Because it's probably germier than you think.

For all the effort we put into keeping our stainless steel appliances free of unsightly fingerprints and streaks, sometimes the sink gets overlooked. The good thing about stainless steel sinks is that they're durable, and they can withstand frequent cleanings. In fact, you probably should be cleaning your stainless steel sink more than you think.

According to a study by NSF International, 45 percent of kitchen sinks were found to have coliform, a form of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli. Not to mention a kitchen sink that hasn't been cleaned in a while will begin to look dull as hard water stains appear. Using a few kitchen pantry staples can make your stainless steel sink sparkle again.

Disclaimer: While vinegar does have the capacity to damage bacteria and viruses, it is not listed on the Enviromental Protection Agency's list of registered disinfectants for use against the novel coronavirus. It has been found to be less effective than commercial disinfectants, according to a study in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, and thus should not be your first line of defense against infection. However, the reaction between baking soda and vinegar creates carbon dioxide gas, which is great for breaking up kitchen muck and grease.

How Often Should You Clean a Stainless Steel Sink

To prevent water marks, drying your sink with a dish towel each night can work wonders. Never leave sponges or dish towels to dry on the sink's surface, since this can dull the surface and harbor bacteria. We've already established that kitchen sinks are often one of the dirtiest places in the home (dirtier than your toilet, actually), so you probably need to clean it more than you already do. A good rule of thumb is to clean your sink about once a week or anytime you've handled raw meat or other bacteria-harboring foods.

stainless steel sink cleaned with pink soapy sponge and rubber glove
Credit: Getty Images

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink

No shopping necessary. Clean your stainless steel sink using pantry staples to disinfect and restore shine.

Here's What You''l Need:

  • Sponge
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon or orange peel
  • Olive oil
  • Paper towel


  1. Start by emptying the sink of all dishes and food scraps. Give the basin a quick rinse using the spray hose if your sink has one.
  2. Liberally sprinkle the sink with baking soda so that the entire surface is covered, including the walls.
  3. Use a soft sponge to buff the sink with the baking soda, working in a circular motion. Don't use steel wool or any harsh scouring pads on stainless steel. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive that won't scratch stainless steel.
  4. Rinse the sink with white vinegar. Don't be alarmed when it fizzes up, that means it's fighting the good fight!
  5. Lightly rub the sink down with a sponge one last time, and then rinse the basin with water.
  6. Use a lemon or orange peel to rub the entire basin down. The citrus will help to deodorize the sink and restore shine.
  7. Pour a drop of olive oil on a paper towel. Gently buff the entire sink with the paper towel to restore shine. You're done! This method will hold you over until your next clean.