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How to Clean Your Home’s Dirtiest Zone: The Kitchen Sink

You’d think all that running water would keep them pretty spiffy, but sinks are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria. In fact, there’s a good chance it’s the dirtiest spot of your whole house. Here’s how to properly clean your kitchen sink.

4 min read

Dirty dishes, food particles rinsed from cutting boards, grimy mildew. These are the things that make sinks one of the dirtiest spots in your home. Fortunately, you don’t have to bleach the sink every day to keep your home healthy. Everyday dish soap or natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar, coupled with a good scrub brush, can keep germs at bay. 

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Step 1: Scrub and rinse.

Give your sink a good scrub with a soap-dispensing brush. A mixture of mild dish soap and water is the best way to clean most sinks, particularly those with more delicate surfaces like copper or enameled cast iron. Baking soda and water pastes work on tougher sinks, such as stainless steel, but you’ll want to avoid acidic cleaners like vinegar on concrete, porcelain, or enameled cast iron.

  • Stainless Steel: Use a baking soda and water paste, followed by a vinegar rinse.
  • Porcelain, Copper and Granite: Mix warm water with a mild dish soap. (No scouring pads!)
  • Enameled Cast Iron: Most non-abrasive methods work. (Avoid stains and scuff marks.)


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Step 2: Clean the nooks and crannies.

Don’t forget to clean those hard-to-reach spaces that harbor germy grime. You can use water and white vinegar to soak faucets, spray nozzles, and sink strainers. Scour grime along the faucet base and drain edges with a deep clean brush

Step 3: Disinfect it.

To make a stainless steel sink sparkle, fill a spray bottle with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water to wipe it down. White vinegar includes acetic acid, a natural disinfectant that effectively kills common germs. For surfaces that aren’t vinegar-safe, use a mixture of hot water and antibacterial soap.

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Step 4: Clean your tools, too.

What’s even dirtier than your kitchen sink? Your dish sponge, of course! When it starts to stink, discard it. It’s also a good idea to scrub your sponge holder, dish brush, and sink mat (or just run them through the dishwasher).

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Step 5: Keep it tidy.

To keep your kitchen healthy, restock sponges and dish brushes regularly, and keep them corralled in a dishwasher-safe caddy. Choose a ventilated design for sanitary drying, and clean it whenever you replace your sponge.

Good Tip for Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal:

To clean a garbage disposal, stop the drain and fill the sink with hot, soapy water. Unstop the drain and run the disposal, then, fill it with 1 cup of ice and ½ cup of salt. Run the disposal, turn it off, then add ½ cup of baking soda. Let the mixture sit for an hour, then follow up with ½ cup of vinegar. Turn on the cold water tap and run the disposal for one more minute. For extra freshness, finish by disposing of a chopped lemon wedge while the tap is on.

For daily cleaning, wipe the sink down with soap and water, and use this routine any time you need to disinfect. Plus, here's how to disinfect a stainless steel sink.


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