You scrub your dishes in your kitchen sink every day, but how often do you actually scour the sink itself? We tend to think of our sinks as being “clean” because they are constantly being rinsed with water (and a fair amount of dish soap too). Over time though, germs can get a foothold (did you know that it is actually dirtier than your toilet?). So now and again, you need to get serious about cleaning your kitchen sink. Otherwise, it won’t be a sanitary place to wash your dishes!
That means rolling up your sleeves, grabbing a few cleaning supplies, and putting some elbow grease into the job. In this article, we are going to teach you everything you need to know to get your sink spotless and germ-free!
- Liquid soap
- Baking soda
- White vinegar (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Old toothbrush
You’ll notice we’ve listed the white vinegar as “optional” here along with the lemon juice. That is because they can be handy, but whether or not they are appropriate depends on the type of sink you have.
Here are some specific precautions for cleaning different types of kitchen sinks:
- Stainless steel: Keep acids and salts away from stainless steel, as well as ammonia and bleach. Also, avoid using sponges with an abrasive texture. You don’t want to damage the beautiful finish on your stainless steel sink. Some people said that you can use lemon despite its acidic properties. If you do this, we recommend not leaving it in contact with the steel for too long — or just skip it to be on the safe side.
- Ceramic: This material may be scratched easily. For that reason, you should not use abrasive materials or cleaning agents.
- Cast iron: Cast iron sinks come with an enamel coating, so you must take care when scrubbing it. Abrasive cleaners, sponge pads, and wire brushes should be avoided.
- Copper: Do not use harsh chemicals. Avoid acids as well if the sink has a patina. Otherwise, the patina could be damaged or stripped away.
- Stone: As stone is porous, it can absorb anything that comes into contact with it. For this reason, you should not use harsh chemicals or acids.
- Porcelain: Mild acids like lemon juice or vinegar are usually fine so long as you do not leave them sitting for too long.
Basic Steps to Clean A Kitchen Sink:
- Start by rinsing out your sink. Get all of the debris out of the way so that you can work.
- Next, dust the inside of the sink with baking soda. Get a sponge and start scrubbing. In contact with the wet surface of the sink, the baking soda will form a paste. This is a great way to pull up any stubborn debris and also take care of stains. It should give your sink a bit of a polish as well.
- Now it is time to tackle the drain flaps, the faucet, and the handles. Baking soda paste works great for this as well. Switch from the sponge to the toothbrush so you can get into all the nooks and crannies.
- Rinse out the sink. Get a paper towel and wipe down the faucet and handles as well so that all of the baking soda is gone.
- This final step is optional. If your sink finish is likely to be damaged by vinegar, do not do it. If vinegar is safe to use in your sink, soak a few paper towels in it, and then use them to line the inside of the sink as well as the faucet and handles. Go and do something else for 20 minutes, then come back and remove the paper towels. Finish up with one more quick rinse of your sink using dish soap and warm water.
Advice for Stubborn Stains:
Got a stubborn stain that just won’t come out? You may need to do some concentrated spot work. This is where you can use the lemon juice. Try mixing it in with some borax (so long as you are not cleaning a surface where borax will be too abrasive) and scrub hard.
Alternately, you can try again with the baking soda or the vinegar. Harsher products like ammonia, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide might work if absolutely necessary, but these can damage a lot of sink finishes, so use them only as a last resort.
Long-Term Care for Your Kitchen Sink
What is the best way to avoid having to give your kitchen sink a meticulous cleaning? You know the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, that applies with kitchen sinks too.
After every use of your sink, rinse the entire basin thoroughly. Then grab a soft cloth and wipe down all the surfaces so that they are dry. Do that each and every time, and you will minimize the amount of maintenance your sink needs to stay sparkling clean.
Now and again, you will still have to thoroughly clean and sanitize your kitchen sink, but the more diligent you are with the daily rinse and wipe-down, the less often you will need to bring out the baking soda and the vinegar.
One last tip is to make sure you do not leave certain foods or beverages in contact with your sink for too long. Coffee grounds and tea bags are particularly notorious for leaving deep, stubborn stains on sink surfaces. The sooner you get these out of your sink and rinse out any residue, the better.
With Regular Cleanings, Your Kitchen Sink Can Retain Its Spotless Shine For Years to Come
Once you get your dishes washed, dried, and put away, the last thing you probably feel like doing is scrubbing down the entire kitchen sink. But you know what? A clean kitchen sink is worth it. Keeping your kitchen sink sanitized means you and your family stay healthy. And by buffing up the polish on your sink now and again, you can bring it back to that same beautiful shine it had on the day when it was new.