How to Clean Bathroom and Kitchen Sink Faucets

Bathroom faucet next to dish soap and vinegar bottles and folded towels with toothbrush on top

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Bathroom faucets in a busy household can become stained and grimy within just a couple of days of cleaning. Toothpaste, soap, hair, and general grime can quickly leave your faucet in need of a serious cleaning. It's not hard to correctly clean your faucet, but it is helpful to have the right tools and techniques to do the job right.


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What You Need

  • Cleaning cloths (1 wet, 1 dry)
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Non-abrasive cleaner
  • Old toothbrush
Materials and tools to clean bathroom and kitchen sink faucets

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Steps for Cleaning Your Faucet

Before getting started, it's a good idea to check the manufacturer's instructions for your faucet's finish. While the most common type of faucet is tough, easy-to-clean chrome, other types may need special care instructions.

  1. Start with Basic Cleaning

    Plain water or mild dish soap and water can take care of the cleaning needs for most faucet types. Drying the faucet with a dry cleaning cloth after cleaning will allow you buff the shine of the faucet. This will also help prevent spotting on the faucet finish.

    White cleaning cloth wiping kitchen faucet with mild dish soap bottle to the right

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  2. Use Vinegar for Stubborn Dirt

    If water or dish soap weren't enough to remove the gunk from your faucet, the next step is white vinegar. A mix of half vinegar and half water applied with a cleaning cloth can remove water spots and fingerprints. If you aren't sure of your faucet's finish or want to be extra careful, it's a good idea to test the vinegar/water in a hidden area to make sure the finish isn't damaged.

    Blue cleaning cloth rubbing white vinegar on kitchen faucet next to vinegar bottle

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  3. Clean Around the Edges

    Wiping the surface of your faucet is a good start, but it won't get the job done. Most faucets collect dirt around the edges where the sink and the faucet meet. Use dish soap or plain water to clean the edges, using an old toothbrush as your cleaning tool. Wipe the faucet dry with a cleaning cloth.

    Toothbrush scrubbing edges of kitchen sink faucet closeup

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  4. Clean the Drain Area of the Sink

    The drain part of a faucet is often the part that needs the most cleaning. Try using a nonabrasive cleaner like Softscrub or Barkeeper's Friend to clean this portion of the faucet. It's a good idea to test any cleaner on a hidden portion of the faucet to check for damage to the finish.

    Nonabrasive cleaner surrounding sink faucet drain closeup

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee


    1. Many companies offer a lifetime warranty on newer faucets that have been installed. These warranties may be voided by using caustic drain cleaners or other corrosive cleansers on the faucets. It's a good idea to know if you have a warranty; if you do, be sure to avoid cleaning supplies or drain cleaners that might void the warranty.
    2. Some faucets have a special kind of finish that is called a living finish. This faucet is meant to age and develop a patina. If you clean the faucet with anything more than water, you'll take off part or all of the patina. If you like the patina, be careful to avoid scraping it off.
    3. Scrub sponges or abrasive brushes are not a good idea for most finishes. When in doubt, test in a hidden area, first.
    4. A mild glass and surface cleaner may be another option to clean your faucet.
    5. To make your chrome faucets gleam and shine, try putting a dab of baby oil on a cotton ball. Polish the faucet with the baby oil. You'll see your reflection smiling back at you.