How to Clean and Care for a Porcelain Farmhouse Sink

posted by Andrea | 01/10/2020

how to clean and care for a farmhouse sink

A white porcelain farmhouse sink was on my shortlist of non-negotiables when we renovated our kitchen back in 2012 (yes, it’s really been that long!)

I was willing to compromise on a lot in the name of time, money, or practicality — but I wouldn’t budge when it came to the sink. 

I didn’t care how much it might cost or how long it might delay our renovation, I was going to have a big, beautiful, white porcelain farmhouse sink in my kitchen, no matter what! 

Now, several years later, I can honestly say I’ve never regretted that decision once! 

farmhouse sink with purple iris

white farmhouse sink in kitchen

.

This sink is one of my favorite things in our kitchen… and wow is it big! 

The extra-large, extra-deep size of our farmhouse sink makes it an ideal location for baby and toddler baths, handwashing awkward fabric items, and doing a massive amount of dishes in record time. (We can fit THREE 9″x13″ pans laying flat with plenty of room for other dishes as well… or 24 mason jars!)

taking a bath in the farmhouse kitchen sink

bathtime in the farmhouse kitchen sink

washing our stroller in the farmhouse sink

washing mason jars in the farmhouse sink in our kitchen

a kitchen full of clean dishes

.

It looks fantastic, it functions exactly the way we hoped it would, and it’s super practical too!

For example, since it’s an under-mounted sink, we can simply wipe crumbs and junk from the counter right into the sink and we never need to clean around yucky grout or try to get crumbs out of the crack between the sink and the counter.

undermount farmhouse sink

.

I know a farmhouse sink won’t work in every kitchen, but it’s amazing how nice they look in many kitchens (even non-farmhouse kitchens).

If you’re in the market for a new kitchen sink, I would highly recommend pricing out a farmhouse sink. They aren’t as expensive as you might think.

Since I get lots of questions and inquiries about our sink, I thought I’d share a bit more information — now that I’ve been using a farmhouse sink on a daily basis for several years!

NOTE: this post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy

washing dishes in a farmhouse sink

.

Where to buy a farmhouse sink:

Farmhouse sinks are so popular these days, it’s much easier to find them now than it was 8 years ago when I was hunting high and low for a good deal! They are at most home improvement stores, IKEA, and even on Amazon!

We purchased our sink from Signature Hardware and were VERY happy with the customer service, free shipping, free returns, and the huge variety of quality options available on their website (they currently sell over 300 different farmhouse sinks!)

We purchased the 30″ white porcelain (now called fireclay) farmhouse sink with the smooth apron. The only difference is that our sink has an off-set drain — but it doesn’t look like that’s an option right now. 

It was right around $600 for our sink… BUT, when it arrived, it had a small chip on the “front” (it’s reversible but I wanted the drain to be on the left side). 

Signature Hardware immediately shipped us a new sink at no extra cost and said we could keep the old sink too. So, I sold the old sink on Craigslist for $300 (to someone who used it as a right-drain) and happily enjoyed getting our sink for half off! 

farmhouse sink from signature hardware  

How to clean a porcelain farmhouse sink:

This is the #1 question I get about our sink… and honestly, it’s SO easy!

Unlike stainless steel sinks that have 10,000 watermarks and fingerprints, a porcelain/fireclay sink doesn’t show any of that.

However, since it’s such a big sink and since it’s very rectangular, food particles tend to get caught in the corners of the sink.

We simply use the sprayer on our faucet to wash everything down the drain whenever we’re cleaning up the kitchen.

NOTE: I highly recommend buying a Moen kitchen faucet. They totally stand behind their products and just recently replaced our 8-year-old kitchen faucet that has sprung a small leek.

We didn’t have any paperwork or our receipt and they shipped us a new (more expensive) model — no questions asked! I was SHOCKED! 

As for cleaning our sink, I use a simple mix of vinegar and water or a little dish soap to clean it on a daily basis. 

I use Soft Scrub to make it shiny white again if it starts getting a little dingy looking or if it gets any scratches (which honestly doesn’t happen all that often). 

Either way, it only takes a few minutes to have our sink looking like new again.

 

How to protect a porcelain sink from scratches and black marks:

Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty hard to “scratch” porcelain (or fireclay) sinks. It’s more likely that you’ll get grey/black marks on the bottom from pans or stainless steel utensils.

These might look like scratches, but they are easily removed with Soft Scrub, a sponge, and a little elbow grease.

When we wash dishes (especially anything glass or metal) we protect the bottom of our sink with a rubber mat

sink mat

You can buy smaller mats for 2-basin sinks at almost any home goods store; however, the larger farmhouse sink mats are extremely expensive (I saw some for $89!!!)

Of course, my frugal genes just wouldn’t let me spend that much for a sink mat, so I purchased this clear “pebble” bathtub mat instead, and cut it down to fit the bottom of our sink.

It works like a charm and cost less than $10! 

.

How to wash dishes with only one sink basin:

This is the #2 question I get from SO many of you! 

And just so you know, you CAN buy farmhouse sinks with 2 basins. So if this is a concern for you, just go with a 2-basin sink versus a 1 basin. 

I specifically wanted a 1-basin farmhouse sink though (for the large capacity I mentioned above). 

If you’re used to 2 basins, it will be a change, but honestly, the only difference is how we dry our dishes. 

We wash them in the sink, rinse them over the sink, and lay them on the counter to the side of the sink to dry. We use these microfiber mats to lay the dishes on —  they work really well.

Sometimes, if there are only a few dishes to wash, we use a plastic tub that fits in half the sink.

That way, we save some water and the whole process goes faster. However, most of the time, we fill the sink with dishes so it’s not worth using the plastic tub.

We store the tub (and our sink mat, dish soap, and other cleaners) in the cabinet under the sink (read more about how we organize the area under our sink). 

tub of kitchen cleaning products

cleaning products stored under the kitchen sink

There you have it — how to clean and care for a porcelain farmhouse kitchen sink. 

In my opinion, it’s no more work than any other kitchen sink.

The aesthetics are what sold me on the sink, but the practicality and functionality are seriously a game-changer for how I use my kitchen. 

Our farmhouse sink is so amazing — I doubt I’d ever choose any other type of kitchen sink!

Do you have a farmhouse sink or a porcelain sink? If so, what are your best tips to clean and care for it?

how to clean and care for a farmhouse sink

356Shares

Filed under: HomeCleaningOur Farmhouse

Leave a comment

70 comments

  1. Meghan

    01/10/2020

    I think this sink would be perfect for me, but we have really “bad” water – despite a softener with iron-out salt, our toilets and bathtubs are stained (it’s been 10 years). I’m concerned that our water would ruin this sink. Do any readers have water like this and a white kitchen sink? We are thinking of switching from the well to a cistern with delivered city water. Maybe I’ll get a sink like this when we take that step.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I’d probably wait until you install the cistern to buy the farmhouse sink — it would be a shame to ruin such a pretty sink!

    [Reply]

  2. Ann

    01/10/2020

    We rented a VRBO with an inset sink and I noticed a ton of crud, mildew, etc on the lip of the sink that was under the counter. I couldn’t see it when standing but when I bent over it was really gross looking. It looks like maybe your counter is closer to the sink than theirs? How do you solve this porblem?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, I clean under there too — it would get pretty nasty if I didn’t!

    I have a little scrub brush I use (like a very course toothbrush) to get under that lip area. Works like a charm!

    [Reply]

  3. SHAUGHN TUPPER

    07/27/2018

    TO DEEP CLEAN AND BRING YOUR CLAY FIRED SINK BACK TO NEW…. HIGH-END CAR WAX… GENTLY CLEAN WITH WARM AND SOAPY WATER. RINSE, DRY WITH MICROFIBER CLOTH. COAT WITH CAR WAX. LET DRY TO A DULL COATING AND WAX OFF IN A CIRCULAR MOTION WITH A CLEAN DRY MICROFIBER CLOTH.

    [Reply]

  4. Mark

    06/21/2017

    I am trying to decide which sink to get with our remodel. Black Elkay composite, corian white or stainless. Ugh, I’m going crazy! I love the black but I’m afraid my dark corian will make it too dark in the kitchen. I want under mount and i know its permanent so its a tough decision!

    [Reply]

  5. Kari

    04/18/2017

    Andrea, what is the width of your farmhouse sink? 36 or 40″

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Our sink is only 30″ and it feels huge! I can’t even imagine 40″!

    [Reply]

  6. leslie

    04/02/2017

    Absolutely never use vinegar on a porcelain sink or fixture. Acids (and abrasives) mar and scratch the surface – permanently – making the surface more susceptible to stains that can only be removed by more abrasives. Your nice shiny porcelain sink will be dull and yellowed.

    [Reply]

  7. sara z

    12/03/2016

    I’m worried about our black cast iron skillets scratching up the porcelain in a sink like the one above. Does anyone have experience with this?

    [Reply]

  8. Dominick Neri

    09/24/2016

    You will find that porcelain stove top cleaner works well for these sinks. Soft scrub is a bit abrasive and over time will erode the finish off of your porcelain sink. There is also a metal rack with rubber feet available for almost all cast iron or fireclay sinks.

    [Reply]

  9. Pitte Sam

    01/21/2016

    Can we apply these tips for steel sink, it’s easier to clean a porcelain sink than a steel one indeed. I love these sink also, hope to have one in my kitchen.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I honestly don’t know as I’ve never had a stainless sink. Sorry!

    [Reply]

  10. Undermount Bathroom Sinks | Thehomeprovide,Top

    01/08/2016

    […] Our Farmhouse Sink – Tips to Clean and Care for Porcelain Sinks […]

  11. teresa

    06/17/2015

    What brand is your sink. I’m doing a kitchen remodel and want to put a white apron front in.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    It’s from Signature Hardware — but they don’t sell the exact sink anymore.

    [Reply]

  12. Allison Cupid

    05/05/2015

    Hi! Just wondering how your sink is holding up a few years later?? I’m seriously wanting one but getting so many bad reviews from people!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    just great– but I really wouldn’t expect anything less from something so pricy. I’ve really never heard anything bad from a high-quality sink though.

    [Reply]

  13. John Hopf

    01/15/2015

    I have two Kohler Farmhouse Apron sinks = one has a chip and the other. just three years old, has a spider-web shaped discoloration in the bottom of the sinl. I have been unable to get a response from Kohler. Both are under mounts and I would like to repair them Any suggesyions??

    [Reply]

  14. Tina Bone

    12/11/2014

    I want to share my green method:Once the sink is empty, sprinkle baking soda liberally inside of it. Then squeeze a little lemon juice onto the baking soda and use a scrub brush to work it together into kind of a paste. Just use the scrub brush to work the baking soda/lemon juice mixture all around and rinse with hot water.

    [Reply]

  15. Caree

    10/21/2014

    Hi there! If you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions about your sink- what is the width(“) of you sink? And does it really make a difference functionally if the drain is offcenter or center? I was originally set on an off-center drain (though I’m not sure why) but now I am trying to find one, and ones with off-center drains are harder to find and more expensive. Thoughts?

    [Reply]

  16. Amy

    03/10/2014

    This is a question for Nancy (living in Puerto Rico)…where did you find even stainless steel apron front sinks here on the island??? I’ve been looking everywhere for our kitchen remodel and am about to give up hope! Help! Thank you for any assistance!
    Amy

    [Reply]

  17. Katie

    03/03/2014

    Hi! Just wondering if you had the exact name of the sink you purchased? And, I have to say I love your kitchen–has the exact look I am going for! Did you do your floors yourself or were they there when you purchased the house? If you did put them in, can you tell me what the name and color of the wood is? Thanks!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Katie. The company no longer carries the exact sink we purchased — but there should be links within this post to Signature Hardware (which is where we purchased our sink from)

    And for the hardwood floors, you can read ALL about those here: https://andreadekker.com/our-reclaimed-wood-floors/

    [Reply]

  18. Nancy

    02/18/2014

    hi. i just installed my farmhouse this week and I love it! i also purchased it at Signature Hardware. my only pain was that since I live in Puerto Rico, it cost me an arm and a leg to bring it here, oh but it was worth it!! I think I’m the only one here who has one. They’re not sold in Puerto Rico, only the stainless steel farm sinks, which is what everyone is buying. Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for your wonderful tips! i’m going to BB&Beyond this afternoon to purchase a tub mat. what a great idea! the only sink mat I found is much smaller and uncomfortable.

    keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    bummer on the shipping — but I’m SURE you’ll love your sink as much as we love ours! Happy dish washing 🙂

    [Reply]

  19. Constance Doolittle

    02/16/2014

    Love your sink and faucet!!! Please share the brand/model of your pull-out spray sink faucet.
    Thank you,
    Connie

    [Reply]

  20. Anabell

    09/11/2013

    I do keep mine out all the time and it is more discolored near the drain so I’m sure it’s staining from food. I tried the dishwasher, which used to work beautifully for the little mat from my old sink, but this one is SO big that it had to go in somewhat rolled up, so it didn’t work so well. I’ll try the washing machine next … good idea! My mat cost $8 at Home goods so I bought two cause I was so excited to find something that was big enough and didn’t cost an arm and a leg

    [Reply]

  21. Anabell

    09/09/2013

    How do you keep your mat clean? I purchased a clear bath math (pebble-style) for my 36″ Kohler Whitehaven farmhouse sink. After only two weeks, it’s already turning color…reddish, mostly. I can’t use bleach on it due to allergies. Any recommendations?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm… I’ve had absolutely no issue keeping our mat clean — but we ONLY put it in our sink when we wash dishes. The rest of the time, we keep it stored under our sink with our drying mats. Do you keep yours in the sink all the time? If so, it probably absorbs some of the stains from any food that gets washed down the sink. That’s the only thing I can think of though.

    I suppose you could also try putting it in your dishwasher or washing machine? Of course, my mat cost less than $10 so if worse comes to worse, you could always just buy another one 🙂

    [Reply]

  22. Peter Visima

    07/21/2013

    We are just finishing a kitchen renovation that included the installation of a 30-inch wide Franke farmhouse sink. Thank you so much for the tip on the bathroom mat that I just ordered from Amazon.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, no problem — the bathtub mat is a HUGE cost savings over the “special” farmhouse sink mats and it works fabulously!

    [Reply]

  23. Rebecca Rynsoever

    07/09/2013

    A few years ago we were thinking about building a house and I came across a farmhouse sink at a warehouse sale for $200. I snatched it up and then we HAD to build a house because we had a sink! We say we bought a sink and built a house around it. :o) Mine is the double-sink variety but it’s still big enough for all of our large items. My only beef with farms sinks is you have to chase food bits around the sink with the sprayer to get them to drain because of the squareness of it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I would have totally built a house around an awesome farm sink too! and I know what you mean about it being a little harder to get the food particles out of the corners — but that’s a tiny trade-off for having a nice, big farmhouse sink as the focal of our kitchen!

    [Reply]

  24. Heather

    06/19/2013

    Could you please tell me which size and sink you have? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  25. Lauren {Rustic Honey}

    02/25/2013

    Thank you for the tips! Soft scrub worked like a charm on some stains in my farmhouse sink! I actually used Comet and A LOT of elbow grease to get out some black marks left from our pots and pans. I am using a plastic tub to wash dishes as well now. I find that I do not neglect the dirty dishes because it piles up more quickly in a small tub! Great ideas and thank you for sharing!

    [Reply]

  26. kristie a.

    02/18/2013

    your kitchen is beautiful! do you know the name of your granite color?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    THanks Kristie,
    The Granite is “New Venetian Gold”. Also, if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you can read about where we purchased everything for our kitchen!

    [Reply]

  27. Alyssa

    02/05/2013

    I love your braided rug!

    [Reply]

  28. Ellen

    01/26/2013

    I don’t have my porcelain sink anymore, but I scrubbed the tough stains with baking soda, since I’m a little leery of bleach. Just straight baking soda and a scrubby sponge, and it got out most scuffs and especially those rust rings from the cast iron skillets. (And if you’ve never left a cast iron skillet in the sink too long, well, I’m not sure I want to talk to you anymore. 😉 )

    It is lovely, btw. A fresh kitchen makes such a big difference.

    [Reply]

  29. Kate

    01/23/2013

    Andrea, what is that green thing behind your faucet and that branchy-looking item next to it?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kate, the “green thing” is just a mini cutting board. I have 2 of them (green and yellow) and we use them both every day, so I leave them sitting out all the time.
    The “branchy-looking item” is a fake potted fern 🙂

    [Reply]

  30. Ashley

    01/22/2013

    I love your sink and your kitchen. I was wanting to know what type of fern you have growing by your sink? I also want to say how much i appreciate all the information you give to us and I love the fact that i can count on you to always have something new posted. I have read your blog for so long that i feel like i have seen all of it yet i can still spend time reading through all of your stuff! So keep ’em coming, you’re awesome!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Ashley — it’s actually a fake fern that I “put together” using fern pieces from a local craft store and a cool old pot. SOOOO glad you thought it looked real though 🙂

    [Reply]

  31. Stephanie

    01/22/2013

    I used to have a giant porcelain sink in my last house. I miss it so much!

    [Reply]

  32. Maggie

    01/22/2013

    I don’t know if my last comment worked. I asked wether you rinse the suds off your dishes or do they go straight from the soapy water to drain? We are planning a kitchen this year and I like the usefulness of a large sink but I feel weird leaving soap residue on my dishes.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes of course Maggie, we definitely rinse our dishes… I guess I’m not sure why you would think we didn’t rinse them just because we have a large sink?? Maybe I’m missing something, but we wash our dishes just like we would in any sink — the only difference is we dry them on the counter instead of in the other side of the sink.

    [Reply]

    Maggie Reply:

    When I’ve only had one sink in the past, it was a small one and I couldn’t rinse them as I went. I just don’t know how to rinse them with one sink. Do you wash them all then refill the sink and rinse? Or do you rinse them under the tap as you go? Sorry if it is obvious, but I grew up with a double sink and the dishes went from the wash side, to the rinse side, to the drain board. I don’t know how to cope with a single sink 🙂

    [Reply]

    Amie C Reply:

    We have two sinks and we don’t dry our dishes in the second side, we rinse them there. I was confused too, but I’m guessing you just run the water to rinse them over the sink where you washed them and it adds new water to the sink?

    [Reply]

  33. Debby

    01/22/2013

    I just stumbled onto your site when I googled organizing files. I love reading your posts. I am addicted. I have a farmhouse sink in the box awaiting a kitchen renovation that will hopefully take place this summer/fall. I have lived in my home for 23 years and while the kitchen has great bones, it really needs some updating. I will use your hints for keeping it clean. I can’t wait until the day I can throw that stainless steel double sink to the curb!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Way to plan ahead and get your sink already! You’ll LOVE it once you have it installed!!

    [Reply]

  34. Deni

    01/22/2013

    I recently got a porcelain sink for our kitchen and I found a product that works wonders on gray and black marks. Its called “Barkeeper’s Friend”, its been around since 1882 and is fabulous. It’s powder in a can like Ajax. I had to order it online but I think Lowes carries it. It’s also cheap! I also use a small tub for my cast iron pan, just in case.

    [Reply]

    Candice H Reply:

    Barkeeper’s Friend is what I was going to recommend! When we put a porcelain pedestal sink in our bathroom within the first week my husband put a big grey scratch across the front with his ring 🙁 I couldn’t remove it with anything until I tried the Barkeeper’s Friend!

    [Reply]

  35. Heart and Haven

    01/22/2013

    I just got a new farmhouse sink for my kitchen! I found the Kohler Whitehaven (it has a unique design to fit “standard” cabinet frames without having to modify the doors below – woohoo!).

    Great idea on the tubmat cut down to size. Where do you store the plastic tub & mat when not using?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Your sink sounds lovely! And to answer you question, we store the tub mat, the drying mats, our soap, rubber gloves, and sponges right inside the plastic tub we sometimes use for washing small loads of dishes. Then we keep that tub fully of “supplies” in the cabinet under the sink.

    [Reply]

    Heart and Haven Reply:

    I’ve been using a 12 qt. dishpan I found at Target (for $1.97, woohoo!) and a tub mat (cut to size) for a week now…and it’s been working perfectly!

    Although I don’t normally wash dishes by hand…I still keep the plastic tub filled with soapy water to put in dirty dishes accumulated throughout the day from my kiddos. It’s also great to help remove food particles so I don’t have to pre-scrub before loading the dishwasher, and keeps the farmhouse sink so much cleaner.

    The tub mat works great to protect against the pots & pans (especially our large stock pot)….and works great to help give baths to a squirmy 10 month old without slip-sliding around 🙂

    My husband is the cook in the house, but is super messy. I LOVE having a clean kitchen, and I was surprised just how much these tips helped to minimize work for keeping the sink clean. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  36. Melissa

    01/22/2013

    We have an almond cast iron/porcelain sink also. I really really want to do an undermount next time, the space between the sink and back wall is disgusting. I use the small magic eraser to clean ours as well, it works so well removing all the small discolorations and particles. I felt like a contest winner when I tried it and saw how awesome it worked 🙂

    [Reply]

  37. Kaisa

    01/22/2013

    Totally off-topic: every time I read a blog post or an article about dishes, I stop for a second and wonder “why do they dry the dishes by hand/on the counter”. Of course I *know* that Finland is more or less the only place on Earth with dish draining closets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dish_draining_closet the picture features “lovely” style from the 70s!) but it’s such an every-day thing (especially in a small apartment without a dishwasher!) that I just forget its Finnish-ness.

    But I have to say, having that lovely window by your sink is a very good alternative to the draining closet 😉

    [Reply]

  38. Ramona

    01/22/2013

    I also have a white porcelain sink and the magic eraser works great on the black marks. I buy the different sized magic erasers and the small one will last about a year for cleaning the sink. It works wonderfully 🙂

    [Reply]

  39. Rebecca

    01/22/2013

    Beautiful Sink! I hadn’t really thought about one of those sinks, but after seeing how big it is, that is on ly “wish list” for my house one day. I really don’t like the divided sinks, it makes it really hard to clean all my large pots and pans. the sink we have now (rented house) is small on one side and big on the other. I gripe under my breath sometimes when I clean dishes! It’s not user friendly, I have a feeling it was designed by a man who never cleaned dishes. anyway, thanks for sharing the pics, it’s a great kitchen!

    [Reply]

  40. Kimberley

    01/22/2013

    Love your sink! I, too, dream of one day having one of these types of sinks in my future kitchen. We currently have stainless steel and all I have to say is “yuck”. It is so hard to clean and even after cleaning it (I am a little OCD when it comes to cleaning it), I feel like it’s still dirty. Not to mention, it’s just so small!

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    [Reply]