How to Clean Bathroom and Kitchen Sink Faucets

Gloved hands cleaning a bathroom sink
Alex Wilson/Photodisc/Getty Images

The amount of gunk my family manages to drip on our faucets is not for the faint of heart. The faucet needs to be cleaned more often than the rest of the sink. This is how to remove all of the grime from your kitchen and bathroom faucets. Tell your family to stay away, at least for long enough to admire your work.

What You Need

  • Cleaning cloths (1 wet, 1 dry)
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Non-abrasive cleaner
  • Old toothbrush

What to Do

  1. Know your faucet's finishIt's a good idea to check the manufacturer's instructions for your faucet's finish. While the most common type of faucet is chrome, there are other types that may need special care instructions.
  2. Try basic cleaningTry the most basic way to clean your faucet first. 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.
  3. Try more intense cleaningIf 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.
  4. Clean around the edgesAn old toothbrush can be a great tool to clean around the edges where the sink and the faucet meet. Use dish soap or plain water to clean the edges. Wipe the faucet dry with a cleaning cloth.
  1. Clean the drain portionThe 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.


  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, what is recommended to clean the faucet by the manufacturer.
  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. This is a matter of personal preference.
  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.