You Have to Clean This First if You Want a Truly Hygienic Kitchen – Professional Cleaners Warn

A clean and hygienic kitchen is the foundation of a healthy home. However, not all cleaning strategies are made equal. Professional cleaners know that to truly sanitize a kitchen and eliminate germs, you have to target certain areas first.

In particular, there is one thing that should always be cleaned first if you want a spotless kitchen according to cleaning experts. Read on to find out what it is and why it’s so important.

The Number One Place to Disinfect in the Kitchen

Out of all the surfaces, appliances, and nooks and crannies in the average kitchen, there is one area that must be disinfected first according to professional cleaners:

The Kitchen Sink

The sink tends to be the top spot where germs accumulate in the kitchen for several reasons:

  • It’s a moist environment – Bacteria thrive in damp places, and dripping water or small puddles around the sink create the perfect conditions.
  • Raw meat and poultry are cleaned there – Raw proteins often harbor harmful pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. Washing them in the sink spreads these germs around the area.
  • It’s a high-traffic spot – From washing hands to cleaning produce, nearly everyone uses the kitchen sink multiple times a day. More use means more germ transfer.
  • Food particles accumulate – Food rinse water and globs of grease, oil, and scraps get left behind in and around the sink drain and basin. These food sources allow germs to rapidly multiply.

For these reasons, professional cleaners stress the importance of tackling the kitchen sink first before anything else. Thoroughly disinfecting the sink helps remove the highest concentration of germs before they can spread to other areas.

How to Disinfect Your Sink

Cleaning experts recommend following these steps to properly disinfect your kitchen sink:

  1. Clear away debris – Remove any large food scraps or standing water. You want to start with as clean a surface as possible.
  2. Clean the basin – Scrub the sink basin with hot water, dish soap, and a sponge or brush. Pay special attention to stains and buildup around the drain.
  3. Disinfect with bleach – Spray or wipe down the entire sink with undiluted bleach. Make sure to coat every surface. Let the bleach solution sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing.
  4. Clean fixtures and surfaces – Wipe down the faucet, handles, countertop edges, and anything else around the sink. Use an all-purpose cleaner or more bleach.
  5. Unclog the drain – Use a drain snake or baking soda and vinegar treatment to remove soap scum, grease, hair, and food clogging your drain. Improving drainage prevents dirty water from accumulating.
  6. Dry thoroughly – Moisture is a magnet for microbes. Make sure to dry the sink basin, counter edges, and fixtures well after disinfecting.
  7. Take out trash – Bag up any waste or cleaning rags immediately and remove them from the kitchen. Don’t let them linger and contaminate again.
  8. Stay vigilant – Disinfect your sink at least once a week to keep germs at bay. Do it more often if preparing lots of raw meat or produce.

Why It’s Vital to Disinfect Sinks First

Focusing first on thoroughly disinfecting your kitchen sink before anything else is more than just common sense for professional cleaners. There are some compelling reasons why sink sanitization should be step one:

Removes a Concentrated Source of Germs

With heavy use and wet conditions, sinks contain some of the highest concentrations of bacteria, viruses, and mold in the entire kitchen. By immediately knocking out the bulk of germs where they congregate the most, you dramatically reduce the overall microbial load in the kitchen.

Avoids Spreading Germs to Other Areas

If you clean other items and surfaces first, any germs transferred from your hands or tools will end up right back in the contaminated sink basin. The sink essentially gets re-infected and ruins prior disinfection efforts.

Maximizes Impact of Other Cleaning

Completely sanitizing the sink first removes the primary source for recontamination. Subsequent cleaning of counters, appliances, floors, and other areas will be more effective since germ levels are already significantly lowered.

Provides a Clean Workspace

The sink is the area used to prepare cleaning solutions, rinse rags, wash hands, and more. Disinfecting provides a hygienic workspace so activities involved in cleaning the rest of the kitchen won’t spread more germs.

For all these reasons, if you really want a spotless, sanitary kitchen, always make sure to scrub, sanitize, and disinfect your sink first before anything else. This simple step makes a massive difference according to professional cleaners.

Deep Cleaning a Neglected Sink

The basics like hot water, bleach, and elbow grease are often all that’s needed to disinfect an everyday kitchen sink. However, sinks that have been neglected require more heavy duty cleaning methods to fully sanitize them again. Here are some tips from the pros for deep cleaning a filthy sink.

Supplies Needed

  • Protective gloves
  • Scrub brushes
  • Cleaning caddy
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Boiling water
  • Caustic soda crystals
  • Eye protection


  1. Remove standing water or food debris. Drain or scoop out excess water and loose particles. Proper PPE is a must from here on.
  2. Clean the trap. Unscrew the curved pipe under the sink and remove any built-up food waste inside.
  3. Scrub with baking soda. Make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a stiff brush and gloves to scour stains.
  4. Rinse. Flush away baking soda residue with hot water.
  5. Freshen with vinegar. Fill the sink with equal parts vinegar and hot water. Let soak 15-30 minutes.
  6. Drain and flush with lemon juice. The acid in lemon juice helps remove grime.
  7. Boil water. Heat pots of water on the stove and pour down the drain while running hot tap water to flush gunk.
  8. Remove mineral deposits. Mix some caustic soda crystals with water to form a thick paste. Apply to stubborn hard water stains and mineral buildup. Wait 5 minutes then scrub and rinse thoroughly.
  9. Disinfect with bleach. Spray or wipe undiluted bleach over all sink surfaces. Let sit 15-20 minutes then rinse.
  10. Clean fixtures and shine chrome. Use all-purpose cleaner and microfiber cloths on faucets, handles, and other fixtures.
  11. Dry thoroughly. Make sure no moisture is left clinging when done.

With some heavy scrubbing using natural acids and abrasives, even the grimiest neglected sink can be transformed back into a sanitized state. Just remember proper safety gear when using caustic chemicals. A sparkling clean sink helps ensure your whole kitchen becomes a bacteria-free zone.

FAQs About Disinfecting Kitchen Sinks

Q: Should I clean or disinfect my sink first?

A: Always disinfect first. Cleaning uses soap and water to remove grease and debris. But disinfecting with bleach solution kills germs and microbes that normal cleaning leaves behind. Disinfecting first also avoids contaminating your whole sink after just cleaning it.

Q: How often should I disinfect my sink?

A: At minimum, disinfect your kitchen sink once a week. If preparing lots of raw meat or produce, do it more often – even daily. Always disinfect immediately if the sink has gotten contaminated from sick individuals or raw meat juices.

Q: What’s the best disinfectant for kitchen sinks?

A: Regular unexpired bleach is the disinfectant most recommended by professional cleaners. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. Make sure to use it safely and never mix it with other chemicals.

Q: Should I be disinfecting my bathroom sink this way too?

A: Bathroom sinks should also be regularly disinfected as they harbor lots of germs too. The same steps of thorough cleaning, disinfecting with bleach, and drying apply. Just remember to never use a bathroom sink sponge or rag in the kitchen sink as well.

Q: What about stainless steel sinks – can I still use bleach?

A: Undiluted bleach is safe on stainless steel as long as you rinse it thoroughly after letting it sit. You can also opt for hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol instead if concerned about bleaching. Test a small area first.

Q: Why is my cleaned sink still sticky or smelly?

A: Residual organics, grease, and soap scum can leave sinks sticky and foul smelling after cleaning. Try scrubbing with baking soda, using caustic soda on hard water stains, or boiling vinegar and water mixtures to deep clean away residues.

Thoroughly sanitizing your kitchen sink must be step one before anything else according to professional cleaners. Focusing on disinfecting your sink first removes the primary germ hotspot. This allows all other cleaning efforts to be more effective. Keep your sink clean and your whole kitchen becomes a safer and healthier place for your family.

The Importance of Keeping Kitchen Sinks Clean

While it’s clear that cleaning your kitchen sink should be the very first step in a comprehensive cleaning routine, you may be wondering why it’s so important to keep your sink clean in general. Here are some of the top reasons cleaning experts emphasize the importance of sink hygiene:

Healthiest Environment for Food Preparation

Your kitchen sink is likely one of the main places you use to clean produce, thaw meats, and prep food for cooking. Keeping the sink free of germs helps prevent cross-contamination and creates the most sanitary conditions for anything involving food, resulting in a lower risk of food-borne illness.

Prevent Bug and Pest Infestations

Germs aren’t the only concern with a dirty sink. It can also attract household pests like drain flies, fruit flies, cockroaches, and rodents looking for food and water sources. Keeping your sink sparkling clean removes a potential breeding ground and entry point for invaders.

Avoid Clogged Drains

All the rinsing, scrubbing, and disposal of food waste, grease, and debris is a recipe for clogged drains if not cleaned regularly. A slow draining or fully blocked sink is a hassle and can lead to even more trapped bacteria and nasty odors.

Improve the Look of Your Kitchen

While you probably aren’t whipping up gourmet meals for guests at the sink, a dirty, stained basin full of dirty dishes still detracts from the aesthetic of an otherwise spotless kitchen. Keeping the sink clean improves the visual flow and ambiance.

Easier Overall Cleaning

When you get into the habit of regularly cleaning your kitchen sink, it makes cleaning the rest of the kitchen much simpler. Starting in a clean, sanitized workspace means other messes are less likely to accumulate, cling, and cake on. A little sink scrubbing goes a long way.

Avoid Permanent Staining & Damage

An accumulation of grease, food, residue, and grime that is left too long can start to stain and even corrode sink basins. Porcelain, enamel, and metal alike can become permanently marked. Frequent cleaning prevents this gradual degradation.

Regular disinfection and scrubbing of your kitchen sink accomplishes so much more than just eliminating germs. Cleaning experts unanimously agree that keeping your sink in tip-top condition is one of the most important things for maintaining a fully hygienic kitchen.

Implementing a Kitchen Sink Cleaning Routine

To reap the many benefits of a clean, sanitized sink, it’s essential to make sink cleaning a regular habit. Here are some tips to implement an effective kitchen sink cleaning routine:

Daily Quick Scrubs

Do a quick daily scrub with a sponge, hot water, and dish soap to remove any grease and crumbs before they cake on. Taking a couple minutes a day prevents major buildup.

Weekly Disinfecting

Set a reminder to do a thorough bleaching or disinfecting of your entire sink weekly. This kills the bulk of bacteria before they multiply into hard-to-remove biofilm.

Monthly Deep Cleaning

Do a more intensive deep clean monthly using abrasives, boiling water, and natural acids to remove stains, mineral deposits, and any lingering grease in drains. This maintains long-term hygiene.

Air Dry

Always thoroughly dry your sink basin after cleaning using a towel or by letting air dry to prevent moisture and puddles where germs thrive.

Get Bristly Tools

Use brushes and scrubbers that can reach into crevices, grooves, and the sink drain openings where grime loves to hide.

Bleach Gel Clings

Use a gel bleach cleaner periodically that clings to vertical surfaces better if you notice grime around faucet bases, handles, and backsplashes.

Prevent Clogs

Use drain catchers and strainers to minimize food particles going down drains. Periodically flush drains with baking soda and vinegar to keep water flowing freely.

Wipe Splatters

Immediately wipe any oils, sauces, or food splatters that occur during cooking to keep the surrounding sink area clean.

Following these tips to make sink cleaning a habit will dramatically improve the level of hygiene in your kitchen. Pairing daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks makes sink sanitization easy and effective.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s clear that disinfecting your kitchen sink must be step one for a cleaner kitchen. However, people often make mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of sink sanitization. Here are some common errors to avoid:

Not Scrubbing First

Disinfectants work best on clean surfaces without standing water, grease, or food debris. Always give your sink a thorough scrub and rinse before attempting to disinfect it.

Using the Wrong Disinfectant

Household bleach is the cleaning pros top choice for obliterating bacteria, viruses, and mold in sinks. Avoid disinfectants like homemade essential oil sprays that are not EPA-approved.

Not Letting it Sit

Disinfectants need wet contact time to fully work. Don’t just spray and immediately wipe or rinse. Let disinfectants sit on surfaces for 5-10 minutes before removal.

Forgetting Fixtures

Just cleaning the basin isn’t enough. Faucet handles, nozzle, and backsplash areas also harbor germs. Disinfect everything within the sink’s zone.

Ignoring Underneath

The underside lip, drain surfaces, and garbage disposal often get neglected. Remember to scrub and disinfect these areas during cleaning.

No Drain Maintenance

Letting soap scum, grease, and food debris constantly go down the drain leads to clogs. Use drain catchers and regularly flush drains.

Absence of Routines

Sporadic sink cleaning fails to prevent germ buildup. Implementing consistent daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning habits is key for hygiene.

Avoiding these common missteps will ensure your efforts to sanitize your kitchen sink are as effective as possible. Consistency and proper techniques make all the difference in lowering bacteria to safe levels.


Your kitchen sink is ground zero for germs in the kitchen. Professional cleaners always stress that truly disinfecting your sink must be step number one before cleaning anything else.

Tackling your sink first eliminates the primary breeding ground for harmful bacteria, viruses, mold, and more that can contaminate your kitchen. Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the moist basin environment, high-touch fixtures, and often-ignored undersides and drains on a consistent basis knocks out the bulk of microbial contamination from the room.

By fully sanitizing your sink first, all other subsequent cleaning and disinfecting of appliances, counters, tables, and floors will be exponentially more effective. Your efforts won’t get instantly undone by a sink teeming with bacteria. An immaculate and germ-free kitchen starts with the sink.

Implementing a routine with daily scrubs, weekly disinfecting, and monthly deep cleaning is critical. With some diligent elbow grease and the right techniques, you can transform your kitchen sink from a grimy germ cesspool to a pristine and hygienic workspace. Your whole kitchen will reap the benefits.

Heeding professional cleaner’s advice to always clean your sink first before anything else is the key to unlocking a truly spotless kitchen. Don’t let this critical step fall by the wayside. A hygienic sink equals a hygienic kitchen.