Flat bottom sinks look great both in pictures and in person. The large, single basin design brings a modern, clean design to your kitchen, it’s really quite appealing in person.
There is a big, big problem with these sinks though.
This issue drastically increases the level of maintenance of these sinks, requires much more cleaning, and basically means the sink causes a lot more work than standard sink would.
The Problem With Flat Bottom Sinks
If you haven’t guessed it yet, flat bottom sinks do not drain well. The flat bottom is missing the pitch that funnels water down to the drain. This means that the sinks are constantly wet inside, they dry slowly when not in use causing them to get gross build-up on them, and also crumbs and other food debris just sits in the bottom and never makes its way to the drain collector.
Flat bottom sinks aren’t perfectly flat of course, they do have a slight pitch to them, Some even have small channels where water should funnel to, causing a higher flow stream and pulling debris down with it.
The problem is that the pitch often isn’t enough. There is some pitch, and some water flows towards the drain, but the rate at which the water flows isn’t enough to drag fruit scraps, bread crumbs, lemon pits, or anything substantive with it. Even things like dirt from vegetables and coffee grounds will not wash away with the water, they will rather be spread in a thin film from the corner of the sink to the drain, with a fraction of it being washed down the drain.
This means you need to speed a lot of time and effort washing out the corners of your sink. You also need to detach the head of your faucet, turn on shower mode, and push the debris into the drain strainer. If your faucet doesn’t detach then you have to do the same job with a wet sponge. It’s time-consuming and it wastes a lot of water, which is particularly troubling in a time when we should all be conserving water.
This flat bottom sink phenomenon isn’t even that uncommon. It happens with many farmhouse sinks (apron front sinks) which have a single basin, double width, and quite flat bottoms. This also happens frequently with modern, design-y stainless steel sinks.
I have a beautiful, and very expensive, 36″ stainless steel sink from Vigo Industries that requires constant cleaning. If you don’t clean it all the time — as in multiple times a day — not only will lots of food junk accumulate in the sink, but the slow drying of the water in the sink means the bottom of the basin will get slick, almost slimy.
You can use a sink grid so you don’t need to touch the bottom of the sink, but there going to be so much debris under there, that I would not recommend this.
I have to admit I haven’t been able to come up with much of a solution to this flat sink problem, but there are things you can do to help the situation.
The best fix I can think of is to install a garbage disposal. This way you can just use a sponge or scrub brush to push all your debris down to the bottom of the drain, blend it up, and wash it away. This won’t really fix the sink so much as make the stuff that collects the sink a non-issue.
You can also install a kitchen sink faucet with an extendable spray head on it. With this you can pull out the head and spray water with full force into those corners and other dirty areas. You also use the sprayed water to push scraps into the drain catch. You will surely waste some water this way, which is unfortunate, so if you want to avoid this just save your cleaning water in a bowl and use that to flush the sink at the end of your cleaning session.
I’ve also taken to keeping a small bowl in the sink which I put all the scraps in so that they don’t clog the drain catch during big cleaning. This is, admittedly, a bit gross, but it keeps the dishwashing moving along and prevents constant (and drippy!) trips to the garbage can with the drain catch.
Past these, I don’t have a lot of ideas to off! A flat sink looks amazing, but it’s a maintenance headache and leads to constant cleaning. I’d recommend against them to anyone who will listen.