Equipment
This 10-Minute Cleaning Routine Makes a Kitchen Look 10 Times Cleaner
Kitchen need a cleaning? Focus on the busiest place in the kitchen. (Hint: It’s not the stovetop.)
07-20-2021
Kate Shannon

Kitchens get dirty. When we talk about cleaning it up, most people talk about the stovetop or the countertops. But those aren’t always the right places to focus. 

You should clean your kitchen sink and dish rack.

Think about it. Your sink is the place where you clean everything else. And the dish rack is where you put your freshly cleaned items. If one or both of these things is dirty, you’ve undone your hard work. 

I’ve got it down to a 10-minute routine. It’s quick. It’s satisfying. And because most sinks are made of light-colored materials that show water spots or food debris, it makes a huge difference. Here’s what to do.

STEP 1: Wash your dish rack.

before and after dish rack

Cleaning your dish rack is an instant kitchen upgrade.

All you need is dish soap and a sponge. Slide the drip tray out from under the dish rack and pull out the silverware caddy, then plop them both in the sink and cover them with dish soap and hot water.

Most drip trays have ribs or raised patterns that help direct dishwater into the sink. Make sure you get in the tight spaces with the corner of your sponge. I originally tested kitchen sponges for doing dishes, but I’ve found that our winner (the O-Cedar Scrunge) is great for chores such as these. It’s a little thicker than some others, which gives me more to hold onto, and its scrubby side is just abrasive enough to thoroughly clean surfaces without scratching them. 

Towel dry the pieces or set them aside on a clean dish towel to dry while you focus on step 2.

STEP 2: Clean your kitchen sink.

sink before and after cleaning

Before and after cleaning: Even if your sink isn't that dirty before cleaning, there's still a noticeable difference!

Get a can of Bar Keepers Friend. In addition to cleaning your kitchen sink (or bathtub), this inexpensive powder can remove superstubborn stains from stainless-steel skillets. It’s really a friend to everyone.

Spray or splash water around your sink so that all of the surfaces are wet, then sprinkle the powder around. You can use a cloth or a sponge (just don’t use the same one you use for dishes!), but I prefer a scrub brush. Make sure that you get in all the corners, up where the sink meets the countertop, and into the grooves around your drain.

As a final touch, spray the faucet and handles with an all-purpose cleaner. (Our favorite is Method All-Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner.) Dry them off—you can use the same dish towel you used for the dish rack—so that they don’t get any water spots.

When I’m done, I toss both the sponge and scrub brush into the dishwasher. It’s the easiest way to clean a sponge and it works for scrub brushes, too. 

Just look at the difference 10 minutes makes!

Photo: PixelsEffect, Getty Images


Want to be a smarter shopper and become a better cook? Start a free trial to access all of our rigorous, unbiased product reviews.