  • Abrasive scrubbers or scouring powders: These can scratch and wear down the finish.
  • Steel wool pads: Tiny fragments of wire can rub off and rust on the tin.
  • Harsh chemicals: Drain cleaners, oven cleaners and acidic products will corrode and discolor tin over time.
  • Ammonia-based cleaners: These can discolor or dull the shine of tin.
  • Bleach-based cleaners: These can react with the metals in tin and cause pitting or corrosion.

Stick to mild dish soap, baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice for the safest yet effective cleaning results.

Caring for a Tin Backsplash

With regular cleaning and proper care, a quality tin backsplash can maintain its original brilliance and withstand decades of use. Here are some tips for keeping tin in good condition:

  • Dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water spots.
  • Use a polish or wax occasionally to protect the finish.
  • Rinse detergent or cleaning solutions off fully to prevent a film from developing.
  • Clean up spills right away to prevent stains from setting in.
  • Avoid using cleaners or products containing chlorine, ammonia or bleach.
  • Don’t let grease buildup go unchecked or it can penetrate the pores.
  • Consider applying a food-safe sealant initially and re-coating every couple of years.
  • Repair any scratches, chips or damage to prevent further issues.

Beautiful and timeless, a tin backsplash can be easy to maintain with the proper care and cleaning methods. Keep it looking brilliant for years to come with regular upkeep using safe yet effective ingredients and techniques. With a little diligence, your tin backsplash will retain its original radiance and charm.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to clean grease off a tin backsplash?

Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle of warm water. Liberally spray the greasy areas and let sit for 2-3 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush or sponge and rinsing clean. The vinegar will help cut through the grease.

How can I make my tin backsplash shiny again?

After cleaning, rub the backsplash with a soft cloth and a small amount of lemon oil, car wax or polishing paste designed for metal. Use gentle circular motions. Buff to a shine with a clean microfiber cloth. Avoid polishes with abrasives.

How often should I deep clean my tin backsplash?

Plan to do a thorough deep cleaning at least once a month. This will prevent any stains or grime from becoming too built up and harder to remove. For routine maintenance, clean as needed or wipe down daily.

What is the best way to clean grout around a tin backsplash?

Use an old toothbrush and a paste of baking soda and water to gently scrub the grout lines. The baking soda will help lift dirt and brighten the grout. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing. Avoid harsh chemical grout cleaners which can discolor the grout or react with the tin.

Why does my tin backsplash have rust stains?

Rust stains on tin can happen when the tin comes into contact with steel wool pads or iron particles. Avoid using steel wool when cleaning tin. If rust stains occur, remove them right away with a rust stain remover or oxalic acid-based cleaner. Prevent future stains by sealing the tin periodically.

Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean my tin backsplash?

Yes, rubbing alcohol is safe for cleaning tin backsplashes. It helps eliminate greasy buildup and also disinfects the surface. Use a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol and wipe the backsplash down regularly when cleaning.

What causes black spots on my tin backsplash?

Black spots can be caused by grease splatters that have burnt onto the surface. To remove, spray the area with degreaser and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub with a soft brush, then rinse and dry. Or try gently scraping off the spot with a plastic scraper after applying the degreaser. Prevent this by cleaning up grease spills right away.

How can I get rid of hard water stains on tin?

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and rub onto the stains with a soft cloth. Let the solution sit for 5 minutes before rinsing clear. The vinegar will help dissolve the mineral deposits. Buff dry with a cloth. Using a squeegee after washing can help prevent hard water spots.

What should I seal a tin backsplash with?

Some options are paste wax, car wax, or a food-safe metal sealant. Apply a thin, even coat with a soft cloth and buff gently. Reapply every 1-2 years. This helps protect the finish from moisture, grease stains and tarnishing. Avoid sealants containing ammonia, bleach or abrasives.


A beautiful tin backsplash can be easily maintained with regular gentle cleaning using dish soap, vinegar, baking soda and other natural products. Take time once a month to deep clean built-up grime and use daily basic cleaning methods for routine upkeep. Avoid abrasive tools or harsh chemicals that can damage the tin over time. With the proper care, your tin backsplash will provide elegance and sophistication in your kitchen for many years before needing re-finishing. The key is keeping up with consistent cleaning using safe ingredients and techniques.