Caring For Your Vanity - Tips & Tricks to Keep It Pristine & Beautiful
By the Vevano Home Team
December 17, 2020
Maintaining your bathroom vanity is a simple way to optimize its lifespan while keeping it beautiful and functional. When it comes to caring for your bathroom vanity, there are a couple of aspects to consider: the sink, countertop, and vanity cabinets. Each of these features will require a different strategy to maintain, based on the material it’s made of.
To break it down on how to care for the different features of your vanity more specifically, let’s start from the top and work our way down…
Caring for Your Vanity Sink
Ideally, your bathroom sink would be easy to clean and maintain over time as it’s likely used multiple times a day. The material that makes up your sink will determine how to properly care for it..
Porcelain / Vitreous China
Porcelain is a beautiful standard for vanity sinks. Some popular porcelain materials include enamel, iron coating, and 100 percent porcelain (known as Vitreous China, which is most commonly seen in bathroom sinks). The nonporous material is quite durable and resistant to mildew and bacteria, though it can be prone to scratches, chips, or stains with age.
To care for a porcelain sink, a gentle day-to-day clean could involve a soft cloth or soft sponge with a mild cleanser diluted with some water. Rinse away the soapy residue and dry the surface with a soft dry material. To prevent scratches and chips, avoid dropping heavy items into your vanity sink. If rinsing dyes out (or otherwise using other strongly colored materials), keep the water running to keep the colors from absorbing into the porcelain. Also, avoid using abrasive cleaners and harsh scrubbing tools to maintain your porcelain sink. Acids can also etch the surface. Scouring powders should be avoided on porcelain sinks.
To address discoloration or stains on porcelain, overall, a little hydrogen peroxide (or other liquid oxygen bleach alternative) is effective at diminishing the appearance of scratches and stains. White vinegar (undiluted) gently scrubbed onto porcelain is another alternative for stains. As a last resort, bleach can be used on white porcelain only by first setting a layer of paper towels onto the stained section of the sink before spraying the bleach onto the paper towels. Let it set for about 30 minutes. In any of these cases, rinse the sink of the bleach or liquid oxygen bleach alternative entirely before drying it with a soft cloth.
Glass is both a durable and versatile sink material since it can be sculpted into different colors, shapes, and patterns. It’s grown in popularity for vanity sinks for this reason. Glass sinks don’t stain or scratch, and they are also nonporous and easy to disinfect. The general rule with glass is to not allow cleansers to set on the material for very long as that can ruin the glass. An ammonia-free liquid soap paired with water and a soft sponge suffices for day-to-day cleaning of your glass sink. No abrasive cleaners, harsh chemicals, or abrasive pads should be used on glass surfaces; these materials can dull and damage glass sinks. For a deeper clean to catch lime scale or other deposits, a glass cleaner should be used and immediately rinsed off with warm water before being pat dry. After every use or cleaning, microfiber cloths are ideal to wipe and clean glass sinks to prevent water spots and clouding.
Copper is an especially beautiful sink material, and its patina — the ability to shift in color tone with age — helps contribute to copper’s rustic appeal. Many copper sinks come with a seal to protect it from the usual dirt and grime, however, acid, abrasive chemicals, some cosmetics (like toothpaste, shaving cream, and makeup), and even your body’s natural oils can strip the patina from a copper sink. The key is to remove such substances and residue from the sink as soon as possible. Rinse the sink thoroughly after every use. Like other sink materials a mild soap, water, and a soft cloth or sponge can maintain the luster and patina of a copper sink. If needed or desired, for a more consistent appearance, you can apply a copper-specific protective coat to the sink. Copper sinks are not built for cleaners to be left on them for extended periods of time. Any soap must be rinsed off after application.
Lava Rock / Stone
Lava rock is a specialty sink material, and like other stone materials, requires a little more conscientious care. Water, a mild detergent, and a soft sponge should be used for a stone sink’s daily cleaning. Avoid acid-based or abrasive scrubs or cleansers. Lava rock and other stone sinks should also be dried with a soft dry cloth after use to prevent water spots. Do not pour hair dye or fruit juice (or other deeply colored fluid) into a stone sink, as it could be absorbed and cause a stain. Sodium/salt can also damage stone sinks. A seal should be applied, if not already supplied by the manufacturer, to keep the lava rock from absorbing unwanted fluids or bacteria. A seal may need to be re-applied at various lifetime intervals depending on the strength of the sealant.
Petrified wood sinks make a gorgeous statement piece in a bathroom as each one is unique. Since they come polished with a sealant, they are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Petrified wood sinks require an annual sealing to keep the material protected. A granite or marble cleaner will work as the sealant will be similar to those used on stone materials. More regular cleaning can be done with a mild soap, water, and a soft cloth or sponge. Similarly, a stone wax will also help maintain petrified wood sinks by preventing hard water deposits and stains. Avoid using harsh, abrasive, or acidic household cleaning items and cleansers on your petrified wood sink.
Caring for Your Faucet
Faucets and water levers come in a couple of different materials and finishes. Generally, a mild cleanser with water that you’ll likely use on your sink will do the job. A microfiber cloth to dry will leave the sheen where it belongs for metallic finishes and keep matte finishes clear from fingerprints.
Fun fact: A popular vanity faucet finish at the moment is the oil-rubbed bronze finish, as it doesn’t show fingerprints and water spots, unlike other metallic finishes, and it provides a touch of style to the vanity sink.
Keep in mind, the style of your sink might determine how easy it is to clean including how easy it is to clean your countertop. Where a drop-in sink may provide a rim that needs to be cleaned around, an undermount sink will provide a more seamless wipe down process where you can wipe the countertop spills and contents straight into the sink. Vessel sinks will also require some maneuvering around to reach all the sides for proper cleaning of both the sink and the counter. Much like undermounts, integrated sinks also feature a seamless transition from vanity countertop to sink for a beautiful look and easy overall cleanup. (Integrated sinks should follow the care and maintenance of the overall material of the countertop and sink.)
Caring for Your Vanity Countertop
Your vanity countertop will see some action, so it needs regular attention as well. Again, the material of the countertop may determine how to properly clean it.
Quartz (& Other Engineered Stone)
An engineered quartz countertop is an ideal choice for a bathroom vanity as it is resistant to mold, mildew, and bacteria. Quartz also requires less maintenance than other stone countertop varieties as it is non-porous and doesn’t require regular sealing. For regular cleaning, warm water on a damp washrag should work for daily wipe downs. A regular sweep of a little non-abrasive cleaner and water will help keep engineered stone countertops clean and shiny. Be sure to wipe up spills as soon as possible to prevent any discoloring, though glass cleaner or a rubber putty knife can help with harder-to-remove spots. To remove stains, isopropyl alcohol on a wet rag is a solution, as long as you wipe it off after. Avoid putting hot items, like your curling iron, directly on a quartz or engineered stone countertop as it can burn or damage the counter.
While fairly trendy, the beautiful natural stone marble countertops require slightly more upkeep than other stone countertops. Unlike engineered quartz, marble is a more porous surface so it requires regular sealing about every 3-6 months, depending on the strength and type of the sealant. Day-to-day cleaning should include mild soap diluted with water, or a marble-specific cleanser. Anything that could stain should also be kept away from marble countertops if at all possible, if not wiped up immediately if spilled. Avoid using abrasive or harsh chemicals in cleansers (even vinegar) as they can break down the seal and further cause etching and staining.To remove stains, a paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide should be left on to dry. Marble polishing powder can remove scratches and etching, though remember to reseal the marble after polishing it.
For further details on how to care for stone countertops in particular, we have a resource guide available here.
Laminate countertops are a versatile, affordable, and hardy option for your bathroom vanity countertop. Laminate counters can be cleaned with disinfecting wipes, vinegar, or regular soapy water without any issues. Wipe up spills immediately to prevent them from staining the laminate. Acidic cleansers should be avoided, along with scouring pads and other harsh scrubbers like steel wool. Also, avoid using too much water around the seams of the laminate as water can get trapped and warp the material. To remove stains, a combination of baking soda and a mild household cleanser applied to the stain for five minutes will help to remove it. Rinse with a wet cloth gently, and use a toothbrush to gently remove the stain, but don’t scrub as laminate can be easily ruined with scratches.
Caring for Your Vanity Cabinet
This is the base cabinet of your vanity that likely holds your toiletries and other care or cleaning items. As the foundation for your bathroom vanity, it’s style will affect the overall appearance of your bathroom. You can have a freestanding vanity or one that attaches to the wall, so choose based on your needs.
While vanity cabinets don’t need to be cleaned every day, a weekly dust or wipe down keeps them looking sharp.
Laminate vanity cabinets are a more affordable option to wood vanities, and they are also easier to clean. They may look like wood cabinets, but it’s really a laminate layer bonded to a particle board. Regular dusting with a microfiber cloth can help maintain a laminate cabinet’s appearance. While natural or commercial cleaning products can be used, gentle soap and water work just as well to clean laminate vanities. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners and keep excessive water off the material. After cleaning, wipe the cabinet down to dry with a soft cloth. If stained, baking soda mixed with water can create a paste to remove the stain by gently brushing it on the stain with a soft bristled brush. Then, wipe the paste off with a clean damp cloth.
In the End… A Lovely & Functional Vanity
As you see, the three primary features of your bathroom vanity-- the sink, countertop, and cabinet--will require specific attention to maintain their beauty and their functionality. If you need help picking out a vanity for your bathroom, check out our five tips to finding your perfect vanity here.
To sum up, here are a few rules of thumb for cleaning your vanity:
- Aim for the gentlest soap possible, like a mild liquid dish detergent (non-abrasive, non-acidic, and avoid bleach unless necessary).
- Avoid using harsh scrubbers such as steel wool or scouring pads--instead use soft sponges and cloths for cleansing, wiping, and drying.
- Wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
With this guide, we hope that this will help you to properly clean and maintain your bathroom vanity for years to come.