How To Clean Your Kitchen Sink & Disposal

updated Dec 4, 2023
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You would think your kitchen sink is relatively clean, considering the number of times per day you use it. But simply letting water run down the drain throughout the day just won’t cut it with germs and bacteria—you need to sanitize your garbage disposal and sink! 

Check out our step-by-step process to get your sink and garbage disposal clean and safe without the use of harmful chemicals or cleaners.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

How to Clean Out a Garbage Disposal and Sink

Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need.



  • Old toothbrush
  • Soft sponge
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

Instructions for Cleaning Your Sink

For daily cleaning, a mild soap and nylon sponge or soft rag can be used to wipe your sink down. All-purpose or glass cleaner can be used in a pinch, but it’s important to avoid ammonia, bleach, or abrasive cleaners on stainless steel. Abrasive sponges should also be avoided; all of these can alter the sink’s finish.

1. Thoroughly rinse out your sink. If you have a stainless sink, salt and acid in food can potentially damage the finish, so it’s important to rinse food and liquids to prevent pitting.

2. Sprinkle baking soda onto the surface. Working it into a paste, rinse thoroughly.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

3. Line the sink with paper towels soaked in white vinegar. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes and then dispose of the paper towels.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

4. Rinse the sink with warm soapy water.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

5. For the faucets and handles, wipe with a mild soapy solution. The toothbrush can be used to get in the hard-to-reach areas. If spots remain, a cloth soaked in white vinegar can be used. Once you’re finished cleaning, thoroughly rinse one more time and dry with a soft rag. Your sink should now be fresh and clean!

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

Instructions to Clean the Garbage Disposal

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

1. Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda down the disposal then add one cup of white vinegar. The mixture will fizz and make a bit of noise, allow this to work for a few minutes while you boil a kettle of hot water. Pour boiling water down the drain.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

2. Fill the drain with two cups of ice. Pour a cup of salt (rock salt is great if you have it, I improvised with coarse sea salt) over the ice cubes. Run the cold water and turn on the garbage disposal until the ice is gone. The ice/salt mixture will help loosen the grime and debris from the grinding elements

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy)

3. Cut a lemon or lime in half. With the water on and the garbage disposal running, add the fruit halves, one at a time, to the disposal. The fruit will help clean and deodorize your drain.

Re-edited from a post originally published 1.13.11 – TW