The 11 Most Mistreated Tools In Your Kitchen

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Pastry Brushes
Photo: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Regardless of how careful and delicate you are with your favorite kitchen tools, over time they're all going to take a beating. Whether it's because they aren't cleaned properly, stored correctly or exposed to harmful elements for too much time, you're undoubtedly mistreating some of your kitchen tools and you might not even realize it. However, we're here to help by identifying which of your tools to keep an eye on and to also offer some tips for how to keep getting the most out of them. Read on for the 11 most mistreated tools in your kitchen.

01 of 11

Non-Stick Pan

Demeyere Industry5 Nonstick Skillet

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

02 of 11

Cast Iron

Cast Iron
Courtesy of Amazon

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

03 of 11


Kitchen Knife Care
Lucy Schaeffer

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

04 of 11

Wooden Cutting Boards

Cutting Board

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

05 of 11

Wooden Spoons

Wooden Spoons
Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

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

06 of 11

Baking Sheet

cooking tray
Courtesy of Amazon

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

07 of 11


Courtesy of Amazon

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

08 of 11


Courtesy of Amazon

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

09 of 11

Vegetable Peeler

Kuhn Rikon Vegetable Peeler
Courtesy of Amazon

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

10 of 11

Stand Mixer

KitchenAid Mixer
Courtesy of Amazon

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

11 of 11

Pastry Brushes

Pastry Brushes
Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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

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