Cleaning & Minimalism

Cleaning the Kitchen Sink

My great DIY method for cleaning the kitchen sink using dishwasher soap. (Hint: It’s probably NOT the type of dishwasher soap you’re thinking about!)

black kitchen sink with black scrubber and white powder

Have you heard that the kitchen sink is the dirtiest place in the house?  I believe it!  Over the years, I’ve had different types of sinks, each with their own pros and cons.  No matter the colour or material, there is a similar way to clean them.  Ready for this simple, but super effective method on cleaning the kitchen sink!?  Read on!  

This post was originally written May 23, 2015. It has been refreshed with new information and tips, and republished January 18, 2022.

cleaning the kitchen sink text overlay on stainless steel sink drain

While I don’t use the exact same product(s) to clean the kitchen sink as I used to, I promise each one will be effective.  In fact, you might already have some of these things at home – bonus! 

Ready to see my (old) dirty sink!?

dirty stainless steel sink

In our last house, the kitchen had a stainless steel 1-1/2 sink.  (One bowl is full sized, one is half the size).  The photo above shows how dirty it could look.

In high school, I worked at Tim Horton’s (the popular Canadian coffee place).  We were always pouring old coffee in the sinks when it was no longer fresh, so the sinks would be stained brown after an hour or two.  Want to know how we got them looking super fresh?  Dishwasher soap! 

Cleaning The Kitchen Sink with Dishwasher Soap

No, not the liquid soap – but the powder kind! Of course, they probably had industrial strength/commercial dishwashing powder, but I’ve found that household dishwasher powder works just as well! 

smashing a powder dishwasher tab

At work, we simply sprinkled some dishwasher soap in the dirty sink, let it stand for a bit, and wiped the stains away!  If you have powdered dishwasher soap, you’re in luck!  But for me, I only used the tablets.  Therefore, I had to crush them down to create my own powder. 

If your sink is really dirty, feel free to use the whole packet.  Most of the time, I separated the packet in half and stored the remainder in a bag for next time.  Make sure most of the big chunks are gone, but you don’t want it too dusty (think of having the consistency of salt vs. icing sugar).

using dishwasher soap to scrub and clean a kitchen sink

Sprinkle the dishwashing powder around the base of your sink, making sure to cover the really dirty spots.  It’s okay if your sink is a little wet, but you don’t want it soaking (you want the powder to get a little damp, not disappear completely).

Back in the day, I would wear gloves and use a sponge to scrub the powder mix around the sink.  Nowadays, I just use a bristle scrub brush.

dirty stainless steel sink drain before and after

The gritty-ness of the powder dishwasher soap helps add scrubbing power without being too abrasive (since it just disintegrates with water).  Once all the gross mess is gone, give everything a quick rinse and admire a newly cleaned sink!

Doesn’t it look much better?! 

Cleaning the Kitchen Sink (Other Ways)

Now, you might be thinking – if powder dishwasher soap/tablets work great… why change the method?  Well, I haven’t really changed my method, but I have only been buying the squishy/gel tabs recently.  (You know, the ones you throw in the machine without having to take the packaging off).

And those definitely don’t work the same!

Some sink cleaning alternatives:

cleaning the kitchen sink text overlay on white sink

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Sinks

We’ve renovated a few kitchens since writing the original post.  And, we’ve installed different sinks each time.  With that in mind, I’ve come to realize that there are some pros and cons to each sink/colour.

First up, our most recent kitchen renovation with a black composite sink:

black kitchen sink with baking soda powder

This photo shows it with some regular baking soda, which works fine.  (PS: you can also get a black sink strainer, but we kept the stainless steel).

Pros and Cons of a black sink: 

The fact that it hides the mess can be a pro or a con.  On one hand, you can’t see the mess.  But on the other, you don’t clean what you don’t see… right!?

white kitchen sink with gold faucet

In the rental basement apartment, we went with a white composite sink.  It’s used as a short-term rental, so we don’t get as many uses from the sink BUT we also don’t have control over what people do.  

Pros and Cons of a white sink:

  • Shows the mess
  • Looks the cleanest when clean
  • Can possibly be bleached

Speaking specifically from a composite (as opposed to porcelaine), I really like the white sink!  There may be one little mark that I can’t seem to clean off, but this is by far the cleanest sink we’ve had.

(Although, let’s be honest: I clean this sink the most, ha!).

stainless steel double sink

Finally, we had our original stainless steel sink.  And there’s a reason we went with composite sinks ever since! 

Pros and Cons of stainless steel sinks:

  • Can see dings/scratches
  • Hard to keep clean (the shininess shows smudges if it isn’t perfectly wiped)
  • Most used material

The last point is relevant because stainless steel sinks seem to be the default.  It’s much easier to find a size/configuration, and they’ll often be more budget-friendly compared to composite.  But I don’t know if I’ll go back to stainless steel.

If I had to choose my ideal sink – I think I’d do a gray composite!  (Well, I already have my dream sink picked out, ha) 

I think it would be a good mix of the pros/cons for the white and black.  But, considering you can get composite sinks in a LOT of different colours, it’s easy to choose something that matches your kitchen AND doesn’t hide the mess (or does hide it).

cleaning the kitchen sink text overlay on black wet sink

I probably don’t deep clean the sink as often as I should, but when I do give it a good cleaning I try and keep it nice for a bit.  Do you have a go-to or secret method for cleaning your kitchen sink?  

When we were handwashing all of our dishes (as opposed to just the pots/pans), the sink stayed much cleaner.  It’s probably because we were using the sink more often, rather than having things sit at the bottom to stay dirty. 

Either way, feel free the share your kitchen sink cleaning tips and tricks!

see you next time nicole text image

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1 Comment

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    57 Ways You're Getting House Cleaning Wrong
    February 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    […] Not cleaning your kitchen sink: Your kitchen sink is full of dangerous and disease causing bacteria. It’s wet, dark, and a great environment for growing bacteria. It should be wiped down with soap and water every time you do the dishes. […]

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