Here’s how to banish bacteria from the most germ-ridden place in your home.

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Sometimes you can rest on your laurels after you complete a task. Unfortunately, cleaning your kitchen sink isn't one of those times. According to the National Sanitation Foundation, your kitchen sink is the germiest place in your house (and in case you're wondering, the germiest item is the kitchen sponge). This is true even if your sink doesn't look dirty. Everyday activities like scrubbing pots and rinsing poultry introduce germs and bacteria to your kitchen sink on a regular basis. So how often do you really need to clean your kitchen sink? Perhaps even more importantly, how do you sanitize your kitchen sink and get rid of those pesky germs? Here's what you need to know. 

kitchen sink
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How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Kitchen Sink? 

Leanne Stapf, Chief Operating Officer of Cleaning Authority in the Washington, D.C., says under normal circumstances, you should give your sink a thorough cleaning once a week. This is true even if it looks clean to the naked eye or went unused for a stretch of time. According to Stapf, "Even if a sink is going unused or looks clean, you should still stick to a weekly cleaning. Bacteria can build up from unexpected places over time and dust can easily settle in unused spaces." 

Stapf recommends using a fresh towel or cloth to scrub your sink. You can also use a sponge, but fresh is the key word here. A dirty sponge or cloth will just spread bacteria all over your sink. "Use warm, soapy water, and baking soda to wash these areas," says Stapf. "We recommend a mixture of three tablespoons baking soda, one-tablespoon dish soap, and one-fourth cup warm water. You can also sprinkle a little baking soda onto a damp soft cloth and buff out the sink for stainless steel surfaces." Be sure to get the sides of the sink and the area around the drain. Rinse well to avoid leaving behind any streaks 

Stapf adds that you can also do minimal cleaning maintenance every other day with the quick swipe of a disinfectant wipe or cleaning spray, especially during flu season. This will help you keep those nasty germs at bay until you have time for a deeper cleaning. 

How Do You Sanitize Your Sink? 

According to Stapf, you should always sanitize your sink after handling raw meat or poultry. "Wiping or rinsing these areas is not enough to kill any bacteria that may have spread around your kitchen while you were preparing your food," says Stapf. 

To sanitize your kitchen sink, Stapf says you should start by filling your sink with warm water. Next, she says to add a small amount of bleach and allow it to sit for at least five minutes before draining. When you're finished, be sure to wipe down the handles and faucet, too.