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How to Clean Kitchen Sinks Made from Different Materials

Granite Composite, Cast Iron, Stainless Steel, and Ceramic Sinks All have Different Needs

© 2013 by Cindy Davis; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without webmaster's written permission.

A granite composite bathroom sink; photo © KSmith Media, LLC
A granite composite bathroom sink; photo © KSmith Media, LLC

This article was updated on 08/18/20.

The sink is perhaps the most important place in the kitchen, where a lot of work, washing, and rinsing is done every day. It’s where we spend most time while doing our everyday kitchen work. The deposits of soap and food debris on the sink and the sink faucet accumulate with each washing or rinsing. They build up, and timely elimination is paramount.

There are a lot of cleaning products available, but an effective solution can quickly be obtained at home. Some dishwashing liquid in a bowl of warm water is easy to prepare, and scrubbing the sink with a sponge dipped in the solution is enough for light deposits.

Commercial and Homemade Cleaning Products

For heavier ones, some all-purpose cleaning product, preferably in spray form, is needed. The sink should be sanitized in order to keep germs away. There are commercial disinfectants that can be bought in many shops that have instructions on the package.

A homemade sanitizing solution can be prepared for cast iron and ceramic sinks. One part chlorine bleach in liquid form is mixed with 16 parts water. However, the solution should not be used on stainless steel sink.

In all cases, when using solutions containing chlorine bleach, the solutions should be poured slowly to notice if there is any damage done to the surface. Yet another option is undiluted white vinegar. If in doubt, and to be safe, use a standard Cleaning product.

For more vigorous cleaning, the sink can be lined with paper towels, soaked in white vinegar, which are left for about 20 minutes, then removed, and the sink is rinsed.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Sinks

For stainless sinks, it is essential to rinse the surface after each use, and in this way pitting can be prevented. Acids and salts are damaging to stainless sink finish, and they should not be used to clean stainless sinks.

Instead, a sponge dipped in mild soap is sufficient for daily maintenance. After each cleaning, the sink should be rinsed clean and dried with a soft cloth.

For stains, especially stubborn ones, sprinkling baking soda on the surface, scrubbing with a nylon scrubbing sponge, then rinsing, is the recommended treatment. No abrasive sponges or steel wool should be used to scrub stainless steel sinks, because they can damage the sink and dull the shiny finish.

Cleaning Cast Iron Sinks

For cast iron sinks, the baking soda cleaning method is also efficient, and for the best results the sink should be dried thoroughly with a clean cloth after cleaning and rinsing.

For ceramic-glazed iron sinks, there are a lot of cleaning products in gel or cream form which are good because they help to avoid scratching the sink surface. For stubborn stains, repeated cleaning should be done; with especially stubborn stains, the solution is to use a clean cloth dipped into club soda, for stain removal.

Cleaning Granite Composite Sinks

Granite composite is virtually indistinguishable from “natural” stone. It would be impractical to make sinks out of solid stone, so these are made of stone chips bonded with resin and molded into shape and then buffed and finished. This is also called engineered stone.

Due to the stone, the exposed surface is porous to some extent, so it must be cleaned with a pH balanced or pH neutral cleaner. The best approach to prevent hard water spots, stains, and soap scum build-up is with frequent, regular cleanings.

A minute of cleaning a day is preferable to a major cleaning on a sporadic basis. Be sure to polish those the faucet and tap handles while you’re at it. You are already there; what's the problem with a quick swipe of the rag?

How to Clean Sink Drains

Cleaning the sink drain is easier than a removing a carpet stain. Instead, the drain should be filled with two cups of ice, and a cup of rock salt should be poured over it.

Then the cold water tap should be run and the garbage disposal should be turned on, until the ice melts. This method is efficient for loosening debris accumulated on the grinding elements.

Try these tips for how to clean kitchen sinks made from different materials and let us know what you think in the comment section. Thanks!

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Photo of Kelly R. Smith and Frankie, Southern Black Mouth CurKelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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