Countertop: 10 Things You Should Never Put on It

Do you use your kitchen counter as a catch-all for diverse bits and pieces, food items, and some other stuff? No matter how big or small your kitchen is, your counter space will always be cluttered with some kitchen tools, mail, handbags, keys, and so on.

While it’s very tempting, storing things this way always leads to a real mess and nobody likes a messy kitchen. To avoid that, I have a list of 10 things you shouldn’t keep on your countertop. Some of them you’d expect to find in this list, but I bet you’ll be surprised by other things you didn’t know shouldn’t be stored on your countertop.

Continue reading to see what you should or shouldn’t be putting on your kitchen countertops.

Rarely used appliances

In a recent study from MasterBrand Cabinets, 60 percent of Americans found cluttered counter space as the biggest cause of stress when it comes to house storage. When you already have loads of items on your countertop, adding more stuff to it will definitely turn cooking into a nightmare.

Things like juice makers, rice cookers, toasters, blenders, and other kitchen appliances are the most common items you will find on a kitchen counter. But do you use all of them daily? If you don’t, maybe you should consider putting them away. Trust me, you’ll save a lot of space by doing that.



We have all seen those nice and well-organized kitchens in pictures on the Internet. Yes, canisters for storing sugar, flour, and other ingredients can be very decorative, especially if they match the kitchen design style. But you have to admit some of them (pasta canisters, for example) are taking up a great deal of space.

To clear away the area, think about storing all the canisters in a cupboard. Better yet, keeping them handy on a shelf just above the countertop would be far more convenient for you.

Cooking book on countertop
Photo by Alliance Images from Shutterstock

Cooking books

Other elements that add style to your kitchen are cooking books displayed on the counter. Many cooking books are literally pieces of art. A lovely hardcover and an artistic spine deserve to be seen and admired, right? Besides, if cooking is part of your daily routine, then those favorite recipes should be within reach.

But keep in mind that cooking can be sometimes very messy as spills of oil, tomato sauce, or other semi-solid food can get almost everywhere, book covers included. You don’t want to stain beautiful cookbooks as some of them can be pretty expensive.

Try storing them on open shelving or in a glass door cabinet to keep them clean and on display. This way your cooking books will still be in a good condition and you’ll still have a stylish kitchen.

For more healthy cooking books, check out our Amazon favorites!


Olive oil

I know, olive oil exists in almost every kitchen and is one of the most used ingredients ever. So many people store it on their kitchen counters. But here are two reasons why you should change that.

You might want to know that keeping olive oil in direct light and heat decreases its quality making it go rancid. The same rule applies to other types of oil as well. It would be very frustrating to ruin your meal just because your oil tastes bad.

The second reason would be that oil can be very messy leaving your kitchen countertop greasy. Since the counter is used to store many other items, grease can easily find its way all around the area making everything sticky and stained.

Why spend more time cleaning when you can just store olive oil in a safe place away from light and heat?



Maybe it’s the first time you’re hearing this, but your countertop isn’t the perfect place to keep your spice sets. I know, the spice collections stored on the countertop are very cute and visually appealing. Not only do spices and herbs add color to your food but to your kitchen as well. But, just like oil, spices can quickly lose their flavors if stored nearby your oven or stove.

Heat and humidity don’t go well with the chemical compounds that give spices their distinct aroma. Stephanie Bostic, Ph.D., a registered dietician, and food safety expert recommends keeping spices in glass jars with tight-fitting covers and storing them in dark, cool places.

Papers on countertop
Photo by patpitchaya from Shutterstock


Mail, newspapers, bills, child’s drawings and so on. I don’t think there is a lived-in house where people haven’t used the countertop as an office desk at least once. I know, it comes in handy to leave that piece of paper there so you can easily come back to it later.

I also know that there isn’t just one piece of paper but several. So let’s say you just came home from work and it’s dinner time. You have to make some space in order to cook so you bring all your papers together, but you leave them on the countertop.

You don’t mind having them there since the area is pretty much uncluttered. However, there is a great chance for your papers to get wet, or worse, to get stained while you cook. If you’re like me, maybe organizing them isn’t your thing so here’s my advice.

Set aside a dedicated shelf where you can toss all these papers until you have some time for organizing them.


Cutting boards

It’s not a tragedy if you keep your favorite cutting board on the kitchen counter. Just keep in mind that some of them can take up a lot of space. And if you ask me, frequently using a cutting board means that, at some point, it won’t look good enough to keep on display. Besides, you’ll have to clean the dust every time you use it.

But here is the major reason why you shouldn’t have cutting boards on your countertop: they can easily harbor harmful bacteria. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests washing all cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use no matter what.



Knife blocks in a kitchen show there’s a chef in the house, especially if it’s an expensive and fancy knife set. This item should be in a noticeable spot, I know. But are all these knives used on a daily basis? If they’re not, maybe the countertop isn’t the best place to keep them as some knife blocks can take up some space.

If you have small kids, then you definitely shouldn’t store your knives on the counter where kids can reach by using just a chair. Think about storing them somewhere out of sight of little ones (a cabinet, for example).

Handbag on countertop
Photo by New Africa from Shutterstock


This is very common as I can see it in almost every house I go to. Since you just came home, leaving your purse there comes in handy and you do that without thinking about it too much. Unfortunately, you forget all the spots where you put your handbag down. Maybe on the seat next to you in the subway, or on the counter at the supermarket or, even worse, on some surface in a restroom.

Now that I’m telling you this, maybe you’ll think twice next time you feel tempted to leave your purse on the kitchen countertop. Some studies suggest that your handbag is germier than a toilet so clearly it shouldn’t be where you cook and eat. I know, yuck!


And our last countertop no-no is your phone!

Same thing here. Touching a lot of things (doorknobs, money, computer keyboard, buttons, safety handles and so on) implies spreading a lot of germs around and there is one item you carry almost everywhere. YES, YOUR PHONE!

As it picks up bacteria everywhere it goes, you can try cleaning it with antibacterial wipes (doing this it’s making me feel better and safe). But even if you do that, keep in mind that your phone is pretty filthy so keep it away from where food is.

If you enjoyed reading this article, maybe this should be your next read: 6 Durable Kitchen Materials That Will Last Forever


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