How To Clean Your Porcelain Sink

Wondering how to clean a porcelain sink? With porcelain becoming more of a rarity these days, many people want to learn how to best care for it, especially if it’s a part of your bathroom – whether it’s your toilet, bathtub, or sink. You want to ensure you are using the best possible cleaners, ones that will not scratch or damage the unique, beautiful, and somewhat fragile porcelain surface. Porcelain is not fragile because of its consistency – porcelain was originally made to be very long-lasting and strong; it’s just that in a lot of cases these days, porcelain is old and potentially even antique – simply because it’s not used as much anymore, especially not in bathrooms. It’s been traded in for cheaper, metallic or more synthetic materials – for example, enamel laid out over cast iron - that also tend to be easier to clean than expensive porcelain. If you find yourself in a new home with a porcelain sink, consider yourself lucky. These days, it’s a novelty indeed, and you will want to care for it wisely.

To best clean your porcelain, it will first help to know exactly what it is and where it comes from. Porcelain is a type of ceramic that is created by heating raw materials like kaolin in a kiln at extremely high temperatures. Although porcelain originated in China, and was often even referred to as “china”, along with other finely-made ceramics from that country, the name “porcelain” actually comes from the Italian word “porcellana”, meaning “cowrie shell”. This is because it closely resembles this translucent shell when it is made well. Although we tend to take our sinks for granted these days, they have not always been so common. We are actually so fortunate, when we think of it – to have hot and cold running water, a basin to hold it in, and a drain to empty it out when we are finished. Not so long ago, all of this had to be done by hand – people had to fetch water from the well or the river, heat it on the fire, pour it into basins for washing, and then pour it outside when they were done.

The first ceramic sinks started making an appearance in North America in the 1920s, and became very popular because of their attractive appearance. Basically, they were white on the inside and brown on the outside with a glaze to make them shiny, as well as to protect their surfaces. They were first used in commercial kitchens because they were much heavier than the typical sinks available at that time. Gradually, they evolved into more refined porcelain sinks, were made to fit kitchens and bathrooms, and the rest, of course, is history.

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