How to clean a bathroom sink – make your basin sparkle again

This is how to clean a bathroom sink whether yours is ceramic, porcelain, copper or if you have a glass basin. Use household detergents, plus vinegar and baking soda for great results

Couples bathroom sink in modern ensuite
(Image credit: Photo by Christian Mackie on Unsplash)

Do you stare at soap scum every time you go to brush your teeth or wash your hands? If the answer is yes, then you'll want to know how to clean a bathroom sink quickly and effectively. Considering all the soap and water that constantly flows through your sink, you’d think it would be eternally clean right? But unfortunately not...

Gunk, cosmetics stains, rust and water marks build up quickly without regular cleaning, but there is no need to despair as you can clean your basin quickly using dish soap, vinegar and baking soda to tackle stains especially. Whether yours is made from porcelain, ceramic, copper or glass, you'll be able to get it looking good as new in the safest way possible to ensure that yours stands the test of time.  Starting with a grimy sink drain and onto the rest...

How to clean a bathroom sink drain

We spoke with Victoria Plumbing about the ultimate way to clean and unblock a sink drain. 'If your bath or sink is slow to drain, then you could have a build-up of dirt, hair or grime slowing the flow of water down. Cleaning a drain can be a dirty and time-consuming chore. TikTok cleaner @kayleightaylor93 showed us how she tackles her blocked bathroom drains: sprinkle bicarbonate of soda around the plug area, pour white vinegar into the plug and leave to rest. Remove using warm water and finish with disinfectant.' But what do the experts say? 'These store cupboard staples are two of the most common natural cleaning products, but they are not as effective as you might think. In fact, the bicarb and vinegar solution doesn’t have the capability to clear clogs and gunk from pipes.' So this might work for a general spruce around the sink area, but not if you're tackling a blockage. ' If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals, you can get a great result pouring boiling water down the drain slowly and waiting to hear the gurgle”.

To clean the bathroom sink plug hole

Start by removing the plug hole or drain cover. The simplest way to do this is to put your finger in hole and lift out or push an old toothbrush through and lift. Give the drain cover a good clean with a toothbrush using either vinegar or a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda.

You can also spray your favorite bathroom cleaner inside the drain and really scrub using the toothbrush to remove mould build up. Replace the cover and clean around the top of the plug hole. If you have stubborn build up try removing it with a toothpick.

Pendant light ideas: Broch. Bathroom with marble-effect tiles halfway up the wall, a round mirror framed either side with bare bulb pendant lights, and a wood-effect flooring

(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

How to clean a ceramic sink

To begin cleaning a ceramic sink scrub away any dirt with a mixture of washing up liquid and warm water, mixed in a bowl. Soak some paper towels in vinegar and use them to line the sink. Leave for half an hour, then remove and rub off with a damp cloth. This will remove any limescale deposits too. 

If there are any remaining problem stains cut a lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice over the problem areas and leave for 30 minutes. Dab with a sponge and rinse away with running water from the tap. Wipe the whole sink over with a clean, wet cloth.

How to clean a porcelain sink

Start by wetting the entire sink, apply liquid soap and use a gentle sponge to clean the bowl. Once clean, white porcelain sinks will quickly show up any stains, and if this is the case, shake a bit of Bar Keeper's Friend powder all over, or use baking soda and a few drops of water, and leave for 10 minutes. Wet a scourer and gently scrub whichever one you are using into the sink. Rinse off well with water and pat dry with a paper towel.

How to clean a copper sink

  1. Wet the bowl with warm water and add a mild dish soap.
  2. Use a soft sponge to clean it and never use any type of scourer as you may scratch it.
  3. Dry the sink thoroughly to prevent green spotting.  
  4. For any stains you can use a little baking soda. Create a paste with a little water and apply this with the soft sponge. Rub it in and rinse well before drying thoroughly again.
  5. You may notice some of the brown part of the copper has come off and you now have that beautiful 'new penny' look once again. Stand back and watch it sparkle.
  6. For more shine, apply a specialist copper sink cleaner or wax every few weeks.

bathroom with white herringbone tiles with rounded corner mirror and freestanding sink


(Image credit: Fired Earth)

How to clean a granite sink

Always use gentle cleaning methods when cleaning granite sinks as they usually have sealants on to protect the natural stone. Soak a sponge sourer with hot water and 2–3 drops of washing up liquid or a you can use a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar.

Gently scrub areas of dirt or grime. Rinse away all soap residue with warm water. Dry with a soft microfibre towel or soft cloth. Apply a few teaspoons of olive oil to a dry cloth and rub all over the sink, leave to sit for one minute. Wipe excess oil away with a clean cloth and buff. The granite should now be shiny and not feel greasy as you wipe your finger over it.

brightly coloured Portuguese inspired tiles in batrhoom with sink and freestanding unit

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

How to clean a glass sink

Glass sinks have become more popular in recent years and their upkeep is not dissimilar from your drinking glasses or windows. Clean glasses sinks with a mixture of washing-up liquid and warm water, using a sponge scourer to tackle any soap scum.

To make it shine, rinse well then spray with vinegar and polish dry with a microfibre cloth or paper towels.

copper bathroom taps with glass top detail

(Image credit: Photo by Krystal Black on Unsplash)

How to clean bathroom taps

The best way to clean taps is by using an old toothbrush and bicarbonate of soda. Dampen the brush with water and sprinkle the bicarb directly onto the bristles. Scrub back and forth over problem areas. 

Leave it to work its magic for 10 to 15 minutes then wash away with warm water and a clean cloth. For any limescale gathering around the base of your tap use lemon juice. Simply cut a lemon in half, squeeze lemon juice directly onto the mark and leave to soak for one hour. Or soak cotton wool pads in lemon juice and wrap them around the relevant parts of the taps, again leave to soak for an hour. Rinse with cold water and wipe clean.

The best ways to keep your bathroom sink clean

  • Re-home beauty tools: Do not leave metal beauty tools (like eyelash curlers, nail clippers or scissors) on the side of the sink. Any standing water will cause them to rust and stain porcelain, enamel or ceramic sinks.
  • Avoid abrasive scourers: Never use steel wool, wire brushes or abrasive sponge pads to clean as they will leave scratches and damage surfaces. 
  • Daily care: Give your sink a quick wipe over with a wet cloth after every use. Be sure to rinse toothpaste and soap off your sink straight away to prevent it from sticking.
  • Tend to rust: WD-40 is great to remove any rust spots. Simply wipe WD-40 on the spot with a cloth and then rinse thoroughly.

Peter Grech transformed his bathroom into a stylish sanctuary, and won our 2018 Real Homes award for best bathroom


(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Our favorite liquid soap to use

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap Original Scent, 19.4 oz, 573ml

Works a treat, every time! View Deal

Shop Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar -1 Gallon Bottle (Pack of 2) with By The Cup Swivel Spoons

A must for natural cleaning around the bathroom and beyond.View Deal

Bathroom sink restored to perfection 👌