It's no fun task, but cleaning your sink is an essential weekly chore. See our best tips on how to clean your kitchen sink and drain.


Between your busy schedule and that binge-worthy show calling your name, it’s easy to let dishes pile up or leave leftover food scraps in the drain without running the disposal. We get it.

white kitchen sink area with blue mason jar stored above
Credit: Jason Donnelly

But your kitchen sink sees a lot of use in a week, from grimy pots and pans to leftover soil from your freshly watered houseplant. And as much as we’d like, it doesn’t always smell like roses in your dish disposer. The natural buildup of old food and grime can linger from your kitchen drain and into the rest of your home if not cleaned properly or often enough. Show your kitchen sink and drain some love, and clean them regularly with our how-to instructions. Then add cleaning your kitchen drain and sink to your weekly cleaning routine to make it a habit.

How to Clean a Kitchen Sink

What you’ll need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Non-abrasive scrubber
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon
  • Salt
sponge in sink
Image courtesy of Getty

Step 1: Sanitize the Sink Basin

First, make sure your sink is completely cleared of food items, coffee mugs, or dish racks. Then, give your sink a quick pre-rinse to wash down any visible crumbs. Once that’s done, grab your rubber gloves and get ready to scrub! Remember, kitchen sink cleaning varies by material—so be sure to follow the method that works best for yours.

How to Clean a Stainless-Steel Kitchen Sink

Stainless steel is tougher than most sink materials. Unlike white kitchen sinks, the slick material stands up to stains and is far less likely to rust. Its real enemies, though, are acidic foods, bleach, and abrasive scrubbers as they can alter a stainless-steel sink's finish. For this reason, avoid letting acidic foods sit in the sink for long periods of time, and use baking soda to clean instead of bleach-based sprays.

Start by coating the wet sink in baking soda and adding a little dish soap and hot water to your sponge. When scrubbing any sink, always start with the sides of the basin and work your way down, pushing any grime directly into the drain. Keep adding soap and water as needed, or until the surface is scum-free. Then, rinse with clean water. Stainless steel is notorious for showing water spots, so be sure to wipe your clean sink down using a plush microfiber cloth to dry and buff.

How to Clean a White Kitchen Sink

A white kitchen sink is most susceptible to showing rust and food splatters, not to mention, coffee and wine stains. Look to hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to help lift stains and restore it to its original state. First, pat the sink down with a wet cloth until it’s just slightly damp, then sprinkle baking soda onto the basin until it’s fully covered. Next, sprinkle a few small drops of hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda and use a sponge or brush to start scrubbing. Once fully scrubbed, wash the mixture down the drain. 

How to Clean a Porcelain Kitchen Sink

Glossy porcelain sinks are no strangers to rust and stains, either. While you can use the same method as white sinks to clean a porcelain sink, you’ll want to use a different method to remove rust to protect its pearly finish. Simply sprinkle salt on a lemon half and scrub it directly on the rust until the elements have worked their magic. Then wash it clean with warm, soapy water and use a microfiber cloth to dry.

A kitchen sink’s not the only thing you can clean with lemon. Check out our 21 ways to clean with lemon all around the house!

Step 2: Wipe Down Faucets and Handles

No matter the material, all faucets and handles can be cleaned using soapy water. Use a sponge or brush to wipe them down and a toothbrush for those super hard-to-reach areas. Still seeing white spots after your scrub? That’s lime buildup from the minerals in your tap water. Adding a spoonful of vinegar to the soapy water mixture and doing one final scrub should do the trick.

Step 3: Clear the Drain and Disposal

Kitchen smells should invite you in, not keep you away! Our two-part method for how to clean kitchen drains is here to help. Plus, we’ll show you how to clean a smelly drain in a kitchen using three kitchen staples you likely already have on hand.

Clear Drain with Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Learning how to clean a kitchen sink drain with baking soda and vinegar is easy! Plus, the pair remedies more than just funky smells—it’s a tried and true method for unclogging drains. Remember the 1:2 ratio: one part baking soda to two parts white vinegar. First place the baking soda down the drain, followed by a slow pour of white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes for the bubbling duo to do its thing, then wash away with boiling hot water to rid the drain of any remaining residue.

Clean Disposal with Lemon, Salt, and Ice

Fill your garbage disposal with a few lemon wedges, salt, and ice cubes. Then, with the cold water running, turn your garbage disposal on until the ice is gone. Salt scrubs the blades while ice helps knock off any gunk and grime. Coarse salt works best, so look to rock or sea salt if you have either on hand. The lemon? That’s to help deodorize and create a fresh-smelling scent, of course!

And don't forget about cleanign your bathroom sink! Look to our easy tutorial to help cross it off your to-do list.

Comments (2)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
May 4, 2021
I tried the baking soda/vinegar and boiling water and it does absolutely nothing to clean my drain.Just doesn’t work—still coated with muck.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
May 4, 2021
I tried the baking soda/vinegar and boiling water and it does absolutely nothing to clean my drain.Just doesn’t work—still coated with muck.