For most people, dealing with a dirty kitchen sink strainer is the worst part of doing the dishes. No matter how much you scrape and clean your dishes before putting them in the sink, food residue will still find its way into the strainer and make your job more difficult.

Well, you can say goodbye to those troubles! In the sections that follow, you will find some of the best tips and tricks to cleaning a dirty sink strainer. From toothbrushes and soaking to using the good old dishwasher, there is an option for everyone! Read on, and take notes!

Cleaning Your Kitchen Sink Strainer: Useful Tips

First Things First

Before you actually begin cleaning your strainer, you should dump out any food residue inside of it. It is best to do this by tapping the strainer against the inside walls of your trash can. That will help get most of the bigger chunks of the food off and won’t require that you touch any of them.

Once you make sure that most of the food is gone from the strainer, you can proceed with any of the following tricks. Before choosing one, you should consider the material that your strainer is made of, how often you usually wash it, and what your preferred mode is.

1. Use a Toothbrush

You have probably heard about people using old toothbrushes for minor cleaning jobs around the house. Besides being useful for cleaning your bathroom, toothbrushes can also help you get some persistent food particles out of your kitchen sink strainer.

This cleaning technique is quite simple. You put some dish soap on the strainer or on the toothbrush, and you get to scrubbing. Getting the strainer to look spotless again should not take more than a minute or two. The hairs on the toothbrush will be able to penetrate all the tiny holes in the strainer and remove all the food bits.

After you’ve scrubbed all the food out, you just have to wash the soap away with some warm water. Put the strainer back in its place, and it will be ready for use once again.

2. Use Warm Water and Soap

If your strainer is all rusty and the food on it has hardened, don’t fret! With this technique, you won’t have to buy a new one every time you forget to clean it for a few days. All you have to do is fill a bowl or any other similar dish with warm water. Then, sprinkle in some dish soap, and put in your strainer.

Leave the strainer to soak for ten to fifteen minutes if your strainer isn’t too dirty. But if the food has hardened and won’t come out no matter how hard you scrub at it, you can leave the strainer in the water overnight as well. 

If you’re scared that the tiny food particles you couldn’t shake off won’t come out anyway, give the water a swirl from time to time. Doing so will ensure that even the tiniest bits come out, making sure your strainer is ready for step two.

Once the soaking time is up, take out the strainer. Run it through some warm water to wash away any soap and food particles, and then take a look at it. If there are any food scraps left, use a toothbrush to get them out. The water and soap will have made everything soft, so getting all the food out will not be a problem.

Once everything is done, wash the strainer once more in warm water. Then, simply put it back in its place.

3. Use Your Dishwasher

For most people, the worst part about washing kitchen sink strainers is touching the food that accumulates in them. If you are one of those people, then this technique will be perfect for you!

After throwing out all the food particles into your trash can, your next move is to pop the strainer into your dishwasher. Then, let the machine do all the work. Once it’s done, simply put the squeaky clean strainer back in.

Before you proceed with this technique, you have to consider the material of your strainer. Namely, those made of stainless steel or plastic will be just fine going into the dishwasher. However, if you have a mesh strainer, it might be best to clean it by hand.

The mesh part of the strainer will most likely get damaged in the dishwasher. What’s more, the nature of the material will cause the food to stick to the strainer even more stubbornly during washing. So, it is best to use the toothbrush trick with all mesh strainers.

How Often Should You Clean Your Strainer?

Generally speaking, it is best to clean your kitchen sink strainer at least two times a week. If you do so, you will ensure that the food particles don’t dry, which might make your strainer impossible to wash.

However, if you live alone and you don’t have that many dishes every day, you can do it once a week as well. As long as you make sure to at least empty the bigger food chunks every day, you can get away with not cleaning the entire strainer that often.

You may also like to read: How to Polish a Stainless Steel Sink

To Sum Up

Sink strainers are some of the most important kitchen tools you should have. They keep your drain safe by catching any tiny food bits that would otherwise clog it. Still, as useful as they are, kitchen sink strainers are a nightmare to clean, mostly because of how dirty they can get.

Luckily, there are quite a few simple ways to clean your strainer without losing too much time. For example, you can use a toothbrush to get all the food particles out or soak the strainer in warm water overnight. Alternatively, you can just pop the strainer into your dishwasher and let the machine do your job for you.

Hopefully, this little guide helps you find the best strainer cleaning method for you. Good luck, and happy cleaning!

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