7 Things You Should Never Store in Your Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen is the heart of the home. This is where we prepare meals, bake treats, and gather with loved ones. While kitchen cabinets provide plenty of convenient storage, some items don’t belong in them. Improper storage can lead to contamination, attract pests, or create safety hazards.

When organizing your kitchen, it’s important to know what not to store in the cabinets. Here are 7 things you should never put in your kitchen cabinets:


Bread quickly goes stale at room temperature. The humidity inside kitchen cabinets accelerates the staling process. Storing bread in the pantry or a bread box is a better option. The darkness helps retain moisture while allowing air circulation to prevent mold growth.

If you must keep bread in a kitchen cabinet, store it in an airtight plastic bag or container. Change bags frequently and inspect loaves for signs of mold before eating. Freezing extra loaves also prevents waste.


Spices add wonderful flavor to foods. However, their volatile oils break down faster when exposed to heat, moisture, and light. Storing spices in cabinets near appliances like the oven or dishwasher shortens their shelf life.

Keep spices in a cool, dark place in airtight containers. Store them away from heat, light, and moisture. Consider keeping them in a spice rack inside a cupboard or in a dry pantry area. By storing them properly, you’ll get the most flavor from your spices.

Opened Cans of Food

Once opened, cans of food are best kept in the refrigerator. Contents like tuna, tomatoes, beans, and soup can spoil if left at room temperature. The moist environment inside a cabinet accelerates bacteria growth.

Transfer opened canned goods to airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Then refrigerate and use within a few days. This prevents spoilage and reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Date containers so you know when they were opened.

Potatoes and Onions

Potatoes and onions require proper ventilation. Storing them in enclosed cabinets causes them to spoil faster. Onions become moldy, while potatoes may sprout or rot.

Instead, place potatoes and onions in wire or wood baskets in a cool, dry pantry. The air circulation helps extend their shelf life. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from each other since onions release gases that speed potato spoiling.

Heavy Objects

Canned goods, cast iron pans, and other heavy items can damage cabinet shelves over time. The weight puts excessive strain on the shelves, causing them to bend, buckle, or even pull away from the wall.

Store heavy objects on lower shelves or in cabinets close to the floor. This prevents too much weight being placed on upper shelves. Consider installing reinforced shelving rated for heavier weights if needed.

Cleaning Products

Harsh cleaners like bleach, oven cleaners, and drain uncloggers have no place in food storage areas. The fumes can taint nearby edibles, making them unappetizing or unsafe.

Keep cleaning products separated from foodstuffs. Store them in garage cabinets, utility closets, or under sinks in sealed containers. This prevents cross-contamination and avoids accidental poisonings.

Anything Flammable

Flammable products pose a serious fire hazard inside cabinets. This includes oils, cleaning fluids, solvents, and aerosol sprays. Enclosed spaces concentrate fumes and amplify risk.

Always store flammables away from heat and flames. Keep them in a detached shed or garage if possible. Use flame retardant cabinets with ventilation when they must be kept indoors. Follow local fire codes for safe storage.

Key Takeaways on Cabinet Storage

  • Avoid storing bread, spices, open cans, produce, heavy items, cleaners, and flammables in kitchen cabinets.
  • These items are better suited to alternate areas like the pantry, refrigerator, or separate closets.
  • Proper storage prevents contamination, preserves freshness, and avoids safety hazards.
  • Organize cabinets wisely based on items’ requirements like ventilation, cool temperatures, and darkness.

By knowing what not to store in kitchen cabinets, you can maximize their convenience while keeping foods fresher and your family safer. Follow these tips for canny organization that makes the most of your space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you store cleaning supplies in kitchen cabinets?

No, it’s unsafe to store cleaning products alongside food. Chemical fumes and spills can contaminate edibles. Store cleaners separately, in utility closets or garages, away from food preparation and dining areas.

Where is the best place to store onions?

Onions require ample air flow to prevent spoiling. Store them in wire or wood baskets in a cool, dry pantry. Avoid enclosure in cabinets and proximity to potatoes, which ripens faster from gases emitted by onions.

Why shouldn’t you store spices in cabinets?

Spices lose flavor quicker when exposed to heat, light, and humidity inside cabinets. For maximum freshness, keep spices in a cool, dark place in well-sealed containers. Store them away from heat sources like appliances or warm cabinets near the oven.

Can you store potatoes in the pantry?

Yes, the pantry is an ideal spot to store potatoes, provided the area is cool, dark, and well-ventilated. Avoid enclosure in hot, humid cabinets. Light accelerates potato sprouting. A basket in the pantry keeps airflow circulating to prevent spoilage.

How can you keep bread fresher in the kitchen?

Refrain from storing bread in cabinets, where heat and humidity make it stale rapidly. Keep it at room temperature in bags in the pantry or in a bread box. The darkness helps retain moisture while allowing ventilation. For maximum freshness, store bread in the refrigerator or freezer.


Organizing kitchen cabinets by carefully considering items’ storage needs helps ensure food safety. Keep questionable items like chemicals, produce, and spices out of warm enclosed cabinets to prevent contamination and extend shelf life. Arrange cabinets thoughtfully by weight limits and fire hazards as well. Following proper guidelines keeps your family nourished and kitchen running smoothly.