9 things you should never store under the kitchen sink

The cabinets underneath a kitchen sink with a door open showing cleaning products
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are several areas around the home we’re often guilty of leaving clutter, and one such space is under the kitchen sink. Anything and everything can find its way here, from cleaning supplies, to vegetables, to spare parts and things you just can’t bring yourself to throw away. 

But, there are actually several items you shouldn’t keep under here, not just for practical reasons, but from a safety perspective as well.

That’s right, this cupboard can’t be filled with just any old items. And it can’t be used as a place to hoard either — here are 9 things you’re hoarding, which you should throw away right now. So, if you haven’t investigated this space for a while, perhaps you should take the time. Here are 9 things you should never store under the kitchen sink. 

When was the last time you cleared out your shed as well? Here are 7 things you should never store in the shed — but probably are.  

1. Small appliances 

A handheld vacuum cleaner being used on a sofa

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You might raise an eyebrow at this one, but people can get in the habit of storing appliances under the kitchen sink. This is mainly due to its convenience and easy access. Handheld vacuum cleaners can end up here, and kitchen countertop appliances can make an appearance as well, such as the best blenders and best food processors

However, you should avoid storing anything electronic under here. As this space is situated directly beneath a sink, pipes are naturally a given, and should one of these spring a leak, it can cause irreparable damage to any nearby electronics. 

Young children can easily find their way into this cupboard as well, so appliances with sharp blades should never be stored here. 

2. Kitchen towels

Someone tearing a kitchen towel

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Speaking of leaks, you will want to steer clear of items which can easily take on water damage as well. One such household product would be kitchen towels. 

This is often stored under the sink because it’s not exactly attractive on display, but we need access to it regularly. However, it will ruin if there’s any contact with water, so keep it elsewhere or use a nifty dispenser instead, such as the OXO Good Grips SimplyTear Paper Towel Holder ($25.95, Amazon).

Paper products should be kept out of this space in general — that means no paper bags and no items with cardboard packaging. Don’t store your instruction manuals in here either for this reason.  

3. Chemical cleaners 

Cleaners stored under a kitchen sink

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As we mentioned earlier, young children can easily access the cupboard under the kitchen sink. Even curious pets can find their way in here. So it’s essential that nothing hazardous can be found, and that includes chemical cleaners. 

We often store cleaning products under the kitchen sink — they’re quick to access for our weekly cleaning routine. But, you must break this habit if you’ve got young children or pets running around. 

Chemical cleaners such as bleach, drain unblocker and even basic window cleaner contain toxic substances which can be life threatening if ingested. Lock these items safely away instead in a dry, cool space and keep out of reach of young children and pets. Even baking soda and distilled white vinegar can be dangerous if enough is ingested, so keep all cleaning products out of here.  

4. Dishwasher detergent

A dishwasher tablet in the dispenser of a dishwasher

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With your dishwasher being next door, it’s all too easy to store your dishwasher detergent under the kitchen sink. Don’t do this though. Not only will it be vulnerable to any leaks, it poses a hazard to any young children exploring this space. And with pods often appearing colorful, they can be very attractive to young eyes. 

Store dishwasher detergent in a safe space out of reach of children. Keep it with your laundry detergent if the space is suitable. You could even store these items in a lockable box, such as the Lockabox One ($39.95, Amazon) for extra protection.

Consider whether you’re storing any other dishwasher-related items under the sink which could pose a threat as well. Dishwasher salt and rinse aid should be removed and safely stored elsewhere. 

5. Insecticides 

A can of insecticide next to dead cockroaches

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Insecticides are often found under the kitchen sink too. After all, one of the ways you can learn how to get rid of flies is through insecticides, and flies regularly visit the kitchen. However, insecticides are toxic to children as well as pets, so these should be kept out of reach at all costs. 

Look out for any pest-related equipment stored in here which children could hurt themselves on as well, such as traps. Bear in mind that If you’ve laid down poison or traps around your home, you will need to make sure they're inaccessible to children and pets.     

6. Flammable items 

Air freshener being sprayed

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

All kinds of household products can end up under the kitchen sink, but be sure to avoid storing anything flammable. Flammable goods, such as aerosols, solvents and rubbing alcohol can pose a serious fire hazard if exposed to certain conditions. For instance, you'll want to keep an electric garbage disposal unit away from such items. 

Store flammable goods well away from your kitchen. Keep these in a cool, dry and airy space, such as the garage. Make sure these are kept out of reach of children.      

7. Pet food 

Two bowls of pet food

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

While you might have set aside a dedicated space for pet food under the kitchen sink, it’s not a good idea to keep it here. 

Your pet food will potentially be exposed to any chemicals being stored alongside, which is a health hazard. Plus, this space is naturally humid, and storing any kind of food down here, whether human or pet, can cause it to grow moldy.

Storing open pet food in here will naturally lure your pet into the space as well, causing a mess at the very least. If you must keep pet food in here, store it in a sealed air tight container, and make sure there’s no chemical products in the same space. 

8. Glassware 

Two broken light bulbs

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Bits and bobs can easily collect under the sink in the hopes that they come in use one day, but some items can be a hazard if stored haphazardly. This is the case for anything fragile, such as glass light bulbs or vases. If these are knocked against any surfaces, or fall over, they can easily crack and spread glass shards amongst the other items, which can be dangerous to anyone who reaches in. 

Keep such items in a safe, dedicated space, away from other items which are likely to crush them. Bubble wrap can help when storing fragile items, such as light bulbs.   

9. Unused items 

An empty cabinet underneath the kitchen sink

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Finally, be sure to clear out any forgotten clutter at the back of the cabinet. Any storage space in your home is precious, and beneath the kitchen sink is no exception. So, if you have old and worn rags under here, or cleaning materials you just never use, find a purpose for them or get rid of them. With more space under your sink, you can keep an eye on what you’re storing and stay on top of clutter.

More from Tom's Guide

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.