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Everything about the Kitchen Sink

Posted July 5

Kitchen Sink in the Work Triangle

Let’s give a shout-out to the “work triangle.” Developed in the 1940s, the classic model for ergonomic kitchen design recommends arranging 3 basic components – stove, sink, refrigerator – in a triangle shape, featuring (wait for it …) the kitchen sink at its apex. This is super convenient whenever you’re bringing food from the fridge to be washed, adding water to cooking pans, draining pots of hot pasta, etc.

Mounts

Kitchen sinks are usually attached to the counter in one of 3 basic ways.

1. Drop-in (AKA top-mount), the most common in the US, involves positioning the sink, complete with overlapping lip, after the countertop is already in place. Easy (and inexpensive!) to install or replace, as well as practical with any countertop material, a sink mounted this way does have one disadvantage: cleanup of the counter area is more difficult.

2. Undermount sinks are catching on. Although installation is pricier (about double the cost of a drop-in) and an undermount sink can be used only with waterproof countertops like granite or quartz, the cleaning convenience and sleek line more than make up for it.

3. Apron front, or farmhouse, sinks, a big part of the country kitchen look, have over the last decade evolved to include high-tech materials and designs.

Materials

Choose from a wide variety of kitchen sink materials. Acrylic, the least expensive, holds up quite well in general; just don’t try to set down a hot pot. Stainless steel is a high performer, with excellent resistance to heat, stains, and impact; it can be noisy, though. Enameled steel or cast iron is sturdy but somewhat susceptible to stains and impact. Solid surface (such as the brand name Corian) sinks are attractive and durable; however, they’re on the pricy side. Another high-end option, fireclay is a type of ceramic, made extra-durable through firing at extremely high temperatures; its drawback is the limited number of colors available.

Bowls

Kitchen sinks come with single, double, or even triple bowls. Which you choose will depend on your individual needs and how much counter space you have. For a compact kitchen, a single deep bowl might be the most practical arrangement, but in a good-sized room, you could install a sink with one large bowl for soaking pots and another, smaller one, for rinsing vegetables or pouring yourself a glass of water, for example. Owners of triple sinks often reserve one of the bowls for their garbage disposal, freeing up the others for drinking water and cleaning.

Stainless Steel Sink as Deodorizer

Here’s an interesting – and potentially useful -- bit of kitchen sink trivia for you: Rubbing your fingers on your stainless steel sink can help neutralize unpleasant odors left on your hands after cooking prep. Apparently, the reason is that sulfur compounds from strong-scented garlic, onions, or fish bind with the steel. You can achieve the same effect with a steel knife or even a special stainless “soap” bar, but using your sink is much handier.

Another Use for Your Kitchen Sink

Of course, there is another non-standard use for a kitchen sink that has nonetheless withstood the test of time -- that is, bathing babies or small dogs. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it: less strain on your back and a smaller possibility that you’ll end up getting soaked. Do make sure to clean the sink thoroughly before and after (if your baby is very young or you’re especially squeamish, use a drop-in infant tub) and move the faucet safely out of reach. A fine mesh sink strainer will help keep pet hair from clogging your drain.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

As you probably know, there’s an old saying, “everything but the kitchen sink,” meaning “just about everything imaginable.” (Google the phrase and you'll find recipes for cookies packed with an assortment of goodies and ads for ice cream shops that will garnish your sundae with toppings from sauce to nuts.) But what you probably didn’t know is that an alternate version of the cliché exists: “everything but the kitchen stove.” Don’t know about you, but somehow we find “everything but the kitchen sink” more expressive.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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