9 things you should never store under your sink, according to the experts

Think again before tossing this in the cupboard

Dark kitchen cabinets with white countertop and sink
(Image credit: Future PLC / David Parmiter)

Experts reveal the things you should never store under the sink when organising your under sink cupboard, and while some of them were already within our general understanding, there were some that surprised us.

The under sink cupboard is an area that undoubtedly tends to accumulate lots of clutter throughout the days, weeks, and even months. Admittedly, I find myself cramming so many items under the sink, but assuming you can store anything there is one of the first under sink storage mistakes to avoid.

Dark kitchen cabinets with white countertop and sink

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

9 things you should never store under the sink

Oftentimes for people trying to make the most out of a small kitchen layout, the area under the sink seems like a useful storage spot. However, experts warn that under the sink is actually not the safest place to keep these common household items.

1. Paper towels

white kitchen with white worktops and kitchen sink with gold tap

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Under the sink is one of the most prone areas to getting damp, therefore, storing paper towels here is not the wisest of choice.

Lily Cameron, cleaning supervisor at Fantastic Services adds, 'This goes for other paper products as well, such as trash or compost bags made of paper. They’re designed to biodegrade quickly, so they can easily get damaged by moisture.'

2. Small kitchen appliances

kitchen with pale blue cabinets and black worktops with kitchen appliances on display

(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

Given that we just touched on this area being the most prone to damp and getting wet, it's not surprising that storing electric appliances under the sink is a bad idea. Your best bet is browsing kitchen appliance layout ideas to save space without potentially damaging your goods.

3. Harsh chemicals

cleaning products and supplies on shelving unit

(Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Andrew Woods)

This one might sound counter-intuitive, considering the fact that so many of us opt to store our best cleaning products under the sink. However, Lily Cameron at Fantastic Services warns homeowners to find a different spot for the likes of harsher cleaning agents and insecticides if they have pets or children.

'It’s an easy spot to access, and if ingested, these chemicals can be a huge health hazard. It’s best to keep harsh cleaners at a higher spot in the kitchen, bathroom or utility closet – out of reach.' This even goes for dishwashing pods.

4. Pet food

kitchen room with sink white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'While it might seem handy to keep your pet's food tucked under the sink, this could be dangerous. With this area of the kitchen often becoming humid from hot water, food may quickly become mouldy. Instead, stick to storing your pet's food in a dry and cool place,' explains Catrin George, animal wellbeing specialist at Animal Friends Pet Insurance.

Additionally, if you tend to store cleaning products under the sink, Lily Cameron at Fantastic Services recommends keeping pet food in a separate spot to avoid cross-contamination.

5. Your toothbrush

Bathroom with white walls, wooden washstand and round mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

'As you’ll often run your toothbrush under water before and after use, the bristles remain wet. Storing the wet bristles in a dark and unventilated space can encourage mould growth, which sometimes goes unnoticed,' warns Warren Kinloch, bathroom expert at Bathroom Deal.

'This could lead to you brushing your teeth with a toothbrush full of bacteria which isn’t good for your teeth or general health.'

There are plenty of bathroom storage ideas worth trying if you're looking to organise your bathroom, without compromising safety.

6. Anything wet or damp

bathroom with shelves and storage for towels and laundry

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Following on from the previous point, Warren Kinloch at Bathroom Deal also warns against storing anything wet or damp in under sink storage. 

'This includes things like face clothes, reusable cotton pads, towels or bath mats. Again, storing this in an unairated space can encourage the growth of all sorts of nasties, which you’ll then be applying to your face and body.'

7. Pantry items

kitchen pantry with white door and kitchen shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Jane Watson)

We know that pantry ideas aren't always a viable option for people with smaller kitchen storage solutions, so desperate times may call for you to store non-perishable food under the sink.

However, this isn't a great option as these can go bad when they come into contact with water.

8. Light bulbs

A trio of powder-coated matt black pendant light fixtures with clear glass lightbulbs

(Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole)

'Anything with glass is pretty dangerous to store under your sink, but this is especially true for those smaller items such as light bulbs which are extra fragile and prone to shattering,' warns Julia Barnes, head of buying at Value Lights.

It also comes with the added risk of condensation building within the bulb due to heat generated from any pipes that may run through this space.

9. Flammable items

kitchen makeover with grey units and white worktop and sink

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

Anything containing alcohol or other flammable ingredients (this includes your cleaning products) is better off stored elsewhere as these could pose a serious fire risk if coming into contact with a heat source, leak, or spill.

So, the next time you think of just tossing something under the sink to have it out of sight out of mind, be certain they don't fall into these categories.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.