By Amanda Addey-Jibb
Hello fine folks, I am back to tell you some very specific and detailed tips on my least favourite part of the house: the kitchen sink. It is literally the most dirty, germy, gross, disgusting place in your home, so it’s good to remember that and to take care of it sometimes.
First of all, doing your dishes in the sink does not make it clean. Doing your dishes makes the sink dirty, because of all the little pieces of food and whatever else that fall off your dishes and go into the drain. After washing all your dishes and placing them in your drying rack, now your shift begins.
If you haven’t done this already, put on gloves and scrub down your sink. You can easily do this with just your regular sponge and dish detergent on a regular basis (that’s what I do), but it’s even better to clean your sink with bleach powder every once in a while. Just wet your sink, shake a little bleach powder or baking soda all over the sides and bottom of the sink, and let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it down, then rinse thoroughly. If you want the full deluxe shine experience, first plug your drain and fill your sink with very hot water, adding 1-2 cups of household (liquid) bleach. Let that soak for an hour and then drain before scrubbing with bleach powder and rinsing. If you don’t want to use any bleach for chemical reasons, you could use a vinegar mixture for a similar anti-bacterial effect.
Once that’s done, take a look at your drain. Japanese drains are quite magical in that you have at least one, maybe two, or up to three different stoppage systems to prevent food from being flushed down the drain. This is great for preventing blockages but gross for you because it means you have to dig out the food bits with your hands. Good thing you’re already wearing gloves!
Take all the pieces of your drain out and remove all the food waste into the garbage. I like to scrub down each piece with my sponge and some dish detergent, but you can use bleach powder here too to really make them sparkly fresh. If you have a drain like mine, there is a deep removable inner basket and a drain catcher cover piece which goes on top. For a removable inner basket, you should really be using these wonderfully convenient filter bags that you can buy at literally any 100-en store or grocery store. They come in packs of 50 or 100 so they will last you for at least a year or two if you are changing them out once a week. It makes picking out the little bits of leftover food so much less disgusting.
If you don’t already have a drain catcher, you can also easily find them in the same section. They come in plastic or metal varieties, with the only difference being that metal will rust over time but plastic is more porous and thus more prone to foster bacteria. You will have to replace either one after a while.
For continued cleaning and sanitizing of your drain so that it doesn’t start to stink after a few days (read: weeks) of not cleaning it, look for one of these options in the kitchen cleaning aisle: the bleach pod or the bleach puck. The pods come in packs of ten or so, and you just place one down the drain about once every other month. As the hot water from your dishes goes down the drain, it dissolves the pod and disinfects the drain. The puck does the same thing, but is attached to your drain catcher (usually the deep removable inner one) by a plastic cord, and it stays put for about a month, after which point you would replace it.
I have used both and I can tell you that they don’t actually do all that much, because you still have to check for food and change your filter every now and then. However the puck will keep the drain smelling nice over the entire month or so until it’s time to throw it out, whereas the tab will just dissolve and that’s the end of it.
Lastly, don’t forget that your sponge is the key to whether your dishes will actually be clean or whether they will be harboring germs forever. If you have been using your sponge for 2 months or more, let that poor soul go. It has been through enough! Sink sponges tend to be usable for around 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on how often you sanitize it. How might you sanitize a sponge you ask? Well, there are many methods, but my favourite is to simply microwave it in a bowl of water for 1-2 mins every 2 weeks. Ideally every week is best, but who has time for that?
And if you use a rag instead of a sponge, only God can help you. I will pray for you.
To everyone else, happy cleaning!