Stainless steel sinks are a low-maintenance kitchen classic, but they still require some regular TLC to keep their sparkling appearance. The same goes for your kitchen drains: treat them right, and you’ll spend less time unclogging your sink and more time enjoying your kitchen. If your sink is looking shabby — or you’re having regular problems with clogging and slow draining — follow these tips to keep it looking good, smelling fresh and flowing freely.
Clean Your Sink Regularly
How often you clean your sink is up to you, but if you want to cut down on weird sink smells, it’s a good idea to clean it every night. Use a sink drain grate to collect any food particles that wash off your dishes. Clean the stainless steel with a cleanser intended for the use on stainless steel, like Comet or Soft Scrub. If you’d prefer a more natural approach, vinegar and baking soda can also be used to clean a stainless steel sink.
Scrub out your sink with a sponge, washcloth or plastic scrubby, but don’t use steel wool — it’ll scratch. Clean with the grain of the metal. Once you’ve cleaned out your sink and disposed of food scraps in the garbage disposal, run hot water through your sink to break up any food oils that may have found their way down the drain and rinse them out of your pipes. Pour some vinegar and baking soda into your drains, let it foam for a minute, and then rinse it away with hot or boiling water to prevent clogs. When you’re done using the sink, protect the metal from rust stains by drying it out. Never let water pool in your sink.
Want your sink to gleam like new? You can polish your sink with club soda or flour: wipe the sink out with flour and then wash it away for a polished finish. Want to keep a new sink from scratching? Use a sink protector or coat your sink with automotive wax when dry.
Be Careful What You Put Down the Drain
You may have a garbage disposal, but that doesn’t mean you should just throw anything down the drain. If you’re judicious about what you put down your kitchen sink drain, you’ll find yourself searching for how to unclog the kitchen sink a lot less often; in fact, you might never need to unclog your sink again!
Understand that your garbage disposal isn’t there to dispose of all your kitchen scraps; it’s there to get rid of the scraps that end up in your sink and can’t be easily thrown in the trash. Don’t pour coffee grounds, mashed potatoes or grease down your kitchen sink. Kitchen grease should go into a used tin can or other container to be disposed of in the trash when it solidifies. If it’s poured down the sink, it can solidify in your pipes and cause a blockage. Mashed potatoes, coffee grounds and other soft scraps can also come together in the pipes to cause a blockage. Keep your garbage disposal clean by throwing lemon slices or vinegar ice cubes into it and running it to clean the blades and cut gross odors.
Kick Clogs Out
If, in spite of taking great care of your sink, you still find it clogging regularly, you need to take regular preventive action to keep your pipes clear. Every week or two weeks, fill your sink basin — or both basins, if it’s a double sink — with very hot water and use a pair of tongs to pull the plugs. The weight and force of the hot water will help clear out your pipes and wash away any grease or other debris that could be contributing to clogs.
Once you have done this, pour a half-cup of salt, a half-cup of baking soda, and a half-cup of vinegar into the sink. Let it foam, and then rinse it down with very hot water. If that’s not working for you, you can use commercial drain cleaner. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the package.
Your kitchen sink is one of the most important fixtures in your entire house, and you need to take good care of it to keep it looking good and functioning properly. Clean your sink regularly, be careful what you put down the drain, and protect it from scratches and stains. Treat your sink right, and kitchen sink clogs could become a thing of the past.