How to Clean a Stained Kitchen Sink

We wash everything from fruits and veggies to cooking utensils and sometimes even our tiny pets in our outdoor kitchen sink or even indoor kitchen sink.

We use them so often, that keeping them clean is sometimes the hardest chore you can imagine.

The sheer quantity and variety of the materials that go through the sink will eventually lead to its staining. It goes without saying that sink stains look awful. They can make your hygiene standards questionable, which sounds absolutely horrible.

Removing kitchen sink stains, therefore, should be a top priority for all homemakers. But some stains will seem impossible to be completely cleared. But I assure you, they are not.

Rather than expensive stain removers, everyday materials like soap, baking soda or bleach can make a huge difference in stain removal.

Gathering the Cleaning Supplies:

For every method, there are certain materials required. A combined list of all the steps is given below:

  • Liquid dish wash/powdered cleaner
  • Baking soda and white vinegar
  • Bleach and hydrogen peroxide
  • Very fine-grit sandpaper
  • Common salt and lemon
  • Cloth pieces, sponges, and brushes

How to Clean Kitchen Sink Stains:

(For each method, look out for the section on porcelain kitchen sink if you happen to own one)

Method 1: Dishwashing Soap, Sponge, and Hot Water for Ordinary Stains

Lots of times, we are too busy running out the door to work that we forget to clean up after ourselves. Kitchen sinks suffer a lot from this type of accidental neglect.

But the ordinary stains in our kitchen sink can be cleared away using ordinary dish wash and sponge. Alternatively, you can also use a powdered cleaner, like Comet.

Here is how:

  • Pour a coin-sized amount of dishwasher soap onto a sponge, and rinse the sink thoroughly after every time you use the sink.

N.B: If cleaning the sink every time you use is too much of a hassle, do it every night, when you are wrapping up in the kitchen.

  • Use boiling hot water to clean it up. There are two benefits to this:
  1. Hot water removes particles easily from the surface of the sink, and down the drain.
  2. It keeps bacteria away.

For porcelain sinks, you can also do this:

  • Put some salt on the stain.
  • Squeeze a lemon on top of it.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Rinse and wash with warm water. Don’t use boiling water on porcelain sinks.

Method 2: White Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution for Stubborn Spots

If you have stubborn stains or tiny rust spots that refuse to go away with ordinary soap and water, you can use vinegar and baking soda.

For this, consider the following steps:

  • Rub baking soda on the stain with a sponge.
  • Sprinkle/spray white vinegar on the baking soda.
  • Let it sizzle and settle.
  • Rinse with a sponge coated in more baking soda.
  • Wash with soap and water and rinse it again.

You can also do this every week to make sure that stains do not develop.

But this does next to nothing if your sink has developed rust. For that level of damage, let’s try this:

  • Mix vinegar and baking soda so that it becomes a paste.
  • Spread this paste thick over the rust stain in your sink.
  • Let it sit for some minutes (the longer it stays, the deeper it cleans over larger rust remains).
  • After waiting at least 15 minutes, scrub it down with a scrub brush.
  • If the rust stain hasn’t faded completely, repeat this process.

For a porcelain sink, follow these steps:

  • Pour baking soda into the sink.
  • Dampen a sponge and add some elbow grease.
  • Rinse the sink with the sponge.
  • The baking soda will foam up and enter any crevices that the sink may have.
  • Wash the sink down after rinsing.

Method 3: Bleach Away the Harder Stains

Remember never to use bleach if your kitchen sink is colored porcelain. For white porcelain sinks or stainless steel sinks, bleach can be used effectively against stains.

 Here is how to do it:

  • Spread a spoonful of undiluted bleach in the sink.
  • Rinse thoroughly, with a special focus on the stains.
  • Wash the sink and scrub it clean.

Method 4: Hydrogen Peroxide for Clearing Stain and Polished Look

This is another bleaching agent. After its use, though, the cleaned surfaces will have an added sheen, so it works something like a polishing agent as well.

Here is how to use hydrogen peroxide on your stainless steel kitchen sink:

  • Spray it on the stain either concentrated or at a 50/50 dilution with water.
  • You can scrub at the stain using a sponge.
  • Pour water over the area to leave it clean.

Here is how to use the same chemical on a porcelain sink:

  • Scrub down the sink with the dish wash and warm water.
  • Wash any debris away.
  • Plug up the sink.
  • Spray the sink with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Wait at least 15 minutes (or keep it so overnight to remove more stains)
  • Pour warm water into the sink and rinse.
  • Let the water drain.
  • Wash it down one last time..

Method 5: Sanding Off the Stains

If all else fails, it might be because the sink is too old and scratched. The stains might have become etched on to the sink surface.

Here, using a good old sandpaper can make a huge difference in your fight against stains.

The following steps apply to all kinds of sink materials including porcelain sink:

  • Wet the sink surface adequately and make sure it’s wet throughout the whole sanding session.
  • Pick the finest grit sandpaper you can find.
  • Lightly soak it in water, and start sanding the target area.
  • With some elbow grease and good luck, the stains are likely to disappear after a couple of minutes.

Note that this method is especially useful if you are dealing with iron-heavy water that can potentially leave behind dark, stubborn spots on the sink.

Stain removal chores aside, here are a few pro tips to keep your sink spotless:

Bonus Tip 1: Citrus Peel to Keep the Sink Shiny As a New Penny!

After every cleaning, whether by soap or any other material, you can use any type of citrus peel to keep the sink fresh and polished.

The type of fruits you can use here include:

  • Orange/tangerine peels
  • Fresh lime/lemon pieces or rind

Rinsing the sink with the peels of these fruits adds a sheen as well as a fresh smell to the sink.

For the same purpose, you can wipe a porcelain sink with a cloth dampened with lemon oil.

Bonus Tip 2: Clean the Drain Stopper

Drain stoppers are the dirtiest parts of a sink, which is why cleaning them properly is sure to bring immense satisfaction. Here is how to do it:

  • First, remove the drain stopper and place it in a tall glass vessel.
  • Put equal amounts of baking soda and white vinegar into this vessel one after the other.
  • As you are putting each of these components, make sure that there is enough of each to cover the drain stopper completely.
  • Add some liquid dish wash.
  • Let it sit for some time so that the stains are soaked through.
  • Scrub the drain stopper thoroughly using a brush. Don’t forget to clean out the crevices.


There are several ways to get rid of stains, as you can see. But the most important step of all is to be vigilant and clean up after yourself.

Pouring the leftover coffee and tea directly down the drain, avoiding the spread of cooking oils, etc can help prevent stain formation. It helps immensely if you wash the sink immediately after each use, so do it a couple of times throughout the day.

Stains are bound to appear as the sink ages. That’s where the tips and tricks that I shared can help you.

Finally, let me leave you with this thought: the stains will firmly hold on to the sink’s surface if there are scratches. Therefore, make sure to sand out minor scratches every three to six months before they become a big problem.

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