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.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

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.

scrubbing kitchen sink faucet with sponge

BHG/Adelyn Duchala

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.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Cleaning a Stainless-Steel Kitchen Sink

  • Sponge
  • Plush microfiber cloth

Cleaning a White Kitchen Sink

  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush (optional)
  • Soft cloth

Cleaning a Porcelain Kitchen Sink

  • Microfiber cloth


Cleaning a Stainless-Steel Kitchen Sink

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar

Cleaning a White Kitchen Sink

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda

Cleaning a Porcelain Kitchen Sink

  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Dish soap

Cleaning a Kitchen Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Boiling water

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

  • Lemon wedges
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Ice cubes


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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

person putting baking soda and vinegar down kitchen sink drain to deep clean

BHG/Adelyn Duchala

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.

  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.

  2. Add Boiling Water

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

using lemon wedges and ice to clean a kitchen sink garbage disposal

BHG/Adelyn Duchala

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

This simple mixture does the trick for cleaning a disposal.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should you clean your garbage disposal?

    Clean your garbage disposal once a week or every two weeks to prevent build-up and unpleasant smells. If your garbage disposal has an odor between routine cleanings, it's a sign that it needs a more immediate cleaning.

  • Is it safe to put ice down your kitchen drain?

    Yes, it's safe to put regular ice down your kitchen drain. Just don't put dry ice down your drain: It can harm your plumbing or cause pipes to burst.

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