You may clean your kitchen like a pro, but like many of us, you may not give your kitchen sink and drain the cleaning love they need. After all, we wash things in the sink and we rinse it out after, so the natural assumption could be that we’re washing the sink as we go, right? Wrong.

It’s time to learn how to clean a kitchen sink the right way.

Just like bathtubs and showers get residue buildup from washing our bodies, your kitchen sink gets dirty from washing dishes, pots, and pans. Grease, food particles, and other stuff that comes off your plates and utensils create a dirty film on your sink—and a germ-infested breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Yuck!

How dirty is that kitchen sink? The average kitchen sink is full of germs, grime, and more fecal matter than a flushed toilet! Yuck. That means your kitchen sink could be the dirtiest place in your home—but before you run off in a panic to grab your bleach, hear us out. Learning how to clean a kitchen sink drain, the sink, and garbage disposal is critical for a healthy, happy kitchen, but you don’t need harsh chemicals to tackle the job.

The level of germs and filth in a kitchen sink is something to be concerned about, but getting rid of all that nastiness isn’t super tough. You can clean a sink with baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and dish soap to scrub away all the germs and residue. The key is to clean your kitchen sink and drain frequently enough to prevent slimy buildup, bacteria, and odors.

But what about the garbage disposal? Isn’t it full of bacteria, odors, and icky stuff, too? It is—and that’s why you’ll also learn how to clean a garbage disposal and keep it fresh right here. We’ll start with how to clean a stainless steel sink, and move on to the best way to clean a kitchen drain and garbage disposal.

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink

All you need to clean a stainless steel sink is baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and a bit of scrubbing. Baking soda is a natural cleaner you can use all over the house—and it’s safe for stainless steel. Distilled white vinegar is also a natural cleaner, as well as a disinfectant, and is safe to use on stainless steel sinks and many surfaces and fabrics.

So grab your natural cleaners, a soft nylon brush, and an old toothbrush, and let’s get to work making that stainless steel shine.

  • Rinse out the sink with hot water and some dish soap.
  • Sprinkle baking soda all over the sink.
  • Use a soft scrub brush to rub the baking soda in the grain’s direction.
  • Use the toothbrush to get around the drain hole and other tight spots.
  • Spray distilled white vinegar all over the sink.
  • Once the bubbling and fizzing stop, rinse the sink with hot water.
  • Dry the entire sink with a microfiber cloth.
  • Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff the stainless steel.

The mild abrasiveness of baking soda and the acidity of vinegar combine to cut through greasy residue, disinfect, and dissolve calcium deposits that cause water spots. If you have a porcelain, copper, granite, or cast iron sink, skip the scrubbing and just use dish soap and water with a cloth.

How to Clean Kitchen Sink Drains

Just because you’ve gotten your kitchen sink clean and fresh doesn’t mean you’ve gotten rid of all the bacteria and buildup. Down there in your kitchen drain are all kinds of unpleasant things, including germs and odors. That’s because all the grease, food, and other stuff you wash off your dishes and cookware have to go somewhere.

When you know how to clean your kitchen sink drains the right way, you can reduce the amount of buildup that causes odors and germs. All you need is some baking soda, distilled white vinegar, a lemon, and some hot water. Here’s how you do it:

  • Boil two quarts of water.
  • Using oven mitts, slowly pour the boiling water down the drain.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Rinse the sink and drain thoroughly with hot water from the sink.
  • For extra odor-fighting, pour lemon juice or distilled white vinegar down the drain.
  • After 30 minutes, rinse the sink and drain.

For kitchen drains that haven’t been cleaned in a while, you may need a little more firepower. Consider using a bio-friendly drain cleaner to break down the buildup in the drain. The natural enzymes in bio-friendly cleaners help remove residue from grease, soap, and food debris without using toxic chemicals. Many of these cleaners can take up to 24 hours to get the job done, but the payoff is fresh, smooth-running drains and less odor and bacteria.

How To Clean a Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal, you need to clean it regularly, just like the kitchen sink and drain. Even with a clean drain, grease, grime, and food debris can cause lingering odors and germs to accumulate on the blades, baffle, and other parts of a garbage disposal. To get your kitchen sink truly clean, it’s time to learn how to clean a garbage disposal and keep it that way.

A clean garbage disposal also means clearer drain pipes, so cleaning it regularly reduces the chance for that nasty buildup. Cleaning your garbage disposal about once a week should do the job, but if you smell lingering odors, you know it’s time for a cleaning. Follow these steps to keep your garbage disposal and your drains clean:

Weekly cleaning can keep the garbage disposal clean and odor free.

  • Turn off the power to prevent the disposal from turning on while you’re cleaning it.
  • As an extra precaution, unplug the disposal if possible.
  • Use dish soap and an abrasive sponge to scrub the underside and folds of the baffle.
  • Rinse the sink and spray any debris down the drain.
  • Use your scrub sponge and dish soap to scrub around the top part of the grinding chamber, rinsing frequently.
  • Pour baking soda into the garbage disposal and let it sit for five minutes to absorb lingering odors.
  • Rinse the sink, drain, and garbage disposal thoroughly.

For regular cleaning maintenance, lemon, kosher salt, and ice do a superb job of preventing buildup, odors, and bacteria. Cut up a lemon and drop it into the garbage disposal with two cups of ice and two tablespoons of kosher salt. Turn on the cold water and the garbage disposal and listen to the beautiful sound of buildup and odors being scrubbed away.

Now that you know how to clean a kitchen sink, drain, and garbage disposal, don’t stop there. We’ve got tons of housekeeping and cleaning resources to help you keep your home cleaner and healthier. Whether you use our professional cleaning guides or our popular residential cleaning services, we want to make every home a cleaner, healthier place to live. Learn more about flexible, affordable cleaning and disinfecting when you get your free estimate online.

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