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7 Things You Should Never Store Under Your Kitchen Sink

sink storage

The cabinet under the kitchen sink is one of my go-to storage spots in my kitchen. Its convenience lies in its central location, though on the other hand, I’m not too crazy about how disorganized it tends to get down there (and not to mention the looming threat of water damage should any leaks occurs in the plumbing!)

So in order to keep myself organized and prevent unnecessary damage, I did some research to determine once and for all what I should not keep under my sink. I’ll be sharing these under-the-sink no-no’s with you today, along with a few recommendations of items that you should keep under the kitchen sink! :-)

7 Things You Shouldn’t Store Under The Kitchen Sink

sink storage

1. Harsh Chemicals

Everyday cleaners are a-okay to keep under your sink, but harsher chemicals like bleach? Not so much. For safety’s sake, store any harsh or corrosive formulas like bleach, drain cleaner, etc., in more secure location to away from curious kids and pets.

sink storage

2. Tools

Storing wrenches, drills, and other tools under the sink might keep them close at hand, but storing rust-prone tools directly under a water source is just asking for trouble! Any sort of leak or drip could quickly cause rusting, so it’s just not worth the risk! Instead, store your tools in covered toolbox in a dry location, like your garage or a closet.

sink storage

3. Backup Items

The area under your sink offers valuable storage space, but it isn’t the best place to pack with bulk buys from your most recent Costco run. Keep the area functional and free of clutter by keeping smaller amounts of your supplies handy, and store the rest of your “backups” in your pantry, a closet, or out in the garage.

(Need more advice about storing bulk buys? Check out this post!)

sink storage

4. Pet Food And Treats

Can you imagine the emotional devastation both you and your pet would feel if you discovered their favorite treats had gone moldy? That’s a very real possibility if you store their treats or food under the sink, where it’s often humid and a frequent site of leaks.

If you want to continue storing pet food or treats under the sink, keep them well protected by transferring them from bags and boxes to airtight containers. Or you could simply move your pet’s food and treats to a dryer storage location, like a closet or the bottom of your pantry.

sink storage

5. Anything Flammable

It should go without saying, but flammable items don’t belong in the kitchen! This includes products like solvents, thinners, polishes, paints, certain cleaners, and anything else that has could potentially burst into flames.

This is particularly important if you’ve been keeping any oily rags under your sink, like those used to apply furniture polish or varnishes containing linseed or flaxseed oil. Flammable items and oily rags should be safely stored away in the garage or a closet.

sink storage

6. Things You Don’t Use

Because of its central location, the cupboard under the kitchen sink is a great place to store things you frequently need and use. This could include sponges and scrubbers, garbage bags, extra dish soap, and so on.

So take an inventory of the items under your sink, and if there are any bottles filled with mystery solutions you forgot to label, or pairs of cleaning gloves that don’t actually fit, find someone who could use them or get rid of them.

sink storage

7. Anything That Shouldn’t Get Wet

While it isn’t necessary inevitable that the pipes under your sink will start to drip or spring a leak at some point, it’s common enough that it would be silly not to consider the possibility! So unless you’re alright with possibly having to throw out a bunch of soggy paper towels or paper bags, or a bunch of corroded batteries, store items that shouldn’t get wet elsewhere.

sink storage

4 Things You SHOULD Store Under The Kitchen Sink

1. Waterproof Mat

Water damage wouldn’t just affect the items you store under your sink—it could also do a number on the cabinet itself! Prevent warped or water-logged wood by lining the bottom of the cabinet under your sink with a waterproof mat.

2. Everyday Cleaners

Most of your go-to kitchen cleaning products (mine would include cleaning vinegar, Bar Keeper’s Friend, and Dawn dish soap among others) can stay stashed under the sink so they’re easy to reach when you need them. (Another obvious choice: dishwashing detergent!)

3. Cleaning Tools

Sponges, brushes, and scrubbers are fine to keep under the sink, although I advise keeping them in a covered storage bin. This will help prevent them from soaking up moisture from leaks or humidity and possibly even getting moldy. (Oh, and be sure to throw your sponges out if they start to smell.)

4. Fire Extinguisher

Every kitchen needs a functioning fire extinguisher somewhere in the vicinity, and the cupboard under your sink is a great centralized location for it. You never know when you might need one, and it’s better to be safe than sorry!

What do you keep under your kitchen sink?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Glad for the post. When we were trying to adopt in California, our case worker had us clear out ALL chemicals and cleaning product from under the sink or our house would not be approved. For years now those things are in an upper cupboard or other room. What’s more is that in humid areas we found cleaning powders to clump up under the sink , paper bags became moist, and plastic bags would sometimes get tiny water droplets because of condensation from pipes.

  • Rather than a water proof mat, I use a boot tray. In the event of a leak, it helps contain the water and I’ve also had a dish washing detergent bottle leak. I also use a tray on the wire shelving over the washer and dryer.

  • I’ve kept dog kibble in a sturdy sealed container for 14 years, all in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. In all that time, I’ve never had one instance of “mold”, simply for the container being under the sink. Maybe the problem is you have a leaky sink? Mine is dry as a bone. It’s as crispy as the dog kibble (I’m also wondering how “moldy” it can get when you use it up quickly; if you ever had a dog, you’d know how fast they go through food!)

    • There was a dry pet food recall, in 12/2020, due to moldy toxins in food. It can be a serious problem. Glad that storage method is working for you. I often buy my dog’s highly recommended, expensive food at a location that sells it for less. Because of the demand, sometimes I have to buy the larger sized bags that weigh more than my dog does! That wouldn’t even fit under my kitchen sink and it takes quite a while to go through a bag.

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