The Best $8 I’ve Ever Spent on My Kitchen Sink

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my kitchen sink over the last year. This under-appreciated spot is a reliable workhorse, facing scalding hot water, knives, tossed-in pots and pans, dirty plates, and my kids’ toy-washing experiments without complaint. And in the last year I’ve really started to baby my sink — first after learning about how filthy it gets, and then after trying out the life-changing ritual of the nightly sink clean espoused by pros like the Fly Lady and Becky Rapunchick.

But one of the best things I’ve done for my sink has nothing to do with a new cleaning ritual and everything to do with an $8 gadget.

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to the OXO Sink Strainer. It’s a sink strainer that sits inside the kitchen sink’s drain to stop any food from getting into the pipes. But the magic of this strainer is that, unlike most strainers, which are made of rigid metal, this one’s cup is made from flexible silicone. At the time, this was a novelty, although imitators have since hit the market.

When I moved into a new home last year — one with a double sink — the first thing I bought was a second sink strainer (and you bet the original traveled with me into my new home!).

Why This Sink Strainer Is the Best

I cook and wash up after three meals a day here. And especially because I have two young kids, that cleanup involves a fair amount of food debris. The strainer catches all that stuff, so my drain doesn’t clog.

But the beauty of the flexible strainer is that it’s easy to get the debris out of there: You pop the strainer out, invert it over your trash can, then push the silicone from the back. The strainer flips inside-out and all those disgusting food bits go flying into the trash can. None of that scooping you have to do with rigid metal strainers, which I’ve done before and definitely never want to do again.

You only rarely have to tap the strainer to loosen stuck-on bits, and there’s never any of that digging. For anyone who’s ever tried to dig lumps of rice (or spinach, or shredded chicken) out of a metal strainer, you know what I’m talking about. (All those things that were delicious when you put them on the table are disgusting once they’ve been washed off your plate and congealed in the strainer.)

So thank you, sink strainer, for improving the time I spend at my sink. I hope more people find you useful.

Do you have a strainer you love? What’s the best money you’ve ever spent around your sink area?