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How to clean your kitchen sink: essential tips

6th Mar '24 • By Rohit Mankame

Your kitchen sink acts as the true workhorse of the home, which is why regular maintenance is crucial to ensure it stays in top shape and to help keep your family healthy.

You clean your dishes daily in the kitchen sink, but how often are you cleaning the sink itself? We like to think of our sinks as being "clean" because they're constantly rinsed with water and plenty of dish soap. Despite this, germs can get a foothold over time — dirty plates, pieces of food, and grimy mildew make your sink one of the home's dirtiest surfaces.

Hiring a professional cleaner is one way to get this area in pristine condition, but if you want to maintain your sink

Article Summary

  • What are the different types of sinks and how can you protect them?
  • What supplies do you need to clean your sink?
  • What are the steps for cleaning a sink?
  • How do you keep your sink clean long-term?


What are the different types of sinks and how can you protect them?

Stainless Steel

  • Cleaning Method: Mix mild dish soap with warm water. Apply with a soft cloth or sponge. For tougher stains, use a paste of baking soda and water.
  • What to Avoid: Abrasive substances like acids, salts, ammonia, and bleach. Avoid abrasive sponges that can scratch the surface.


  • Cleaning Method: Create a paste using baking soda and water for gentle scrubbing. Wipe with a soft cloth or sponge. For stains, use a mixture of white vinegar and water.
  • What to Avoid: Abrasive materials and harsh cleaning agents that can scratch or damage the ceramic surface.

Cast Iron

  • Cleaning Method: Use a paste of baking soda and water for gentle scrubbing. Soft-bristle brushes work well. Wipe with a soft cloth. For tough stains, use a mild dish soap solution.
  • What to Avoid: Abrasive cleaners, sponge pads, and wire brushes that can damage the enamel coating.


  • Cleaning Method: Mix lemon juice and salt to form a paste for cleaning. Gently scrub using a soft cloth. Wipe with a clean, dry cloth to prevent water spots.
  • What to Avoid: Harsh chemicals and acids, as they can damage the patina. Avoid abrasive tools that may scratch the surface.


  • Cleaning Method: Wipe with a damp, soft cloth or sponge. For tougher stains, use a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Periodically, apply a stone sealer to protect the surface.
  • What to Avoid: Harsh chemicals or acids that can penetrate the porous surface. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.


  • Cleaning Method: Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge. For stains, use a mixture of vinegar and water. Periodically, use a gentle abrasive like baking soda for stubborn stains.
  • What to Avoid: Leaving acidic substances for too long. Avoid harsh abrasives that can scratch the porcelain surface.

What supplies do you need to clean your sink?

Here are some of the key supplies to have on hand for maintaining your kitchen sink:

  • Liquid soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Sponge
  • Old toothbrush
  • Scrubber


What are the steps for cleaning the sink?

1. Scrub and rinse

With a soap-dispensing brush, give your sink a good scrub. The best way to clean most sinks, particularly those with more delicate surfaces like copper or enamelled cast iron, is to combine mild dish soap and water. On tougher sinks, such as stainless steel, baking soda and water pastes work just as well, but you'll want to avoid acidic cleaners on concrete, porcelain, or enamelled cast iron sinks.

2. Clean the hard-to-reach spots

Scrub those hard-to-reach spaces with a spray cleaner. You can soak faucets, spray nozzles, and sink strainers using water and white vinegar. Use a deep clean brush to scour grime around the faucet base and drain edges.

3. Disinfect the sink 

Coat your stainless steel sink with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  White vinegar contains acetic acid, a natural disinfectant that kills common germs effectively. Use a combination of hot water and antibacterial soap for sinks that are not vinegar-safe.

4. Keep it clean 

Regularly restock sponges and dish brushes to keep your sink clean. Keep them in a well-ventilated spot which is also cleaned regularly, to ensure your sponge stays sanitary.

How do you keep your sink clean long-term?

Rinse the entire basin thoroughly after every use of your sink. Take a soft cloth and wipe all the surfaces to dry them. Do this each time to decrease the overall maintenance of your sink. 

You should also clean and sanitise your sink weekly, but the more vigilant you are with the occasional rinse and wipe-down, the less likely you need to pull out the baking soda and the vinegar. 

One last tip is to not leave certain food or drinks in contact with your sink. Especially items like coffee grounds and tea bags are known for leaving deep, stubborn stains on sink surfaces. The earlier you remove these from your sink and clean any residue, the better.

Need some extra help keeping your kitchen pristine? Get in touch with local cleaning professionals today.

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How often should you clean your kitchen sink?

The frequency of sink cleaning depends on the type of material. Generally, a daily wipe with dish soap or natural cleaners suffices. Signs that a thorough cleaning is needed include persistent stains, unpleasant odours, or visible buildup. For stainless steel, cast iron, and ceramic sinks, weekly cleaning is suitable. However, stone and copper sinks may require more frequent attention due to their porous nature.

How do you clean a sink in households with infants or those with compromised immune systems to increase hygiene and safety?

  • Use mild, non-toxic cleaners such as white vinegar or lemon juice for daily maintenance.
  • Consider opting for eco-friendly products to minimise chemical exposure.
  • Ensure thorough rinsing and drying after cleaning to eliminate any residue.
  • Regular disinfection is crucial, especially in households with vulnerable individuals. In such cases, consulting with a healthcare professional for specific cleaning recommendations is recommended.

What are some eco-friendly or sustainable cleaning alternatives for sinks?

To reduce environmental impact, consider using eco-friendly alternatives such as plant-based liquid soaps, baking soda, and white vinegar. These options are effective for daily maintenance and pose minimal harm to the environment. Additionally, explore sustainable cleaning tools like bamboo scrub brushes and reusable cleaning cloths. Making these eco-conscious choices not only benefits the planet but also contributes to maintaining a healthy living space.

What is a patina?

In the context of a copper sink, the patina is a natural tarnish that develops on the surface of the copper due to exposure to air, moisture, and other elements. This patina can give the copper a distinctive colour and texture, ranging from brown to greenish hues. Some people appreciate the aesthetic qualities of a well-developed patina and consider it a desirable aspect of certain materials, while others may prefer to maintain a polished or pristine appearance.

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