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Don’t hate me because I love cleaning my kitchen sink.

Oh, it’s not that I’m a weird clean freak, it’s just that I take advantage of instant gratification whenever the opportunity presents itself. And I’ve mastered what works to keep my stainless steel sink looking new with very little time and effort. About 10 minutes max.

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Not long ago, I demonstrated how I easily get my stainless stove top clean. Check it out here. If you think that you can sub out the sink for the stove top, you’d be wrong. While oil and grease and cooked-on foods are the issues with a stove top, for me, water spots are the main problem I have with the sink. I have hard water. I’m also acutely aware that the sink can hold a bazillion germs – give or take a million. I clean poultry, vegetables and a variety of other items in the sink. So, germs and water spots are my kitchen arch enemies.

As you, no doubt, already know, whoever coined the term “stainless steel” is a big fat liar. If you’re not careful, it certainly can stain. And that’s why preventing mishaps is the first line of defense against damage.

Make sure that you rinse food and debris out of your sink rather than letting them sit around. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, can damage your sink’s finish. So, it’s a really bad idea (on so many levels) to let that dirty plate with bits of spaghetti sauce lollygag in your sink overnight.

You probably already know that you shouldn’t use abrasive cleaners (think Comet), SOS pads or other rough scrubbies. Wait, let me amend that statement. If you’re renting or living in a house with an old stainless steel sink that looks hopeless, all bets are off. Use whatever you need so that you can feel comfortable using the thing. For the purpose of this post, I’m working on the premise that the sink in question already is in pretty good shape and your aim is to keep it that way.

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Here’s what you’ll need: Soft rags, CLR, gloves, bleach (water and bleach are in the recycled Great Value spray bottle above) and furniture polish of your choice.

If you’re super green, then my method might not please you. It will, however, keep your sink sparkling. I’m going to come right out with it: I use bleach to sanitize everything. Seriously, I’ve been known to dip a toothbrush in a highly diluted combination of bleach and water. I love bleach. It’s my friend. I spritz diluted bleach all over my cutting boards, the kitchen shears I use to clip fat off poultry and to whiten stained coffee cups. The trick is to rinse, rinse and rinse some more when you’re done. Oh, and house guests will be pleased to know that I spray the bathroom from top to bottom with bleach before and after each visit. So there. I make no apologies. But I do work in a well-ventilated area.

The other item on my sink cleaning list is CLR, which removes water spots and rust from many items around the house. I wear gloves when using CLR, and so should you. And then there’s the lemon furniture spray. I usually use Pledge, but I had this on hand and it works fine (but not for the stove top, that’s when Pledge is best — crazy, I know). You just need something with a bit of oil in it to polish and repel water. I have to say that these are what work on my sink. If you’re not sure about yours, then you might want to test a small spot to make sure that these products don’t have an adverse effect. Note that I don’t keep the bleach and CLR on the sink’s surface for more than a couple of minutes. Don’t start this chore, then walk away to grab a phone call.

Back to my green friends, you’ll be pleased to know that instead of using paper towels, I used old bar mops. They’re soft and absorbent. Also, I tend to buy bunches of them every time I go to the store. When they’re ragged and stained, they’re the perfect all-around rag. I’m actually addicted to them, and you’ll find very tall stacks of new and used bar mops in closets all over the house.

But enough about my bar mop issues, let’s get started cleaning that sink, shall we?

See those dreaded water marks? Shoot, and that’s a spot of ragu sauce I made the other day. Can’t believe I let that slide for days.

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I love the sink rack. It saves the bottom from getting scratched. I clean it with a brush and spritz bleach to keep it free of cooties. No surprise there.

And here’s a peek of the sink after cleaning, which only takes about 10 minutes.

(Continued on page 2)

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