Monday, 2 February 2009

The Kitchen Sink (More Than You Need to Know)

We have a stainless steel double sink in the scullery area of our kitchen; a deep main sink, and a smaller one next to it. We use the larger sink for pot and dish washing, and fill the smaller sink with bleach or disinfectant water for soaking the dishcloths. This is much more hygienic than using the dishwater to rinse the cloths in when wiping kitchen surfaces, as the dishwater contains a lot of grease from the pots and pans. Grease that sometimes cannot be seen floating, especially when the water is hot and soapy. It is so very tempting to dip the cloths in this prepared sudsy water, but submitting to this urge results in the countertops looking streaky. The grease particles are well behaved; they stay wherever they are spread - until the next wipe.

If you don't have the benefit of a second sink in your kitchen, a plastic bowl, the shape of your sink unit is an ample substitute. There are round and rectangular bowls available to suit the shape of the sink. Kitchen sink bowls are so handy - mobile too. The bowl can be filled with 'bench cleaning water', and can be carried around to each kitchen counter top requiring cleaning, while the sink is left to do what it does best; hold water for the soaking and later washing of dishes, pots and pans. Alternately, the bowl can be used for washing fruit and vegetables.

Many housewives in England used bowls in their kitchen sinks when I was growing up. It was a domestic tradition. If they had a round sink, they had a round bowl to fit neatly in the sink.

My mam still uses a bowl in her kitchen. She claims that if you place cups, saucers and other 'delicates' into the bowl, they wont have to mix with 'tougher' pots and dishes, which may cause them to crack. Items can be stored in the bowl in the same way they can be stored in the dishwasher. This frees up the sink and draining board and thus provides inspiration to tackle any necessary chore involving the kitchen sink.

Mounds of stainless steel, alluminium, pottery, porcelain, plastic and china, not to mention potatoe peel, spinach spines, carrot peel etc. are very off-putting. My personal experience with kitchen sinks has been a learning one. I have 'gleamed' much. As a newly wed I thought that if my sink was clean and shining and all gruesome looking food particles were cleaned off the sink, tap and draining board, that all was hygienically fresh. Not so! Occult microscopic life can still be present and in abundance. What I do now, (and which I have taught my children) is firstly, to thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire sink area. Then, give the base of the tap and water spout a 'towel rub' with the cloth (have you ever seen what comes off of there? It's like that song we used to sing - ".....red and yellow and pink and green, orange and purple and blue.....I can see the crud crumbs, see the slime balls, I wonder, can you, too?") After the rub, I drizzle clean water over this area. Even more crud slithers away - down into the sink. As I watch this, a childhood song comes to mind - and it is as if the goopers are singing the song themselves: "row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily merrily down the drain, as Helen cleans and gleams". Off they go -down the plug hole! And just when I think they've all surrendered, another lost soul sets sail, down to the depths of the grease trap; via the grey water rapids....

After the 'sinking', I like to use my tea towel to dry the taps, spout and sink area so that it shines. Ready for the next shift....

2 comments:

Housewife Savant said...

Please. Nobody commented on this?
It must be You and Me against the world. This is one of your Most Memorable Posts IN MY HEAD.
First a disclaimer; my current sink is old and unsightly. We're in kitchen renovation, but I am a clean sink freak, and this post is like poetry, like the bull slaughter post, without the killing (unless killing GERMS counts.)
I hate a dirty sink. How can you justify cleaning dishes or countertops from a murky sink?
So even my run-down-soon-to-be-replaced-sink is scoured often.

I fear bleach. I'm too stinkin' messy to come away unscathed, so I don't use it daily. Admittedly I'm still a Dirty Girl on the microscopic level, but those invisible germs are swimming in a sea of scalding hot water and other solvents that don't affect my colored tops and tshirts.

My own brand of crazy is that I refill with new dishwater 2 or 3 times. I hate dirty, greasy H2O. It's got to be scalding hot, which is soothing to my arthritic hands as a bonus.

I use a sink basin, similar to the bowl. It protects glass from the unforgiving surface of my thousand-year-old cast iron sink. I'll still use it when I go stainless.

One of the most exciting parts of kitchen reno is selecting a new sink. I'm getting one just like yourn - big and little sides.

I love this post [as a single tear runs down my cheek].
Tell me we're not crazy.

The Machinist's Wife said...

Oh, the joys of selecting new sinks! We had to choose one for the Grand's cottage. Mam loves it! What neither of them use, though, is the plug. It's one of those lift-up, push down fitted contraptions. They take that out and use the old school rubber plug, with a piece of chain attached.

Are we freaks, or what?