Since most of us are interested in eliminating germs and bacteria these days I wanted to discuss another cleaning topic that makes me cringe even when we aren’t in flu and cold season… the kitchen sink. We all wash our dishes before we reuse them. Ok, I have been in homes where they don’t actually wash dishes if no one ate off of them… but that’s an entirely different discussion!
Here’s the thing though… we all use the kitchen sink to wash our dishes and rinse our dish rags or sponges. But, how often do you really clean your kitchen sink? Research says most Americans don’t clean the kitchen sink very often, if at all. In fact if you google the topic (which you may not want to!) you will find that in most homes the kitchen sink has more germs and bacteria than the toilets, and also has mold spores. blahhhh!
Why is that? Well in part, it is because we soak and rinse our dishes in the sink and never actually clean the sink itself. We may rinse the sink out, but we down really wash and scrub it.
On a daily basis when I am done washing our dishes I use Dawn soap, hot water and my dish rag (or sponge) to wash the entire tub of the sink along with the faucet and handles. I scrub the sink and all it’s parts just like I do the dishes we cook in and eat off of.
Cleaning the sink on a daily basis will get rid of most of the germs and keep it from getting really gross, but there are still stubborn germs and bacteria that will thrive. At least once a week (more when anyone is sick), I use a stronger and mildly abrahsive cleaner to really scrub the sink. I use “Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Soft Cleanser” which uses oxalic acid to disinfect and is a mild abrahsive so it will provide a little deeper clean than regular dish soap. You can also use Comet or Ajax, but I typically avoid bleach products in our house. With any of these products you need to use a little water with the product to scrub the sink and then let the cleaner sit for at least a couple of minutes (5-10 minutes is best) before rinsing to give it time to kill more bacteria and germs.
When I thoroughly clean the sink, I also scrub down the sides of the drain and around the base of the faucet and handles. I occasionally use a small “toothbrush” to clean around the drain surround and around the seam where the sink meets the countertop. Many drain or splash guards (the rubber cover on the garbage disposal side) can be removed and cleaned as well, especially in newer homes. If your splash gaurd comes out and you have never cleaned it, be prepared for what you will find! 🙂 You can also regularly remove those and toss them in the dishwasher.
After cleaning my sink I disinfect the rag or sponge that I used, using the laundry and dinfecting procedures I discussed in my last post. If you are particularly concerned with the germs in your sink, you can boil water in a kettle or pot and rinse the sink with it. I worked as a nanny / housekeeper for a microbiologist many years ago and every time raw chicken was in their kitchen he would dump boiling water on anything it could have possibly touched. I always remember that when I’m considering what will best kill bacteria and germs… boiling hot water!