Cleaning

How to Deep Clean Your Stainless Steel Sink

Because, let's face it, it's working overtime.

May 21, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten

I recently moved from a studio apartment to a two-bedroom apartment. I love all the extra room we now have—especially since my boyfriend and I have been working from home. But truthfully, that isn't even my favorite part of our new life. No, it’s the sink: I have a new-found appreciation for the "luxury" of a standard-sized sink.

We’ve always cooked a fair bit at home, but often felt restricted by the size of our studio “kitchen”—and its tiny-space sink. Today, we find ourselves practically making excuses to spend all day in our kitchen: cooking, yes, but also watering plants in the sink, washing clothes in the sink, and washing fork after fork after fork.

With all those demands made on it, the sink was looking like it could use some love. I’ve always assumed, when it comes to cleaning a sink, that just soap and water will do—I mean, you’d think all that running water would keep it pretty clean anyway. But when I stopped to think about it, it's where we wash dirty veggies, de-vein shrimp, smear peanut butter, and trap food scraps. Let's face it: with all of us spending more (much more) time at home, our sinks just never stop working. So, aside from the daily soap and water spritz, each week or so, I’ve been giving my sink the spa treatment it needs to stay cleaner, longer.

Follow these five simple steps for a sparkling, nice-smelling, bacteria-free kitchen sink. The best part? You need little more than the supplies you already have.

Photo by Amanda Widis

Your props:

  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Lemon or Orange peel
  • Olive oil

What to do:

  1. First, wash out the sink with water. Remove any food or obvious schmutz from the drain. You can scrub the sink with soapy water at this point. While you're at it, give the faucet, spray nozzle and sink strainer some love as well, using water and a mild dish soap. Use an old toothbrush for the hard-to-get-to parts. (You can also leave the strainer to soak in a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water for a bit to disinfect.) Rinse everything down, and wipe down the faucet to avoid those annoying water stains.

  2. Now, let's get those scratches out. Sprinkle the wet sink with baking soda. Use the soft part of your sponge to work that soda in a circular movement, following the grain of the steel. The baking soda and water creates a delicate but abrasive paste to buff out all those scratches. Deeper scratches may also be removed with a very fine steel wool scrub. Make sure you scrub away at the entire surface of the sink.

  3. When you're done scrubbing, rinse the entire sink with white vinegar, which will cause the baking soda to bubble—let it fizz away. Once done, turn on the water to wash everything down. Let it dry.

  4. Take a chunky lemon or orange peel and rub along the entire surface of the sink to deodorize it. Nothing like leaving the sink smelling sweet for the next morning!

  5. Final step: Dab a little olive oil on a cloth and polish up the insides to give your sink extra shine for a week. Wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.

Also...

If you have a garbage disposal, here's how you can clean it at any point:
1. First, stop the drain and fill the sink with hot, soapy water. Now unstop the drain and run the disposal.
2. If you want to scrub out the chamber, remember to turn the breaker to the disposal off before doing that. Turn back on once you're done.
3. Next, add ½ cup of baking soda down the disposal, followed by a healthy pour of vinegar. Let it sit, fizzing, for about 10 minutes.
4. Now turn on the cold water tap and run the disposal once more. For an extra dose of freshness, put a wedge of lemon through it while the tap is on.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I scrub the sink after each time I wash the dishes. A nice rub down with the sponge. And the best sponge is netted cloth, because they're much more hygienic and don't hold onto odors.”
— Kimani B.
Comment

That’s it. Your sink is ready to be your kitchen's workhorse once more.

What's the oddest use you've found for your sink? Tell us in the comments below!

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kay
    Kay
  • Kimani Breana Isaac
    Kimani Breana Isaac
  • Susie Williams
    Susie Williams
Comment
Amanda Widis

Written by: Amanda Widis

3 Comments

Kay May 23, 2020
I think that a better oil to finish is mineral oil - or baby oil... Neither will turn rancid or sticky, like olive oil. Mineral oil is great for wooden cutting boards too!
 
Kimani B. May 22, 2020
I scrub the sink after each time I wash the dishes. A nice rub down with the sponge. And the best sponge is netted cloth, because they're much more hygienic and don't hold onto odors.
 
Susie W. May 21, 2020
I scrub mine with Barkeepers Friend.