Written by Tenley Haraldson.

From washing hands to straining pasta to rinsing out the pet bowl, your kitchen sink handles a lot. Because it’s one of the most vital areas of any household, it can be a breeding ground for germs.

Our guide outlines the best way to clean kitchen sinks with plant-based products – not potentially harmful ingredients found in conventional sink cleaners. Who wants caustic chemicals near food-safe surfaces, anyway?

Kitchen Sinks Are One of the Dirtiest Places in the Home

A National Sanitation Foundation study found some rather surprising results. It determined that kitchen sponges were the germiest places in any home, followed closely by kitchen sinks. A whopping 45% of study participants had coliform lurking there – and that’s not even including yeast or mold.

Since these are places where food is defrosted and prepared, it’s important to prevent the spread of kitchen sink bacteria whenever possible. 

1. Use Kitchen Sponges Correctly

Because they almost never dry out between uses, sponges become germ breeding grounds. One study determined that more than 360 types of bacteria thrive in household sponges. This is one of the densest environments for germs on the planet, rivaled only by the human intestinal tract!

avoid sponge bacteria

We know they’re useful, but sponges can quickly cross-contaminate surfaces with bacteria like coliform, campylobacter, salmonella, staph, E. coli, and mold. And – contrary to popular belief – microwaving them may not kill all of the germs living in them.

If you’re going to continue using them, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Replace them every 1-2 weeks. If it starts to smell, throw it away.
  • Chuck it in the top rack of a dishwasher. Otherwise, get it wet and throw it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (don’t touch it until it’s cooled off!). 
  • Never use them on surfaces that have touched raw meat or poultry (use paper instead). 
  • Keep sponges on an aerated surface to ensure that it dries out between uses. 
  • Don’t leave sponges at the bottom of a kitchen sink or in a pool of water. Get a caddy instead. 

2. Pick the Right Tools for Dish Duty 

We recommend using a dish brush because they’re easier to rinse, dry out faster, and tend to have better scrubbing capabilities than sponges. When it’s not in use, store the brush upright in a dish rack or caddy.

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When it comes to dish soap, you need something concentrated that cuts through grease and leaves hands moisturized. Don’t just take Puracy’s for it: Our product was named Business Insider’s Best Overall Dish Soap back in 2020. 

3. Do Dishes ASAP

how to keep kitchen sink clean

Washing dishes immediately is far easier than dealing with crusty bits later on. But there’s another bonus: It gets rid of the bacteria-laden organic matter that tends to attract pests. At the very least, you should give dishes a quick scrape and rinse before turning the kitchen lights off. 

Let Dishes Air Dry 

Whenever possible, let your dishes air dry instead of placing them on a dish towel. Between drying your hands, wiping countertops, and cleaning up spills, tea towels are notorious for holding onto bacteria.

4. Regular Sink Care Is Easy Care 

Daily wipe-downs may sound excessive but cleaning a kitchen sink regularly is the best way to prevent bacteria from making a home there.

kitchen sink cleaner

Scrub away residue with our Multi-Surface Cleaner and a microfiber cloth (a gentle scrub brush is great for tough stains). Be sure to get into the crevices around the faucet and rim. Next, rinse thoroughly with fresh, warm water and dry everything with another clean, microfiber towel.

If possible, let your sink dry out between uses (bacteria don't thrive as well on dry surfaces). You can speed up the process by opening a nearby window or setting up a sink-side fan.

Sanitize Your Kitchen Sink 

Take things one step further with our Disinfecting Surface Spray. This biodegradable hydrogen peroxide disinfectant doesn’t just kill 99.9+% of germs, bacteria, and viruses – it also clears away grime and grease while deodorizing odors.

kitchen sink germs

Thoroughly spray the kitchen sink until it’s wet and let it stand for 10 minutes. Wipe clean with a clean microfiber towel and you’re good to go!

Pro Tip: Sanitizing is especially useful if the sink has come into direct contact with potentially pathogenic objects like raw chicken or pet bowls.

5. Don't Forget About Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

clean garbage disposal

You might think that whatever’s put down the garbage disposal no longer concerns you. However, bacteria from old food waste can build up and cause quite the stink. To clean your garbage disposal, follow these simple steps:

  • Pull out the splash guard (the black rubber panel at the top of the drain) and scrub it in hot, soapy water. Otherwise, it can be placed on the top rack of your dishwasher. 
  • Ensure that the faucet and garbage disposal are turned off. 
  • Place 6-8 ice cubes, 1 TBSP of baking soda, half a thinly-sliced lemon, and 1 TBSP of baking soda in the chamber. Top with 6-8 more ice cubes. 
  • Run the disposal without water until the grinding noise stops. 
  • Let cold water run for 30-60 seconds. 
  • Turn off the faucet. 

Minimal Products & Effort, Maximum Results 

Your kitchen sink should be a safe place to grab a glass of water, wash your hands, and even brush your teeth (hey, life happens!). With just a little TLC – and a handful of Puracy products – this vital part of your house will be happier and healthier for your entire family.