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Minimalist kitchen sink, ready to be cleaned with soap nearby

How To Clean Your Sink

< 2 hours
You might not guess it, but a sink can be the dirtiest place in the home. Instead of letting food-based grime accumulate, learn more about how to clean your sink and the best ways to keep these spaces absolutely spotless.
Image of all that you'll need to clean your sink: baking soda, sponges, lemonds, salt and more

Getting Started

Before you take a close look at your sink, clear it of anything that's still within. That might look like removing a dish rack, tossing leftovers in the trash, sending food scraps down the drain toward the garbage disposal (we'll talk about how to clean that, too) and loading your dishwasher until it's full. You'll notice just how much bacteria and food refuse gets stuck here, whether it's made it's way to the drain or not. From here, we'll talk about how to clean your sink, whether it's made of porcelain, steel or something else.

Step 1: Gather Your Gear

Depending on what kind of sink you have, you'll likely need different tools to make it sparkle. You'd never use steel wool on porcelain (or any other type of sink), but some materials require a rougher touch while others require you to be gentle while cleaning. Learn how to clean your sink depending on it's material with our handy cheat sheet.
  • Stainless Steel: For a shining silvery finish, you'll want to attack kitchen grease all without leaving scratches. To do that, you'll need the following: a sponge, a microfiber cloth, baking soda, dish soap and vinegar.
  • Porous Quartz & Copper: While these two surfaces look nothing alike, you'll need to be a little more careful with them than you would most sinks. For these materials, you'll need just your classic dish soap, vinegar and warm water from your faucet.
  • Porcelain: This is a non-porous surface, so you might think you should be fine to scrub to your heart's content. But you should be gentle with this material as well: anyone will tell you it chips easily. You'll need a microfiber cloth, lemon, salt and dish soap.
  • For The Garbage Disposal & Drain: Drains are where everything ends, but they can get pretty gross, and so can garbage disposals. You'll need the following to do a thorough cleaning of both: baking soda, vinegar, lemon slices, coarse sea salt, ice cubes, and boiling water.
  • For The Faucet: A place often overlooked, the faucet can quickly get gross, especially since you touch it often with dirty hands. Whether you've been gardening outdoors or prepping uncooked ingredients like veggies, cheeses and even raw meat, this is likely where you clean your hands—and it's a spot to prioritize when learning how to clean your sink. Grab a brush, sponge, plastic bag and soapy water. If your faucet has small nooks that are harder to reach, use a bottle brush or old toothbrush. For deep cleaning, use a rubber band, vinegar and plastic bag.
A zoomed-in photo of a sink's bowl with soapy water and a pink gloved hand scrubbing the basin

Step 2: Cleaning The Basin, Walls & More

In this case of kitchen cleansing, it's best to start from the top down. The surface of your sink is easy to clean and can be harboring lots of invisible bacteria, and you want that to move towards the drain and out of your house. Explore our checklist below to learn how to clean your sink, whether it's made from perfect porcelain or shining stainless steel.
  1. Stainless Steel: Start by adding your cleanser to the damp surface. Coat the bottom of your basin in baking soda to get the ultimate clean. Keep adding baking soda until it's completely covered, going in the direction of the grain. Next, add a bit of dish soap and hot water to a sponge: it's time to scrub as you learn how to clean your sink. Work from the top down, scrubbing the walls of your sink down toward the flatter basin and eventually into the drain itself. If you see more grime left over after this process, use the following process: sprinkle with baking soda, then spray with vinegar. Once the sudsing goes down, repeat with a little more dish soap on the sponge. Finally, rinse it all away and use a microfiber cloth to take care of any water spots left behind.
  2. Quartz: Instead of baking soda, you'll be using mild dish soap and vinegar to scrub at your sink. Start with dish soap and hot water on your sponge, then scrub from the top down, beginning with the sides and moving down towards the drain. If you're running into tough stains, soak with vinegar for 15-20 minutes. Finally, rinse it all away and dry with a microfiber cloth to make sure no water residue remains.
  3. Copper: Many might ask how how to clean a sink if it's made of copper. And you're right, it's best to be careful with this material: you don't want to damage its protective patina. And for good reason: it has an antimicrobial effect! For copper sinks, use the same method as above. Begin with dish soap, a sponge and hot water, then start scrubbing. Use vinegar to soak if you still see stains or areas that need a little more attention. Vinegar is a known copper cleaner thanks to its acidic nature.
  4. Porcelain: Porcelain can easily be stained, and that's just one of the reasons why you need to know how to clean your sink. Sometimes, porcelain can even get rusty. First run the water and get the sink a bit wet, then pat it down so that it's damp, but not quite dry. Next, use baking soda to cover the surface. Finally, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxyde on top. Then it's time to scrub, either with a trusty sponge or scrub brush. Scrub from the sides all the way down, finishing by pushing any refuse into the drain. Wash it all down and dry the sink with a soft cloth.
Once you've finished scrubbing away all the bacteria on the surface, it's time to delve a little deeper when understaning how to clena your sink: move into the drain, the garbage disposal and finally the faucet.
Knives hanging from a magnetic strip in a small kitchen

Step 3: The Drain and Garbage Disposal

This is the space you'd normally expect the toughest smells to come from. It's where you wash food scraps away and forget to run the disposal, or where you wash your hands after making a meal for the holidays (complete with a massive roast turkey). Here's how to clean your sink's drain and the garbage disposal for a perfectly-functioning kitchen.
  1. Begin with baking soda: It's time to head back to the ever-functional combo of baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda on the exterior of the drain and toss some down the drain as well. You'll be using a ratio of one part baking soda to two parts of vinegar to get the desired results. Depending on the size of your drain, that could be a cup, two cups or more: just keep that ratio solid.
  2. Pour and combine: Once you've added the baking soda to the exterior of the drain and poured it down as well, pour in your vinegar. You'll see the combination begin to bubble: keep adding it slowly and gently. Next, wait 15 minutes for the reaction to complete.
  3. Hot water time: That boiling water is ready to cleanse any of the remaining debris that the baking soda and vinegar peeled away from the dirty sink drain or garbage disposal. This is a classic, tried and true method to get rid of any lingering food scraps that might cling to drains. You can even use it in the bathroom to unclog bathroom sink drains. For tougher clogs, you may need to go through this process a few times.
  4. For the disposal: Garbage disposals are where everything goes to either flush away or get stuck between the blades. It's good for the appliance and for the health of your kitchen to clean it out often, and to make sure you're using it properly. To learn how to clean your sink and your garbage disposal, add ice cubes, lemon wedges and coarse salt to your drain, and make sure it gets down into your garbage disposal. Next, run cold water and turn on the garbage disposal until the ice is all gone. The salt helps to clean deep into the blades, all while ice removes any stuck-on debris. Finally, the acidic lemon helps to remove any lingering odor.
  5. Don't forget the rubber flange: The rubber flange that seperates your drain and your garbage disposal is key, and it can get pretty gross, too. Not sure how to clean your sink's rubber flange? You'll need either an old toothbrush or a bottle brush: this one's a bonus spot to clean. You'll only need dish soap if you've already done the cleaning process above: otherwise, an antibacterial wipe will help you finish the job. Add some dish soap to your toothbrush or bottle brush and brush both the surface and the underside of the flange.

Step 4: The Faucet

The faucet is the number one place that you interact with in your sink, whether your hands are clean or dirty. It's a prime spot for bacteria to hide and grow, and the nooks and crannies can even foster growth of mold and mildew. You need to know more than just how to clean your sink; find out the best ways you can scrub up the faucet and how to keep it sparkling in the future.
  1. Start simply: Begin by adding warm water and dish soap to your sponge, then give your faucet a full wipe-down. Include the faucet and the handles in your initial soap-filled wipe, because these are spaces that harbor bacteria.
  2. A weekly deep clean: Fill a plastic bag with vinegar or lemon juice—the acid in either is going to do a lot of the work for you here. Slip the faucet head into the liquid-filled bag and tie a rubber band around it and the faucet to secure the bag to the faucet's head. Leave it on for half an hour to an hour. When you're finished, the solution will have removed any debris from hard water, calcium and more.

Make Your Kitchen Fresh With A Little Effort

Now that you know how to clean your sink (whether it's porcelain, stainless steel, quartz or copper) you''re absolutely ready to go. Almost everything on our list of tools is likely something you already have in the home, and if not, it's time to add baking soda and vinegar back to you list—theyr'e some of the most multifunctional products you can own. From scrubbing the basin itself to ensuring the garbage disposal is working at its best, committing to a regimen is the key to a healthy home. For more on installing a new garbage disposal, how to clean your sink or other tips and tricks from our own experts, check out our Learn Center. And if you still have questions, we're here to help. Call our team members at 800-860-3577 to learn more