How to Clean a Kitchen Sink and Drain

It's no fun task, but cleaning your sink is an essential weekly chore. See our best tips for cleaning a 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.

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 wish it were different, it doesn't always smell like roses in your dish disposer. The natural buildup of old food and grime can linger in your kitchen sink and drain and drift to the rest of your home if not cleaned properly or often enough. So show your kitchen sink and drain some love, and clean them regularly with our how-to instructions. Then add your kitchen drain and sink to your weekly cleaning routine to make it a habit.

sponge in sink
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Before Getting Started

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

How to Clean a Stainless-Steel Kitchen Sink

Stainless steel is tougher than most sink materials. Compared to white kitchen sinks, stainless steel is less likely to permanently stain or rust. However, watch out for its real enemies—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, and don't use bleach-based sprays.

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Plush microfiber cloth

Step 1: Apply Cleaner and Scrub

Start by coating the wet sink in baking soda and adding a little dish soap and hot water to your sponge. Whenever you scrub a sink, 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.

Step 2: Rinse and Dry

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.

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

How to Clean a White Kitchen Sink

A white kitchen sink will show rust and food splatters, not to mention coffee and wine stains. Look to hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to help lift stains and restore your sink to its original state.

What You Need

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush (optional)
  • Soft cloth

Step 1: Apply Cleaner and Scrub

First, pat the sink down with a wet cloth until it's slightly damp, then sprinkle baking soda onto the basin until it's fully covered. Next, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda and use a sponge or brush to start scrubbing.

Step 2: Drain and Dry

Once thoroughly cleaned, wash the mixture down the drain and dry with a soft cloth

How to Clean a Porcelain Kitchen Sink

Glossy porcelain sinks are susceptible to rust and stains like white sinks are. While you can use the same method as white sinks to clean a porcelain sink, you'll want to use a different approach to remove rust to protect its pearly finish.

What You Need

  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Dish soap
  • Microfiber cloth

Step 1: Treat Rust Stains

Simply sprinkle salt on a lemon half and scrub it directly on the rust until the elements have worked their magic.

Step 2: Rinse and Dry

Wash it clean with warm, soapy water and use a microfiber cloth to dry.

How to Clean Kitchen Faucets and Handles

All faucets and handles can be cleaned using soapy water, no matter the material. 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.

white kitchen cabinets stone farmer sink
Ryan Bent

How to Clean a Kitchen Drain and Disposal

Kitchen smells should invite you in, not keep you away! Our two-part method to clean a kitchen sink's drain will help eliminate those unwanted odors. We'll show you how to clean a smelly drain in a kitchen using three kitchen staples you likely already have on hand.

How to Clean a Kitchen Drain with Baking Soda and 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.

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Boiling water

Step 1: Pour Mixture Down Drain

Remember the 1:2 ratio: one part baking soda to two parts white vinegar. Pour the baking soda down the drain, then slowly add the white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes for the bubbling duo to do its thing.

Step 2: Add Boiling Water

Wash away with boiling hot water to rid the drain of any remaining residue.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

This simple mixture does the trick for cleaning a disposal.

What You Need

  • Lemon wedges
  • Coarse or sea salt
  • Ice cubes

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 cleaning your bathroom sink! Look to our easy tutorial to help cross it off your to-do list.

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