4 Things You Should Never Have in Your Kitchen, According to Home Maintenance Experts

updated Oct 15, 2020
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The kitchen is one of the most popular spaces in the home. It makes sense when you think about it—that’s where the snacks are. But snacks are only one part of the equation. Thanks to today’s popular open-concept floor plans, people are spending more time hanging out—and even working—in their kitchens.

Because it gets so much use, a lot of stuff seems to end up in your kitchen. There are pots and pans and dishes, of course, but many kitchens are also where you’ll find stacks of unopened mail, kids’ backpacks, jackets, and all manner of things that generally have no business being there.

Though there’s nothing wrong with having most of this stuff in your kitchen (besides the fact that it can make the room cluttered), there are some items and materials that can present a safety hazard, a major maintenance problem, or just a big old mess.

Here are four things that you should keep out of the kitchen, according to maintenance experts.

Individual spice containers

Sure, artisanal spice containers can add a cute design element to your kitchen, provided they’re clean and neatly arranged. The reality, however, is that most of us are not living in the pages of a magazine.

Unless you’re preparing gourmet meals most nights of the week, you probably don’t use the vast majority of your spices on a daily basis, says Jonathan Faccone of New Jersey-based Halo Homebuyers. That means the containers end up collecting dust. Even worse, chances are you rarely clean underneath those jars, making them a prime spot for crumbs and other food debris to build up. Gross.

Take stock of your spice stash, and consider paring it down to just the essentials for a cleaner and more streamlined look.

Malfunctioning appliances

When your coffee maker is on the fritz or the toaster oven throws out a spark, you may put off repairing those appliances or leave the malfunctioning item on your countertop until you get around to buying a new one. Although it seems harmless, you could end up with a much bigger problem than a busted gadget.

A faulty appliance can send surges of electricity into your home’s electrical system, which can result in everything from wear and tear on other appliances to electrical fires.

When in doubt, it’s best to unplug and remove the malfunctioning appliance until it’s fully repaired or replace it with a new one.

Harsh chemicals

Some messes call for heavy-duty cleaning agents that contain strong chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia. You should absolutely go to town disinfecting your kitchen after a sickness has made the rounds in your household, but you shouldn’t necessarily store these cleaners in your kitchen, says Mark Scott of Mark IV Builders, Inc

Bleach is not recommended for use on a variety of materials that may be in your kitchen, such as metals, wood surfaces, and granite. And you should never, ever mix bleach with other chemicals, especially ammonia, which could cause dangerous fumes and even an explosion.

Scott also cautions that these chemicals should always be kept out of reach of children and pets—yet another reason the kitchen is not an ideal storage spot. Instead, stash these cleaners, as well as other flammable products, such as thinners, rubbing alcohol, aerosol cans, solvents, linseed, or flaxseed oils,  in your garage or basement, says Scott. If you don’t have either of those, a pantry or closet—preferably a good distance from the oven—will do.

Porous materials

Marble looks beautiful, but it’s not the most forgiving of stains, says Rebecca Blacker of New York City-based Warburg Realty. Because spills are inevitable, she recommends sticking with nonporous stones for your kitchen countertops.

Built-in wood chopping blocks or real butcher block counters are also problematic, as they can absorb and breed bacteria each time a knife scratches the surface, adds Gerard Splendore of Warburg Realty.