The 11 Most Mistreated Tools In Your Kitchen
No piece of cookware takes the same beating as your go-to non-stick pan or skillet. These utility players get tossed around and abused in countless ways, including exposure to too high of heat (low to medium is where the heat should be for non-stick) and when metal utensils scratch the surface. While it’s easy to find a decent low cost non-stick pan, they still deserve to be respected like the all-purpose tools they are. Learn more about how to take care of your non-stick cookware here.
All-Clad Professional Stainless Steel Oven Safe Nonstick Fry Pan Cookware, 10-Inch, $115 at amazon.com
Cast iron can, at times, be difficult to maintain, however, there’s a reason why cast iron pans are always readily available at antique shops and yard sales, they're incredibly durable. The problems usually arise when you haven’t seasoned your pan correctly or when it’s exposed to water for extended periods of time. Luckily, cast iron is also super resilient so even if you’ve treated it poorly, you can usually bring even the rustiest cast iron back to life with a little bit of love and effort.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned 10.25", $13 (originally $26) at amazon.com
Knives definitely hold the title as the most mistreated tools in your kitchen. Whether it’s from storing good knives in a drawer with other tools or not drying them thoroughly enough after each use, knives–especially the really good ones–are prone to taking a beating. They really deserve the most attention of any tools you use on a day to day basis for cooking (See: 5 Ways You're Hurting Your Knives and How to Stop). Every good meal starts with a good knife, so treat them with respect and you’ll both see and taste the difference.
Modern Innovations 16 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar, $17 at amazon.com
Wooden Cutting Boards
Cutting boards provide a great environment for bacteria to hide in if not cared for correctly—especially the plastic variety. But with wooden cutting boards, it’s important to keep them well lubricated and to clean them thoroughly. Wood is prone to drying out and warping, so it’s super important to season your wooden board with mineral oil occasionally, along with not letting the boards sit for extended periods of time in water.
John Boos Block Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board, 24 x 18", $144 (originally $200) at amazon.com
Like cutting boards, wooden spoons should be cleaned quickly and not left to sit soaking up excess water. This leads to cracking and splintering, both of which provide hospitable environments for bacteria to grow in. To make sure your favorite tool for stirring and scraping the fond off the bottom of a pan stays in good shape, make sure to oil it appropriately and avoid long exposure to water.
OXO Good Grips Wooden Spoon Set, 3-Piece, $12 at amazon.com
Poor baking sheets: They work so hard for us and barely receive any thanks. While not the most exciting tool in your kitchen, baking sheets are important for roasting vegetables in particular and need to be cleaned (and dried) thoroughly to avoid build up or rust. The corners of baking sheets are especially prone to oil buildup, so make sure to focus on cleaning them before placing them back in storage.
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet (2 Pack), $20 at amazon.com
Mandolins are great for slicing and cutting produce into very precise and uniform shapes. However, they are also prone to being dirtied by food matter and rusting. Due to all of the nooks and corners found on and around the mandolin’s blades, there’s always a threat of build up from whatever produce you’re slicing. Also, much like knives themselves, mandolins need to be cleaned and dried both quickly and thoroughly after each use.
Vegetable slicer, $23 at amazon.com
Depending on where the microwave is located in your kitchen, you might not see the entire inside of it too often. We can say with some authority, though, that the inside of your microwave is probably not the cleanest. While there are simple ways to reduce the amount of food matter that ends up on the microwave's interior ceiling and walls, sometimes it just requires cleaning it regularly to make sure that the inside of your microwave doesn't suddenly resemble a Jackson Pollock.
Tovolo Vented, Easy Grip, Collapsible Microwave Cover, $12 at amazon.com
Vegetable peelers suffer from many of the same issues that mandolins do with the added issue of usually living in a drawer where they’re prone to being dulled. Sugar from whatever produce you’re peeling will build up around the blades when not cleaned often enough. The blades will also lose their effectiveness if kept in a drawer with your meat tenderizer and infuser spoon.
OXO Good Grips Y Peeler, $12 at amazon.com
Nothing makes a kitchen look even more legit than a beautiful, countertop stand mixer. It’s a way of telling onlookers that you know what you’re doing and it’s an incredibly effective tool for all mixing-related tasks. However, the attachments require special attention and need to be both cleaned super thoroughly and stored somewhere that they won’t get beaten up regularly.
KitchenAid KSM150PSCU Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer, $300 (originally $430) at amazon.com
Even if you don’t use your pastry brushes all that often, you shouldn’t assume that they will last forever. Over time, the bristles will fray and you’ll need to acquire a new set. That said, if you are able to keep your pastry brushes away from other kitchen tools, that will help extend their lives exponentially. Also, consider buying silicone brushes instead if you go through pastry brushes too quickly.
M KITCHEN WORLD Silicone Basting - BBQ, Pastry, and Oil Brush, $7 at amazon.com