Household items that have ‘no place’ under a kitchen or bathroom sink

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Lower kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity units may seem like the ideal place to stack up household items, though cleaning experts have warned against keeping certain products in these accessible places. The conditions of such storage spots – which are oftentimes damp and dark – can create a nasty breeding ground for mould and mildew which can ruin certain materials. And it’s not just harmful spores to watch out for, with rust and waterlogging also an issue when water leaks occur.


According to Jennifer Rodriguez, chief hygiene officer at Pro Housekeepers, essential items like bin bags and cleaning supplies will go unharmed beneath your kitchen sink, but the same can’t be said for some popular cooking appliances.

Electrics and tools

The hygiene expert explained that slow cookers, pressure cookers, and blenders are better off elsewhere if you’ve made a habit of keeping them near household plumbing. She added: “They could get damaged by any leaks coming from the sink.”

Even if you are reassured that your plumbing is leak-free, a builder at Prime Custom Builders warned that moisture in general “can be a risk” to electronic devices.

They noted that dampness “may rust vital components over time”, and that tools – even if non-powered, are also “vulnerable to moisture”, as it can “cause rust and corrosion over time”.

Paper Products

Kitchen rolls, paper bags and napkins are easy to access quickly if kept under your sink, though you run the same risk as seen with electronics. Jennifer noted that keeping these items underneath a sink puts them “in danger of being destroyed by moisture”.

If you have a pantry, linen closet, or even a shelf in the garage, you should opt to keep your extra paper goods there instead.

An expert at Prime Custom Builders added: “Even if your sink pipes don’t have a leak, the area still builds up more moisture than others. Over time, items like paper towels may become damp over time, which can, in turn, lead to mould and bacteria growth.

“And items like composting bags can also be prematurely worn down by excessive moisture.”

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Vegetables

Whether you’re short on space or it’s just habit, storing ingredients like onions and potatoes under the sink is one way to keep them out of sight. But according to Jennifer, it is “no place for food items”.

Instead, these perishables, along with all others should be kept somewhere dry, dark, and cool.

An expert at tap retailer, Fahren, noted that food safety is something to consider as well as the possibility of ending up with spoiled produce.

They said: “If you’re considering food storage options, never use the space under the kitchen sink to house food and perishables kept under the sink can be contaminated by potentially harmful chemicals, germs and moisture due to temperature fluctuations.”

Linens

Towels, washcloths, and extra bathmats are susceptible to mildew while being used, and even more so if stored in a damp space.

When stored under your sink – a dark, enclosed area, unpleasant fungus growth can ensue. If you have the room, it’s best to keep these items neatly folded in an airing cupboard or wardrobe instead.

Makeup

As with linens, storing makeup under your bathroom sink isn’t technically unsafe, but ultimately, it isn’t the best place for your products.

Professional organiser Ben Soreff noted that a dry, cool place away from moisture and heat is a better option, and you can save space for your hair supplies instead. 

He said: “Typically, awkward and large items work well under the sink. Make sure these essentials are easily accessible by storing them in bins or baskets (preferably with lids to protect them from any leaks).”

Chemicals and flammables

Cleaning products like bleach are often kept underneath the sink because of the ease of access, but that ease of access can be a double-edged sword if you have pets or children in the house. If there is a possibility that harmful chemicals can be easily opened, you should consider moving products out of reach.

An expert at Prime Custom Builders said: “On a similar note, any product labelled as “flammable” are generally not a good candidate for sink storage either. This includes things like aerosols, varnishes, and rubbing alcohol.

“These are better off left in a garage or other space with good ventilation.”

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