Simple Sink Cleaning and Maintenance

Keep your sink sparkling and your drains clear with these suggestions for green sink cleaning.


There is a revolution going on in America — a green revolution. The latest front is the home, as people across the country adopt cleaning solutions that are not only healthy, but good for the environment. Green Clean (Melcher Media, 2005) by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin is the definitive, step-by-step guide to cleaning better while using nontoxic, eco-friendly products. Learn about green sink cleaning techniques in this excerpt taken from Chapter 3, “The Kitchen.” 


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Once the dishes are taken care of, cleaning the sink itself is easy. Still, it’s important to avoid using anything toxic in or around the sink, as everything that goes down the drain can eventually enter the local water table. Many municipal water treatment facilities fail to sufficiently remove toxins.

Sink Care

Stainless steel sinks: For stainless steel sinks (and stainless steel dishwashers and refrigerators), use a nontoxic all-purpose cleaner, or try full-strength distilled white vinegar on a sponge. Never use abrasive cleaners or steel wool. If a spot needs scrubbing, use a little baking soda on a damp sponge. (Always scrub with the grain on stainless steel.) Rust stains can be removed by rubbing with a paste of two parts baking soda to one part water, then rinsing well.

Porcelain sinks: Baking soda on a damp sponge also works for porcelain sink cleaning. As with stainless steel, avoid abrasive cleaners. An ecofriendly cream cleanser or a nontoxic, nonabrasive cleaner like Bon Ami will help with any difficult stains.

Chrome sinks: Chrome faucets and fixtures can be cleaned with a little club soda, a solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water, or a nontoxic all-purpose cleaner. If they are very grimy, try putting a few drops of a citrus essential oil on your cleaning toothbrush and scrub.

Drain Care

Drain cleaners are among the most dangerous household products. The best way to avoid using caustic drain cleaners is to prevent clogs and buildups in the first place. Scrape dishes well before you put them in the sink, use a trap or screen to keep food scraps out, and don’t pour your cooking grease or oil down the drain. Grease builds up in your pipes and your community’s pipes, eventually blocking them and causing sewer leaks and spills. Instead, allow the grease or oil to cool and collect it in a sealable container, then throw it away or compost it. A few cities offer grease and oil recycling, and a local restaurant may be able to include your household grease in their commercial recycling.