How to Get Your Kitchen Sink Zone in Order

You’ll do your sink (and yourself) a favor by keeping it clean and clutter-free.

August 25, 2020

Sure, this extended (and unprecedented) period at home might have inspired you to fold up all your plastic bags and rearrange your pantry—these are relatively mess-free projects with large payoffs. But what about the areas in your home, more specifically, your kitchen, that are used all the time but get even less attention? Areas like...the kitchen sink.

Not a day goes by that I don’t use my kitchen sink for something—washing my nice knives, rinsing a plate to load into the dishwasher, watering a plant—but I rarely give it the love it deserves. Perhaps this is because I have a physical reaction every time I have to fish out engorged pasta and pieces of a long-gone salad from the drain, discouraging me from returning to the scene until days hours later. Or perhaps it’s because doing the dishes is simply my least favorite chore ever. I’ll clean the bathroom to procrastinate doing the dishes—that’s how bad it is.

The irony is that If I were more proactive about keeping this area ship-shape, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about the build-up, would I? I should probably use all this time at home to follow my own advice. Here’s how you can, too.

Keep it Clean:

  • After all the work you put into scrubbing the sink, it’s worth maintaining as long as possible. To do this, wipe down the sink, taps, and adjacent counter every time you do the dishes—yes, every time. Make this a habit, and crud never has a chance to build up in the first place.

  • Every two weeks or so, toss the sponge or brush (check the label first) in the dishwasher with the rest of your dishes to give it a good sanitizing. The hot water will destroy any lingering bacteria and ensure your sponge never stinks again.

  • Routinely flush the drain with baking soda and vinegar—not just when you deep clean. Lots of nasty stuff gets caught in there (oh hello again, last week’s bolognese) and you’ll do your sink and yourself a favor to keep it clear.

Keep Things Organized:

  • In my kitchen, I attached a wire basket like this on the wall behind the sink with two mini Command Hooks to hold my sponges and brushes. I’ve tried the sponge holders that suction to the side of the sink in the past, but found that the sponges still get smelly and don’t totally drain free of water. This basket solution has held up very well, and lets lots of air circulate around the sponges to keep them dry when not in use.

  • Another way to keep sponges high and dry is with a rack that sits on top of the sink and holds them well out of the way. Plus, there’s room for extra dish rags, soaps, and brushes up there as well.

  • Whether it’s because you don’t have a dishwasher or that you prefer hand-washing delicate items, a dish rack is necessary (but need not be a necessary evil). This foldable drying rack stows away when you don’t need it, but if you find yourself keeping it out more than putting it away, you may as well go for something like this with wood handles and attractive, clean lines. You won’t even mind that the dishes just sit there until you decide to use them again.

  • Bottles and bars of soap can grow really gunky, really fast, especially when they’re left to sit directly on the edge of the sink. Consider collecting them in a dedicated dish (even an enamel mini baker works!), which will catch stray drips and drops, and can be run through the dishwasher when needed.

What's your top tip for keeping the sink area clean? Tell us in the comments below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Grab your copy

It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.

Grab your copy

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Barb Shutiak
    Barb Shutiak
  • descalzada
  • Ellen Greaves
    Ellen Greaves
Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen


Barb S. January 18, 2021
This is the link to the shop I purchased mine at for 9.95 CA
Their socks are my faves too.
Barb S. January 18, 2021
Barb S. January 18, 2021
I use a Japanese Tawashi scrub brush. It lasts months and months and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. I’ve seen them on Amazon. I got mine from a local shop here in Vancouver BC.
Barb S. January 18, 2021
Here is the site for the local shop so you can see what it looks like. It’s 9.95 Canadian funds from this place.
Barb S. January 18, 2021
descalzada December 4, 2020
I put the sponge in the dishwasher Every Time ---and I'm trying to use a new one weekly (but old habits die hard). They're cheap, and the germiest thing in the kitchen.
No dishwasher? put it in the microwave, and definitely change it weekly.
Ellen G. October 28, 2020
I always have a spray bottle of vinegar available for cleaning and at the end of the night I spray the sponge, on both sides then squeeze it dry. It smells sweeter in the morning.