How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink and Drain Effortlessly

Elisa Greenberg
Written by Elisa Greenberg
Updated October 6, 2022
A father and his daughter cleaning their kitchen sink
Photo: RyanJLane / E+ / Getty Images

Say goodbye to stuck-on grease and grime

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

If your weekly cleaning routine includes your sink, you might think that simply rinsing it down is doing the job. But there’s more to it—food and grime from pots and pans can linger after a good rinse, so you’ll have to give your sink a little more elbow grease. Our guide will show you how to clean a kitchen sink and drain with ease.

Why Do I Need to Clean My Kitchen Sink and Drain?

Your kitchen sink and drain are some of your home's most-used elements. Think about it, you pile dishes, wash pans, empty cutting boards, and pour coffee down the drain—all in a day!

You’ll need to give your sink and drain extra TLC each week with a proper clean. Otherwise, they can become encased with grime and grease, leading to unpleasant odors in your kitchen and even becoming a breeding ground for insects.

How to Prep for Cleaning Your Kitchen Sink and Drain

You can find most cleaning items you’ll need right in your house. Stock up on these essential items:

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar

  • Dish soap

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Fresh lemon wedges

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Scrub brush

  • Sponge

  • Gloves

  • Spray bottle

How to Clean a Kitchen Sink and Drain

Every kitchen sink has its own set of cleaning do's and don'ts. Before you clean, check your manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning techniques. Then, grab your gloves, clear your kitchen sink entirely, and follow these steps for a sparkling clean sink and drain:

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Avoid using bleach or abrasive cleaners, which could damage stainless steel sinks. Instead, opt for dish soap, baking soda, and water.

  1. Add warm water to the sink.

  2. Sprinkle baking soda around the entire sink basin.

  3. Add hot water and a dime-sized amount of dish soap to a sponge or microfiber cloth.

  4. Scrub the sides of the sink basin, work towards the middle, and push residue into the drain.

  5. Apply more soap and hot water to tackle tough grime.

  6. Rinse down the entire sink with warm, clear water.

  7. Take a clean, dry microfiber cloth and buff the sink until it’s dry and streak-free.

Porcelain Kitchen Sink

A white kitchen sink
Photo: Sweetlaniko / Adobe Stock

Like stainless steel sinks, avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals to clean porcelain sinks—these cleaners will destroy the sink’s enamel. Instead, opt for a simple solution of lemon and salt.

  1. Cut a fresh lemon in half and sprinkle a generous amount of salt directly on the wedge.

  2. Scrub the lemon directly on the sink basin, buffing out grime and grease stains.

  3. Add warm water with dish soap and clean the sink basin with a dry microfiber cloth.

Natural Stone Sink

For stones such as granite and marble, you'll want to avoid acidic cleaners, which could leave permanent stains on these porous surfaces.

  1. Rinse the sink basin with warm water.

  2. Apply dish soap to a sponge and add warm water.

  3. Scrub and gently buff until your sink basin is clean.

  4. Rinse with warm water until clean.

Pro tip: If your stone sink needs a little extra cleaning, try using a store-bought granite or marble cleaner ($10 on average). You can also spray rubbing alcohol into the sink, let it sit for three to five minutes, rinse, and dry with a clean cloth.

Composite Stone Sink

Composite quartz and granite stone are easier to maintain than natural stone, but you still don’t want to use abrasive cleaners (like undiluted bleach). You can use baking soda, white vinegar, or a tablespoon of mineral oil to combat tough stains, but for standard cleanings, try this method.

  1. Rinse the sink basin with hot water.

  2. Add dish soap to a sponge or scrub brush and clean the sink basin.

  3. Rinse with warm water until clean.

White Kitchen Sink

White kitchen sinks (usually made of composite material) are prone to showing more grease and grime, so you’ll want to grab hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to tackle tough stains.

  1. Ensure the sink is slightly damp by patting it with a soft, dry cloth.

  2. Sprinkle baking soda around the entire sink basin.

  3. Add hydrogen peroxide drops to each of the sink basin’s four corners.

  4. Use a scrub brush or sponge to buff and clean the sink basin.

  5. The baking soda will fluff up—you can push the fluff down the drain for added cleaning.

  6. Once clean, add warm water and pour the mixture down the drain.

Solid Surface Sink

Due to the resilience of solid surface sinks, such as Corian, you can use most household cleaners (except window cleaners) to rinse your sink.

  1. Add dish soap or a hard-surface cleaner to a sponge, add warm water and scrub until clean. Rinse with warm water.

  2. For tougher stains, fill a spray bottle with 3/4 of household bleach and 1/4 of water. Be sure that you rinsed the previous cleaner away very well, as you should never mix the bleach with other cleaners. When working with bleach, wear protective gear like gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

  3. Spray the diluted bleach throughout the sink basin and leave it for up to 16 hours.

  4. Rinse with a damp microfiber cloth.

Sink Faucets and Handles

You’ll want to pay special attention to sink handles and faucets because they are high-touch surfaces.

  1. Add dish soap to a sponge.

  2. Wet with warm water, lather, and wash faucets and handles.

  3. Use a toothbrush to scrub out hard water stains.

  4. Rinse with warm water, and wipe down with a clean and dry microfiber cloth.

Pro tip: You can use vinegar for tough stains and limescale buildup. But, avoid using vinegar on chrome faucets and handles, as it will strip the finish off.

Sink Drain

Your sink’s drain and garbage disposal can house unpleasant odors, which is why learning how to clean a kitchen sink drain is so important. You can turn funk into fresh in minutes with these two household remedies:

Baking Soda and Vinegar Mixture

Use the 1:2 method (one part baking soda and two parts white vinegar).

  1. Pour hot or boiling water down the drain.

  2. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain.

  3. Next, slowly pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain.

  4. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.

  5. Pour boiling water down the drain to flush out any remaining grime.

Lemon, Salt, and Ice Mixture

Sea salt naturally scrubs grime from your garbage disposal blades, so this mixture makes for an easy and quick way to clean your drain and disposal.

  1. Cut fresh lemon wedges.

  2. Throw the wedges, sea salt, and a handful of ice cubes down your drain.

  3. Run cold water and turn on your garbage disposal. 

  4. Run the disposal until all of the ice is gone.

Taking Care of Your Kitchen Sink and Drain

We recommend cleaning your kitchen sink once a week using the above methods. But, you should also rinse down your sink and drain daily with dish soap and warm water. This way, you can prevent grime and grease from building up in your sink basin and drain.

  • Don’t forget to clean drain strainers and sink stoppers.

  • Pat your sink basin dry after use to avoid hard water stains.

  • For tough stains (oil, milk, or coffee), work baking soda or hydrogen peroxide and warm water into a paste. Let the mix sit for 24–48 hours and then buff with a microfiber cloth.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

You can easily tackle cleaning your sink and drain with household or store-bought items. But, if life gets in the way and you can’t find the time to tackle this task regularly, we recommend hiring a local home cleaning service.

With a cleaning pro, you won’t have to worry about grime building up in your sink and drain. You can expect to pay between $25 and $45 per hour for this service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Aside from rinsing your sink with dish soap daily, we recommend disinfecting your sink one to two times per week. You can make your own homemade cleaning spray and have it ready for your weekly cleanings.

If you work with raw meat in your sink, make sure you wash the entire sink basin and drain with dish soap immediately after use.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.