I Swear By This Kitchen Sink Cleaning Trick My Mom Taught Me as a Kid

published May 21, 2024
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Credit: Elissa Crowe

I actually enjoy cleaning. True story! And, so many of my cleaning and lifestyle habits and routines come from what my mother taught me about attention to detail over the years. Her teachings are the reason I leave my bedding undone while I get ready in the morning (so it can air out) and why I must open the blinds first thing in the morning to let the light in. (I simply can’t not do this.) Another one of her steadfast rules is that you never ever use the rag that you use for cleaning the toilet to do any single other thing, which is why I always start my bathroom-cleaning armed with at least two rags.

Growing up, like most other kids, I found my mom’s insistence that things be done and kept a certain way vaguely annoying and often disruptive of my far more important teenage things to do. Then I got to college and my stellar cleaning skills stood out, which led me to appreciate her teachings more. At the time, I had just enjoyed a meal at the home of a close family friend. After volunteering to wash the dishes after dinner, I asked for a powdered cleanser (like Comet) to scrub out the sink afterward and truly finish the job. That’s the exact moment when I realized just how impressive the cleaning techniques my mom had passed on to me were. You see, our family friend, who was my mom’s age, looked at me in disbelief. She was impressed and asked who taught me that trick. That moment jolted me, and it was the first time I became aware of and thankful for the effort my mom put in to try to instill us with the character and work ethic she viewed as important, no matter the task. 

I’m not perfect, obviously, and I still scramble to clean my house from top to bottom when my mother comes to visit. (Not because she’ll judge me but because a super clean home is a way that I can welcome her and show her love.) My mom taught me little cleaning habits that can ultimately make a big difference, and that kitchen sink trick — scrubbing it nightly with a powdered cleanser after the dishes are done —  was one of them. This technique, in my experience, really helps to banish tough stains and grimes before they can set in. My mother’s friend would become the first of many people to compliment me on using this technique as part of my kitchen cleaning routine.

As a child who dutifully pulled out the Comet after I washed the dishes every night, I thought this was simply what one did to clean up the kitchen, not realizing that I was giving it an extra level of TLC. It’s probably the same thing my children think now as I pass on the tradition to them too. I hope so. I’ve kept up many of the traditions my mother passed down to me growing up by also teaching them. (And I hope they get the same compliments on their attention to detail in their future homes one day, too.)

What techniques passed down to you are your now passing on to your children?

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: I Swear By This Kitchen Sink Cleaning Trick My Mom Taught Me as a Kid