How Often Should I Clean My Dorm Sink?

May 30, 2018 Allison Hess


How often should I clean my dorm sink? 

You should clean your dorm kitchen and bath sinks on a weekly basis.

With daily tips and tricks, your weekly sink cleanings will be easier than not studying for an exam.

Below, we’re going to give you our HomeRev hacks for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom sinks in your dorm room.

How to clean a sink

We’re going to focus on natural ways to clean your sinks. You don’t want chemicals and toxins in the places where you eat and get ready. This method will get your sink clean quickly, efficiently, and environmentally, so you can get back to chatting with your roommates.

First, clean the basin of the sink:

  1. Put on rubber gloves so you avoid getting pruney fingers.
  2. Remove all food or garbage from the sink. Throw in a trashcan.
  3. Rinse your sink with tap water. Use removable head if applicable to get all corners of the sink. If not, use a wet paper towel to thoroughly rinse the basin.
  4. Sprinkle fresh baking soda in the sink.
  5. Use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Gently scrub in circles. Do not rinse with water. Rubbing the baking soda helps lift stains and stuck-on grime.
  6. Pour a cup of white vinegar in the sink. This will chemically interact with the baking soda to remove tough stains. Vinegar is also a natural disinfectant.
  7. Place paper towels over the white vinegar. If not fully saturated, pour more vinegar on top of the paper towels.
  8. Let sit for 20 minutes. This will help disinfect while removing any gunk, bacteria, and odors.
  9. Dispose of the paper towels in the trashcan.
  10. Rinse with warm, soapy water to remove any vinegar smell. Use a fresh sponge with dishwashing detergent and warm water to rub the entire reservoir.
  11. Rinse with clean, warm water.

After cleaning out the basin of the sink, you’ll want to clean out the drain. You should focus on the drain after the basin because any bacteria and gunk from the sink reservoir will be washed down the drain.

Now that the basin is clean, let’s tackle the drain: 

  1. To remove clogs, mix 1/2 cup of fresh baking soda with 1/2 cup of salt and 1/8 cup of cream of tartar. Pour down the drain.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup of white vinegar down the drain. Let sit for 10 minutes. It might bubble and fizz as the vinegar interacts with the baking soda.
  3. Pour a quart of boiling water down the drain. This helps remove any leftover gunk.

The final steps:

Take the peel of a lemon or an orange. Rub this around the basin of the sink to help deodorize and add shine. Lemon can also help lift any leftover stains. Then, put on the drain of the sink. Run hot water over the peels and down the drain.

This will release the citrus enzymes into the drain to deodorize smells and add a fresh scent. If you have a garbage disposal, put the peels down the disposal. Turn on the disposal with running water.

Don’t forget to clean the faucets and handles:

We recommend a mild, soapy solution for faucets and handles. Pair with a microfiber cloth or soft sponge to gently remove watermarks. Use an old toothbrush to reach in between crevices. If there are spots on the faucet or handle, dab a paper towel in white vinegar and rub on the spot.

The handle is the dirtiest place of the sink. After people wipe their butts, they use the handle to turn on the water to wash their hands. This can harbor the greatest number of germs and bacteria. Don’t forget this part of the sink in your weekly cleanings!

Below are some of our favorite hacks for keeping your kitchen and bathroom sinks clean.

1. Don’t put trash in the sink.

Don’t put any food or trash products in the sink. This can cause bacteria and mold to grow, which can cause health problems (especially since it’s so close to where you prepare food). Plus, no one wants to be the one to throw out that mold—and no one likes touching wet food in the sink.

Always scrape food off your plate into the trashcan before washing. This helps ensure no gunk gets stuck to the side of your sink, growing bacteria and stinky odors.

You especially don’t want fruit, vinegar, and other acidic foods to sit in your sink. This can cause marks and staining, which can be hard to clean up. Plus, these foods tend to attract houseflies—and houseflies produce large batches of babies (aka maggots).

Pro-Tip: If you see fruit sitting in the sink, immediately remove it. Then pour salt on top and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Salt can help remove any short-term stains and odors.

You might also want to install a plastic mat in the bottom of your sink. This can protect from scratches that could cost you your security deposit. It will also protect your dishes from breaking.

2. Create a dishwashing system.

It’s easiest to clean your dishes right after using them. But how many college kids actually follow that rule? It always seems like our roommates don’t want to clean their own dishes, right?

You should be washing your dishes at least every other day. If you live with a number of roommates, we recommend a “section system.” Rather than having everyone throw their dishes into the sink and waiting for someone else to wash it for them, each roommate has a small section of the counter where they can put their dirty dishes. This publicly commits them to cleaning regularly—or their roommates will see their dirty dishes piling up.

When doing the dishes, wash with eco-friendly dishwashing detergent and warm to hot water. Use a fresh sponge to create a strong lather. Clean front and back, and rinse with water.

A good alternative to dishwashing detergent is castile soap. It’s an environmentally conscious, olive oil-based liquid soap. It has over 18 uses, including shampooing, washing fruit, and cleaning your dishes. Learn more about the wonders of Castile soap with Kitchnn.

3. Get a drying rack.

After washing your dishes, you’ll want a place to dry them. A foldable, apartment-sized drying rack is a great way to air our your dishes before putting them away.

We recommend putting a drying mat underneath your drying rack. This catches the excess water so it doesn’t slosh around on your counter.

Together, a drying rack and mat halve drying time so you can have clean, fresh dishes faster.

4. Change your sponge.

You should be changing your sponges every two weeks or after cleaning. This is because sponges soak up water and gunk, which harbors bacteria inside the sponge. Reusing your sponge for too long can actually spread even more bacteria on your plates and sink. 

However, you can extend the life of your sponge to three or four weeks with this trick. This helps kill any bacteria sitting in your damp sponge.

  1. Fully wet the sponge. Ring out so it’s damp but not saturated with water.
  2. Put the sponge on a paper towel and heat in the microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Let rest for 5 minutes (it will be too hot to touch).
  4. Reuse for an extra week and repeat.
  5. You can repeat this process twice before replacing the sponge.


You should be cleaning your bathroom and kitchen sinks at least once per week. This helps keep your dorm clean and your roommates happy and healthy!

What are your sink cleaning tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!

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