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This Is the Best Way to Clean Your Kitchen Sink Drain

Stainless steel kitchen sink with black faucet

The kitchen sink is one of the most used areas in the entire house. Think about it: the kitchen sink is where we store dishes until we’re ready to wash them, thaw meat, rinse produce, wash our hands and wipe kids’ faces. And that’s just the start.


It makes sense that bacteria and other germs live there. One study even found that 15 per cent of homes have E.coli living in their kitchen sinks (sponges and dish towels placed near or in kitchen sinks didn’t fare any better).

That’s why it’s essential to wash your entire kitchen sink regularly, including the drain. Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing all kitchen sink surfaces can make a substantial difference to your overall health. But how often should you clean the sink, and what are the best methods for doing so? Read on to learn everything you need to know about this necessary household task.

How Often Should You Clean the Kitchen Sink Drain?

It may seem like a lot, but you should scrub your kitchen sink drain on a weekly basis. The good news: it isn’t all that challenging to clean. You only need a cup or two of hot water to flush out the drain and keep it relatively clean. Each day, boil some water, then pour it down the drain, preferably after washing dishes for the night.

Then, once a month, pour a solution of equal parts white vinegar and baking soda down the drain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then, boil a kettle of water and pour the hot water down the sink to rinse the mixture away.

Related: 10 Smart Ways to Clean Your Kitchen With Lemon Juice

Soapy kitchen sink and train
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How Often Should You Clean the Kitchen Sink?

Even if your kitchen sink doesn’t look dirty after washing those dishes, the truth is, it probably is. Plenty of germs and bacteria we don’t see are sitting there, just waiting for cross-contamination possibilities. That’s why giving your sink a thorough cleaning every week is also important.


To do so, you can purchase a cleaner that’s appropriate for your sink type (stainless steel, porcelain, white) and scrub it. Don’t forget to target the sides and the area around the drain. Or, you can use a mixture of baking soda (3 tablespoons), dish soap (1 tablespoon) and warm water (1/4 cup). Double those measurements for larger sinks, then use the mixture to scrub and wipe down the sink before rinsing.

Related: The Ultimate Checklist for Your Monthly Kitchen Deep Clean

How Often Should You Sanitize the Kitchen Sink?

Anytime you have raw meat or poultry around the sink, sanitize it afterward. Plug the drain and fill the sink with hot water, then add a cup of white vinegar and let it sit. Some people may add a tablespoon of bleach instead, but avoid bleach if you have a stainless-steel sink as it can corrode the surface.

After 10 minutes, drain and rinse the sink with boiling water. Alternatively, you could also use a store-bought disinfectant to wipe down the sink, but you should still rinse surface areas afterward with boiling water.

Related: 10 Kitchen Organizing Tips That Practically Do the Cleaning for You 

Modern white kitchen with sage cupboards, open shelving and modern black sink
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How Do I Get Rid of Kitchen Sink Odours?

If the kitchen drain starts stinking, take immediate action. Deodorize the drain with natural agents like lemon and white vinegar. Pour a cup of either down the drain and let it sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing away with boiling water. Consider also rubbing the sink with lemon wedges or vinegar and letting it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing.

Related: 14 Ways to Eliminate Kitchen Odours for Good This Year


How Do I Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain?

If food and other buildup have started backing up your kitchen sink drain, always try plunging the sink first. Sometimes, a simple plunger can dislodge minor clogs without the need for chemical agents. Next, try slowly pouring boiling water down the drain. If the water doesn’t drain, repeat the process a second time.

If that doesn’t work, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Plug the drain with the stopper and wait 15 minutes. Run hot water from the faucet down the drain when the time is up. If that doesn’t work, you may have to turn to professional help, try a wet vac or snake/auger, or grab a stronger solution from the store.

Related: How to Unclog the Kitchen Sink (and the Best Accessories to Keep it Clean!)

How Do I Minimize Germs in the Sink?

The number one way to minimize germs, bacteria and other contaminants in the sink is through routine cleaning and good habits. Aside from weekly cleaning and monthly scouring, prevent buildup by washing dishes as soon as you’re done with them rather than letting them sit. Don’t let water stand in the sink for extended periods, either. Always remove visible debris by hand instead of rinsing it down the sink, and last but not least, avoid dumping grease or coffee grounds down the drain.

Related: 15 Ways to Give Your Kitchen a Deep Clean


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