You may have heard that a kitchen sink is likely home to more bacteria than a toilet seat, and if you haven’t heard that, sorry for ruining your day.
Unfortunately, the kitchen sink gets exposed to many different bacteria, but can be easily overlooked when cleaning. The result is often a sink that’s dirty and can even smell in an otherwise tidy kitchen.
If you aren’t sure how to tackle the bacteria lurking in your home’s kitchen sink, you have come to the right place. We’ll outline five ways you can keep the sparkle in the sink and not risk missing this hot spot for bacteria when you clean your kitchen.
For those who might be ready to replace their kitchen sink, checkout our roundup of the best farmhouse sinks for your upgrade.
1. Tried and True
A super easy way to cut down on the germs in the sink is simply to scrub it out with dish soap and hot water.
It may sound obvious, and if you already do that, you are one step ahead. Yet, many people overlook this vital first step.
Dish soap is, after all, what we use to clean dishes and make them fit for eating from, so it stands to reason that some of those same suds could help kill germs in the sink. Just be sure to use a clean sponge so that your work isn’t wasted by adding bacteria from the sponge onto the sink surface.
After you get a good lather going all over the sink rinse well with hot water.
Although the soapy sponge is a good place to start, that dish soap shouldn’t be where you stop.
The next step to take is to disinfect the entire surface of the sink, remembering the sides and faucet. Baking soda and hot water make a paste that is effective at gently scrubbing away any leftover particles. Simply scrub it on with a clean cloth before soaking some paper towels in white vinegar and laying them on top of the paste.
This combo is a safe but effective way to disinfect a surface in the kitchen or anywhere that you want to avoid harsh chemicals. There are also gentle disinfectants on the market which won’t leave a trail of harsh chemicals in your sink. Leave the paper towels on the surface of the sink for at least 20 minutes so the vinegar has a chance to disinfect the area and work through any grease that may be lingering in the sink.
Vinegar is also a good option for the faucet hardware which can be applied with an old toothbrush. Once you are done with the vinegar and baking soda solution just rinse the sink again with hot water.
3. Dry It Out
Another way to cut back on the bacteria that is able to grow and thrive in your sink is to be sure to keep the sink dry when not in use.
Once you have rinsed it with all that hot water and scrubbed it out with disinfectants and soap, make sure you remember to dry it off really well. And after washing dishes or running the tap try to wipe off the inside and outer rim of the sink so you don’t provide an ideal climate for bacteria to grow.
Note: be sure to reach for a new, clean rag or kitchen towel so that you don’t transfer new bacteria onto the sink you just cleaned.
4. Stain Fighter
Sinks stain easily and nothing spoils the look of a sink worse than staining from food. Plus, there is nothing more frustrating than going through lots of trouble to clean something only to look back and realize it still doesn’t LOOK clean.
Luckily, with the juice from half of a lemon and a half cup of Borax, you can easily take those nasty stains right out. All you need to do is grab a new sponge and let it soak up the lemon juice/Borax mix and then go to town scrubbing away the stains.
You’ll get a lot of satisfaction from seeing them disappear and an added fresh lemon scent from the solution.
5. Rust Removal
Just like stains from food, rust can be an eyesore to an otherwise pristine kitchen sink and due to all the water constantly running through a sink, it’s an all-too-common problem in the kitchen.
The good news is that you probably have some items laying around the house that can help you get rid of any rust stains you may have.
Anything from cola to WD-40 can remove rust on a stainless sink and in the case of porcelain coated sinks, a half a lemon dipped in salt and rubbed over the rust should do the trick.
If you have little kids this can double as a science experiment in a pinch. All that’s needed is a soft clean cloth to apply the cola, or WD-40 before buffing away the rust. If you use a lemon and salt, the lemon doubles as the “sponge” and can be applied directly to the stain.
Keeping a Sink Clean
In terms of preventing your sink from getting gross to start with, here are a couple things to do on a fairly regular basis:
- Remove dirty dishes quickly
- Rinse and remove food particles from the sink. (Check out our lists of garbage disposals here if you need help keeping the scraps at bay.)
- Clean the drain/disposal regularly by pouring a half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar and then a pot of boiling water. This will help clear out the drain pipes so you don’t end up with debris caught where you can’t see it.
In summary, a clean sink is extremely important to maintaining a clean kitchen.
Remember to scrub your sink often with soap and hot water, disinfect with a nontoxic disinfectant like baking soda and vinegar, and keep it dry as much as possible. Keeping clean cloths, new sponges, and an old toothbrush handy in your kitchen will help you get in the habit of cleaning the sink and make the process easier.
Also, having baking soda, vinegar, lemons, salt and even cola around means that getting a sparkling sink that looks amazing doesn’t have to be a big ordeal.
Hopefully this list of steps and “hacks” to a kitchen that is fresh and clean will help you stay healthy and happy.
More Kitchen Sink Resources
Paige is a mom of three, researcher, enthusiastic DIYer, and lightning fast typer.