Sink Cleaning Secrets!

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Just as the bed sets the tone of the bedroom, the kitchen sink does to the kitchen. If it is dirty and piled high with dishes, the kitchen will look like a mess, even if the whole rest of the room is clean.

But keeping the sink clean and shiny is a tall order, since, let’s face it: The sink is usually the repository for every dirty dish in the house. With that in mind, here are a few handy tips to help you keep your sink empty, clean, AND shiny!

Keep Your Sink Empty

This sounds like circular logic, but it is worth stating: If you want your sink to look uncluttered, then don’t clutter it up. Start putting dishes directly in the dishwasher and not in the sink as some sort of holding station. If you don’t have a dishwasher,  you will have to develop the new habit of washing your dishes after each use. After just a few weeks of doing this, it will become second nature—it won’t even seem to take any time. Before you argue that this option is not appealing, think of the alternative: having food rot away at room temperature for days at a time. Mm hmm. I thought so.

Clean Your Sink

Now that the dishes are gone, you can see the layer of grime that has developed on the sink itself. Whether your sink is stainless steel, porcelain, or plastic, cleaning it is easy. You need some sort of detergent or soap to clean, and some sort of mildly abrasive product to scrub away any buildup. Remove debris from the sink traps and then spray the sink with all-purpose cleaner, or dish soap and water, or even vinegar and water. Once the sink is sprayed down, sprinkle baking soda all over and leave it for a few minutes. Scrub with a sponge and rinse with hot water. Buff with a dry cloth.

If you notice brown stains forming in or around your drain, create a paste of dish soap and baking soda and apply to the area. Leave it for a few minutes, then scrub gently with a cleaning toothbrush. (If you have a high-polish sink, be extra careful not to scratch it by using a soft sponge only.)

Deep-Clean Your Sink Traps

Your sink traps can get disgusting…have you ever smelled one? Ugh, I don’t recommend it. To freshen it up, take the trap apart on a monthly basis, soak it overnight in soapy water and baking soda, then rinse and replace. Get into all of the nooks and crannies with a cleaning toothbrush, and rinse well.

How to Shine Your Sink

A sparkling sink is the hallmark of a clean kitchen. There are a few ways to shine  a stainless steel sink, but my favorite is a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol to 1 part water, mixed together in a spray bottle. Spritz the sink down, then buff everything with a completely dry cloth. Boom. Sparkle.

Unclog the Drain

If your sink drains slowly—or if you have noticed a little funk wafting up from it—you may have some buildup that you need to flush out. Take about a cup of baking soda and dump it in the drain, and let it sit for an hour. Boil about 3 cups of vinegar in a kettle (you actually descale your kettle at the same time!), then pour it down your sink. And your sink won’t stink no mo’.

Freshen the Garbage Disposal

The same method you use for the drain works wonders here—just make sure you run the garbage disposal while pouring in your hot vinegar.

To keep odors at bay anytime, cut up a lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange, and pop the chunks into the disposal while it runs.

Shine Your Faucet

For chrome and nickel faucets, use that same 50/50 vinegar and water mix that you used to shine the sink. Spray on the faucet, let sit for a minute, and wipe clean with a dry microfiber cloth.

If you have a copper, stainless steel, brass, or bronze faucet, consult the instructions from the manufacturer.

If YOU have a cleaning question, leave us a comment in the box down below—that’s where we get all of the ideas of these videos!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

40 COMMENTS

  1. you all missed the big one…the only one…the magic you need, to do the impossible…..i tried for three years- i’m not kidding, three years trying to clean the brown, red, black, hell, it even turned gold- my shiny silver sink! and what did the trick….not bleach, not baking soda, not hot, not cold, not barkeepers friend- which came the closest…….the only thing, praise the lord, that worked, on my nasty sink…….lime juice!
    you heard me. fresh squeezed or in the bottle from publix. lime juice. and the house smells so yummy. your welcome.

  2. Any advice on cleaning an off-white built in corian sink? I can get it pretty nice looking with a magic eraser, but there are a few brown marks (maybe small chips?) that we inherited from the previous owner that are always there.

    • Hi Jessie! The magic eraser trick is great one, but you can also try scrubbing any brown stains away with an oxalic acid powder like Bar Keepers Friend. DuPont (the company that makes those sinks) actually tested out a few different methods of cleaning Corian sinks and that’s one of the methods they recommended. Good luck!

  3. I have a brown sink and countertop in my bathroom, I can clean it but it will immediately be dirty and get a white layer of soap scum immediately after cleaning. I am unable to maintain the brown color.

    • My guess is that you never actually got rid of the soap scum or maybe lime scale deposits in your sink. They probably seemed to disappear only as long as the sink was wet.
      I recommend my new favorite limescale and soap scum cleaner- a 1:1 solution of hot vinegar and blue Dawn d/w liquid. I heat the vinegar in my kettle ( bonus – get the kettle descaled too!) then add to equal amount of blue Dawn in a sprayer bottle. Spray a layer of this cleaner on area to be cleaned. Leave it for at least 30 minutes.
      Scrub with a scrubby sponge or other tool that will not damage your surface. Rinse thoroughly. Polish with a dry microfiber cloth.

  4. Loved the video. How can I clean my black gas stove top. I have used all kinds of products. Everything streaks.. use glass cleaner to shine it after cleaning it but that takes several times. Microfiber cloths steel also. HELP… I hate this stove. Moved into the house and inherited it.

  5. I’ve recently discovered your videos on YouTube and I must say…..I love every single thing!! Everything has worked out and my home is so much easier to clean now….PS my Mr thanks you too!! Lol baking soda and vinegar have become my new bestfriend!

  6. Hi, please could you suggest what to use to clean white marks off a black composite sink? I’m in the UK. Love all your videos, you’ve really inspired me to try diy products & to get organised! I’d love to get some if you’re microfibre cloths – do you think you’ll end up shipping to England? Cheers x

  7. How do you clean a granite sink. Mine is black and I used bar keepers friend. It is now dull and has a white look to it. Similar to hard water stains. HELP!

  8. In one of her videos Melissa recommended a counter cleaner containing rubbing alcohol, dish soap and water. I’ve been using it on my quartz counter for months. Now I see in the comments below that Chad says to stay away from rubbing alcohol! I sincerely hope I haven’t damaged my counter.

  9. Love all your videos but I had a small remark about this one regarding sink cleaning. One suggestion you made was to do a final cleaning with rubbing alcohol. It appears you have either a granite or quartz counter top in the video, and our installer said to to never use or get alcohol near the top. Takes off finish. What’s your viewpoint on this

  10. How do you clean double sided glass oven doors–mine has drips or streaks I can’t get to ( in between the glass doors).

    • I find the product, BARKEEPERS FRIEND a lifesaver. The active ingredient is citric acid which u find in cola and other soft drinks. I clean for a living and always get compliments on my super shiny sinks 😀

    • Not sure it’s the best tip, but I fill my kitchen sink half full with the hottest water and throw in about 2 TB bleach- or a bit more depending on the state of your towels and a few drops liquid laundry detergent. I leave them for 30 + minutes, fill the sink with warm water and let them soak about 14 minutes to get any residual bleach and detergent out. It does remove colour so unless your dishcloths are white this may not be for you. Mine are so you can see any dirt and stains easily. You can then let dry and use as is or throw them in the dryer or clothes line (sunlight acts as a bleach and antibacterial deodorizer.

  11. How do I keep behind the sink faucet dry, since water builds up when washing dishes? Its hard to get a rag in between to constantly soak up the water.

  12. On a similar matter, the stainless urinal at work has had smelly stains on it for years.
    I’ve tried to get it off, but it’s pretty stubborn.
    I have a feeling that some clever person may have been pouring out stuff into it that shouldn’t have been.

  13. Question: Shine a chrome or nickel faucet with 50/50 vinegar/water solution.

    What about shining a chrome sink? The shining solution mentioned says for stainless steel sink, 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water, but it doesn’t mention what to use for chrome and other finishes.

    Thanks!

  14. Hi Melissa,
    I have white porcelain double sink made by Kohler. Looks great but not easy to clean. I now use Bar Keepers Friend powder and it seems to work. I tried soda and soap and it doesn’t really remove some stain (even i clean it ever day) and my sink doesn’t look white.
    Any ideas, something I am missing here?
    Thanks,
    Marina

  15. Ahh! I didn’t even KNOW a brown stain was a stain! lol i sooo would love to start my own cleaning business but it’s not like it used to be, a $100 investment altogether for a license and cleaning supplies! Gotta be bonded, have insurance, business license, register a trade name, and with the advent of the internet anything you start up in you’re just a dime a dozen unless you can survive long enough to outshine everyone else.

  16. i never thought about boiling the vinegar, i always just put it down cold. I will be trying this way today 🙂 Thank you again for an awesome tip

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