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Give Your Sink That Spa Treatment It's Been Waiting For

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What can you do with just five minutes? Actually, way more than you think! Introducing Food52 in 5: your cheat sheet for speedy, delicious recipes, fun mini projects, and more.


My sink is always there for me. No really, it, like, doesn’t move. Ever. But sometimes it acts up: It clogs, it stains, it starts to emit a curious and perturbing stench (who put a whole fish in there?). It’s times like these that I give my sink a little love with a spa day (because everyone deserves a treat). I’m not massaging its feet or putting cucumbers on its eyes; it's not that kind of spa. (Also, that would be impossible.) Instead, if I get a spare moment, there are a few easy, DIY things I can do to give it a refresh.

Your sink deserves some TLC too.
Your sink deserves some TLC too. Photo by James Ransom

For starters, if my disposal starts smelling particularly funky: I’ll throw in a chunk of orange peel, or the rind of any citrus for that matter, then turn on the water and run the disposal. The rough of the peel gets at the blades and the oils in the skin get released. It cleans and freshens. Double whammy. And good thing it’s citrus season, because I’ve currently got plenty of lemons and grapefruits lying around. To prep for the times I might not, I'll fill an ice tray with scraps of citrus peel (lemon, lime, or orange will do) and fill in to the brim with vinegar. Sometimes I'll squeeze citrus juice into the tray as well. The vinegary cubes get frozen, and then when ready, can be popped into the disposal and given a quick whirl.

As for the sink’s basin: That baby can always use a good scrub. Keeping with the citrus theme, I’ve got a hack that you can accomplish with any leftover citrus you may have sitting around. To get those pesky water stains off a metal or porcelain basin, all you need is half a citrus fruit—grapefruit works best, but a lemon or orange will do—some salt, and a little elbow grease. Cut the grapefruit in half, salt it generously, then scrub away. The salt acts as an abrasive while the citrus juice brightens and cleans. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two before washing it away with water. Ta-da!

If it’s a drain clog: Use a minute or two to mix up one cup baking soda with one cup salt and a quarter cup cream of tartar. The salt and baking soda act to buff the pipe, while the cream of tartar naturally cleans the metal—a combo that's ideal for flushing out any inner-drain buildup. Keep this mixture in a container by your sink. Every few weeks, pour half the mixture down your drain and follow it with a generous flush of boiling water. Replace the mixture every now and then, and you’re good to go.

Have you got a go-to method for sink tune-ups? If so, tell us about it in the comments.