How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink

Because it's grosser than you think.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink and Garbage Disposal
Photo: Getty Images

If the kitchen is the heart of your home, it's likely your kitchen sink is in desperate need of some TLC. Every day, your sink deals with sauce stains, greasy messes, coffee grinds, raw meat, and more, so it's no wonder your sink is probably long overdue for a deep clean. To remove the grime and get your sink gleaming, follow the guidelines below for how to clean your kitchen sink without using harsh chemicals. Swap out the toxic cleansers for a box of baking soda, a lemon, and a bottle of white vinegar, so you'll avoid the harmful ingredients and save yourself a trip to the store.

And while you're at it, spruce up your garbage disposal by following a few easy cleaning tricks we've picked up over the years. Start saving your orange peels—they're a secret weapon when it comes de-stinking a smelly garbage disposal.

How To Clean Your Kitchen Sink (No Harsh Chemicals Required)

What You'll Need:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft sponge
  • Old toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon
  • White vinegar
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Lemon oil (optional)

Follow These Steps:

  1. Empty your sink completely of all dishes and food scraps. Clear the strainer of all food particles.
  2. Combine warm water with a small amount of mild dish soap in a bowl. Dip a soft sponge (avoid scrub brushes that can scratch the surface) in the solution and rub the entire sink basin, including the walls.
  3. If the sink drain is grimy, grab an old toothbrush, dip it in the soap solution, and use it to scrub the metal drain cover.
  4. If this solution didn't do the trick, it's time to introduce a mild abrasive: baking soda. Baking soda will scrub the surface of your sink, but it's still considered gentle enough to use on both stainless steel and porcelain. Sprinkle the baking soda over the entire surface of your sink. Then, using a soft sponge or cloth (this is key to avoid scratches), rub the baking soda in a circular motion, following the grain of a stainless steel sink.
  5. Continue scrubbing the entire sink surface, including the walls, to remove residue and stains. When you're done scrubbing, rinse the sink with white vinegar, which will cause the baking soda to bubble and make it easier to rinse down the drain. Rinse the sink with water.
  6. For serious stain removal: If stubborn stains remain in your porcelain sink, sprinkle a small amount of table salt onto the stained area. Cut a lemon in half and use the cut side to scrub the stain with the salt. When you're done scrubbing, rinse the sink completely.
  7. For lime: If your sink has white, chalky lime spots, dip a cloth or paper towel in white vinegar, then leave it on the spot for a few minutes before rinsing with water.
  8. If you really want your sink to shine, add a drop of olive oil (for a stainless steel sink) or lemon oil (for a porcelain sink) to a soft cloth. Rub the oil over the sink surface, then wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.

How to Clean a Sink Faucet

What You'll Need:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft sponge
  • White vinegar
  • Floss

Follow These Steps:

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and a squirt of dish soap, combining to create some suds. Dip the sponge or a soft cloth in the solution and rub the faucet and handles. Rinse and dry off the fixtures.
  2. If there are buildups of lime, place a cloth with a drop of white vinegar on the spot for a few minutes. Then rinse.
  3. To remove a buildup of gunk around the rim of the faucet, grab a piece of floss. Use the floss to remove the grime, then wipe it away with a soapy cloth.
  4. To prevent hard water spots, thoroughly dry the fixtures after rinsing them with water.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

What You'll Need:

  • White vinegar
  • Orange (or other citrus)
  • Fruit pit (like from a plum or peach)

Follow These Steps:

  1. Freeze a combination of 1/2 cup white vinegar and water in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, toss in a few cubes and turn on the disposal. The ice will sharpen the blades, while the vinegar will help keep the disposal smelling fresh.
  2. If the garbage disposal smells, try adding an orange peel to deodorize it.
  3. To break up collected grease, add a small fruit pit or chicken bone, then turn on the disposal.
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