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How to Clean Porcelain Sinks for a Spotless Shine

Porcelain sink in a bathroom.

Porcelain sinks spoil us. They’re so attractive and low-maintenance that they are easy to forget, even when we use them several times every day. 

We throw a ton of abuse at our bathroom and kitchen sinks without much thought, simply expecting them to manage. Your weekly cleaning service will take over the duties around cleaning your porcelain sinks, but when you’re responsible for all of the tidying chores around the house, it isn’t hard to fall out of step with a regular care plan.

Before long, you’ll notice the neglect as your porcelain fades from dazzling to drab, with collections of stains replacing a once-faultless finish. At that point, it becomes even harder to restore that sparkling shine.

But all is not lost when you get the random stubborn stain. A few clever solutions can make removal surprisingly simple. If you need help cleaning your porcelain sinks, we will show you how to bring that like-new luster back to your home.

How to Clean Porcelain Sinks

The best way to get rid of stains on porcelain sinks is to keep them from setting in the first place. Make it a habit to clean your porcelain, or include it in your scheduled maid service. It needs cleaning at least once a week, but it’s even better to give it a daily wipedown.

If you stay on top of your cleaning schedule, it shouldn’t take more than mild soap and warm water to scrub away soap scum, toothpaste, stuck-on food, and other types of grime. You can use a soft sponge or gentle scrubber to protect the smooth glaze finish from damage.

Porcelain has a glass-like coat that is susceptible to scratches. Never use hard abrasives like steel wool to scour porcelain, and be careful with anything acidic, as it can dull the finish. If you use an acidic cleaner, make sure to always rinse your sink thoroughly after use.

Methods for Removing Porcelain Stains

Wiping down porcelain with soap and water will prevent most stains, but there is always a chance of leftover spotting and discoloration after the initial cleaning. After clearing any residue, grime, and dirt off the surface, try these safe and simple methods to remove difficult stains from your porcelain sink.

Baking Soda, Lemon, and Vinegar: The All-Natural Approach

Baking soda creates a soft scrub that can tackle minor stains in a sink without marring the porcelain. Follow these steps to buff away stains with baking soda:

  1. Use a moist sponge to make the inside of the sink slightly damp
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over the stain until it is completely covered
  3. Use a sponge or cloth to gently scrub in small circular motions until the stains are gone
  4. Rinse away the remaining baking soda after removing the stains

​If baking soda isn’t quite getting it done, you can bump the stain-fighting power up a notch with lemon. Rub lemon wedges all over the inside of the sink, concentrating on the stained sections. Let the lemon sit for at least an hour, and then rinse it away to reveal a bright bleached surface.

Vinegar and baking soda are a versatile, efficient cleaning team for several spaces around the house, and kitchen and bathroom sinks are no exception. If you don’t have lemon, follow your baking soda application with an undiluted vinegar spray to get rid of hard water marks and other difficult stains. Scrub down the sink and wash the vinegar off with plenty of water.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Oxygen Bleach: All-Around Porcelain Stain Fighters

You can enhance your baking soda cleanser by adding hydrogen peroxide to the sponge before wiping it down. Hydrogen peroxide, the active component of oxygen bleach, gives baking soda an added punch to clear any yellow stains. 

For antique or colored porcelain, hydrogen peroxide and oxygen bleach are the most effective household cleaners for tough stains. Line your sink with paper towels, then spray them with hydrogen peroxide until they are thoroughly soaked and clinging to the basin. Let them sit for at least half an hour before removing them and rinsing the sink.

Chlorine Bleach: The Best Stain Remover for White Porcelain

When all else fails, you might have to reach for the hard stuff. Chlorine bleach can remove those tough stains if your all-natural strategy isn’t working. 

Only use bleach on white porcelain because it can damage the color and finish of vintage or colored porcelain. Apply bleach the same way as hydrogen peroxide, coating paper towels and letting them sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing the sink.

If you decide to use bleach, it needs to be on a completely clean sink. Any vinegar or chemical residue can spark a dangerous reaction with bleach. You could expose yourself to toxic, and potentially lethal, gases when you mix bleach with any other cleaner.

The Best Porcelain Cleaning Products

Household cleaning staples can get the job done in most cases, but when you need specialized performance, you can find some amazing cleaners online. 

When you’re dealing with tough metal or rust stains, try naval jelly if lemon and vinegar aren’t working. It’s a heavy-duty rust dissolver mainly used for metal, but it’s practical on porcelain if you’re careful. 

Rub a thin layer of naval jelly over the sink and watch it dissolve the stain. As soon as the stain disappears, rinse it all off to avoid damaging the porcelain.

Another reliable solution for most porcelain stains is Bar Keeper’s Friend, a gentle yet strong multi-purpose cleaner. Along with porcelain, you can use it on ceramic, stainless steel, brass, and many other metal surfaces. 

If you have deep set-in stains, this cleaner is an effective solution. Apply a small dab to the stained areas and use a non-abrasive sponge to scrub them out. As with many other chemical cleaners, you’ll need to wash it out thoroughly immediately after using it to avoid harming the porcelain.

Maintain Your Porcelain with Weekly Cleaning Service

Porcelain is strong and stunning, but it demands regular attention if you want to keep your kitchen and bathroom looking immaculate. When you stay disciplined and follow these simple steps for removing tough stains, cleaning your porcelain sink becomes fast, painless, and super satisfying.

When you have a family, job, and household to look after, it’s still easy for a cleaning schedule to fall by the wayside. If you’re struggling to maintain that consistent shine around the house, Anita’s has the solution to fit your schedule and cleaning needs. Schedule a cleaning service today, and let us help make life a little easier.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors