Insights

Do Your Cooking Tools Need an Update?

When you first stocked your kitchen with tools and gadgets, you might’ve thought it would all last forever and for the most part, that’s not totally wrong. However, it turns out that even the fanciest of kitchen essentials expire, just like certain pantry ingredients. We’re talking cutting boards, knives, wooden spoons, and even oven mitts. While some tools should be replaced due to normal wear and tear, others become ridden with bacteria that after a while just won’t wash away.

In hopes of keeping your kitchen spic and span, we put together a guide to keeping your kitchen gadgets fresh, so you’re not left wondering what needs to be replaced over time. Now, you’ll always be ready for a little breakfast skillet or a steak-studded Plated night.

Spatulas

We’ve all got more than a few spatulas hanging around the kitchen­, but when they start to scratch or melt, you know it’s time to replace them. After all, you don’t want chemicals like BPA mixed in with your food. Plastic and rubber spatulas tend to have a shorter lifespan (about 2 years), whereas silicone stands the test of time since it doesn’t melt.

Knives

We use knives for all kinds of prep work when making our favorite meals, so they’re bound to wear down over time. When the blade chips or becomes dull beyond sharpening, it’s time to safely dispose (with bubble wrap and tape). As a general rule, once your knife no longer cuts a tomato without catching the skin, it’s best to sharpen or pick up a new one.

Nonstick Skillets

Nonstick skillets are a lovely time-saver when it’s time for clean-up. But, when the magical Teflon coating is no longer non-stick, or has started to scratch or chip, it’s time to part ways. This is important, as using the skillet with visible signs of wear may lead to the release of toxic compounds. Otherwise, we suggest replacing non-stick skillets every 2–3 years.

Wooden Spoons

Wooden spoons tend to be well-loved tools in everyone’s kitchen. When your favorite spoon becomes discolored, cracked, or has developed soft spots, it’s time to say goodbye. Since wood absorbs moisture, it becomes a natural breeding ground for mold and bacteria like E. coli. If your spoon shows no typical signs of wear, be sure to replace it every 5 years.

Sponges

See that sponge in your kitchen sink? Go ahead and throw it out if it’s been around for more than two weeks. Since they’re usually wet, sponges are magnets for bacteria, which then gets transferred to whatever you’re cleaning. Pro tip: Disinfect your sponge in the microwave between uses or throw it in the dishwasher every few days.

Cutting Boards

While cutting boards are meant to be sliced into, they need to be replaced pretty regularly. Sure, you can sanitize bacteria from the surface, but when deep grooves start forming, it’s difficult to rid what’s thriving in these conditions—especially with wood.

Oven Mitts

These kitchen heroes protect our hands from all sorts of crazy high temps. Over time, the fibers break down due to normal wear and tear, so you’ll want to replace them every 2­–3 years (or if you start feeling the heat) so you don’t burn yourself.

Baking Sheets and Muffin Pans

While stained baking sheets and muffin pans make for great photo backdrops, it’s best to stop baking with them when they start to rust or warp. When food and oils become one with the pan (no matter how much you scrub!), it’s a good sign that they need to be recycled.

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