Here's How Often You Should Be Cleaning Your Kitchen Sink To Keep It Germ-Free

A mistake everyone makes with their kitchen sink is cleaning it too infrequently. You may think the residual soap from washing dishes or your hands gives the basin a nice cleanse, but it doesn't. The sink is one of the dirtiest places in the kitchen. It is the backsplash for rinsing raw meat, discarding unwanted liquids, and housing greasy plates. You need to clean your sink at least once a week for optimal cleanliness.

While lots of food is prepared near the sink, this area can harbor more bacteria than a bathroom. "There's more E. coli in a kitchen sink than in a toilet after you flush it," Dr. Charles Gerba told Food and Wine. "The sink is a great place for E. coli to live and grow since it's wet and moist. Bacteria feed on the food that people put down the drain and what's left on dishes in the sink." Don't rinse those carrots in a sink germier than the toilet. Rest assured that your kitchen is spick and span with weekly cleanings.

The kitchen sink needs weekly washes

Just like your sponge only has a week-long life span, so does the cleaning on your kitchen sink. Food and dishes contribute to the bacteria party happening where you prepare dinner. Even if your sink looks spotless, it still needs to be disinfected weekly. Don't let the microscopic germs fool you.

However, once a week is just the minimum. After handling raw meat or completing dirty tasks like scrubbing soil off vegetables, you should clean the sink immediately. Washing with soap and water can remove dirt and grime, but sanitizing is key for killing bacteria. Plus, during the summer, your kitchen needs extra cleaning. Forming the habit of scrubbing the kitchen sink after dishwashing or clearing the counter will prevent the bowl from being overdue for its cleaning appointment.

Microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba, aka Dr. Germ, recommends using industrial kitchen-safe products to disinfect your basin. While vinegar and lemon are superb home remedies for everyday cleaning, they don't combat all pathogens that lurk in this moisture hub.

How to clean your kitchen sink

To get your sink spotless, you first need to wash it with soap and hot water. Cover every inch in dish soap, including the rim and drain stopper, then rinse. Use a paper towel or clean kitchen rag to dry the sink.

The next step is sanitizing. You can use a product designed for disinfecting the kitchen, like Lysol or Clorox sprays, or make your own with chlorine bleach. One tablespoon of bleach for every gallon of water does the trick to kill bacteria. Spray the solution around the basin or fill your sink with the bleach mixture and let it sit for five minutes before drying the area.

Don't forget about the drain. Pour one teaspoon of bleach and one quart of water down the pipe to rinse away any germs and disinfect the drain. Wipe the faucet, handles, and caddy so the sink and all its accessories will be bacteria-free — at least for the week.