11 Common Kitchen Items That Are Secretly Toxic

Since we cook all our food here, you’d think it was the safest place in the house. Unfortunately, your kitchen stores toxic substances with terrible effects on your health.

In today’s article, we will be discussing common kitchen items that are secretly toxic. Can your multi-purpose cleaner be at fault?

Are blunt knives really a potential hazard? What about drain cleaners and chopping boards?

1. Multi-purpose cleaner.

These cleaners are a staple in every kitchen. From the countertop to the floor, a multi-purpose cleaner is capable of clearing every surface, making our lives just that much easier.

They can clean all sorts of surfaces like tiles, glass, steel, etc.

There is no specific recipe, but since they clean grease and oil, they have to be made from a strong blend of chemicals like solvents, disinfectants, and surfactants.

All of these chemical substances contain a glycol ether known as 2-Butoxyethanol.

Experts say this harmful chemical causes skin irritation upon contact with skin, throat problems if inhaled, and kidney or liver damage if ingested.

Depending on the recipe, these products also contain chemicals like sodium hydroxide, ethylene oxide, and sodium Laureth sulfate which are harmful to humans.

2. Bleach.

Do you use bleach often? Well, you might want to hear this. Sodium Hypochlorite or bleach is a very common household item used throughout the world for whitening and disinfectant purposes.

Though a great disinfectant, bleach can cause respiratory problems, skin irritations, and even death.

Bleach is very risky if mixed with ammonia, as their mixture causes a reaction, forming chloramine.

Chloramine evaporates quickly in the air and can be lethal if inhaled.

In 2019, Buffalo Wild Wings manager in Massachusetts died from inhaling the fumes produced when two different types of cleaners were mixed.

The mix of cleaners contained acid and bleach, creating fumes that overpowered him. Bleach contains chlorine, which is a disinfectant as well as a corrosive substance.

When used properly, it isn’t harmful. For instance, mixing one drop of chlorine in a gallon of water and drinking it won’t affect your health.

But 5% bleach solution will burn your throat. This is why your faucets get corroded when cleaning with bleach.

3. Drain cleaner.

Drain cleaners are lifesavers! Ask people who’ve had their kitchen drain clogged with no plumber available!

But if not used properly, they can be dangerous. Most drain cleaners contain a substance known as lye or sodium hydroxide.

This is a highly corrosive substance. Coming in contact with your skin or eyes, it can cause severe burns and intense irritation.

If sodium hydroxide is sprayed in drains and you accidentally inhale a few droplets, it can cause a sore throat that will last days.

Due to their toxicity, drain cleaners always come with safety instructions. It’s recommended you use safety materials like hand gloves, face masks and eye-protective gear while using them.

4. Plastic chopping board.

This one’s bizarre. A chopping board can be toxic? How is that even possible? After all, it is one of the most common kitchen pieces out there.

However, the truth is they can be a hazard for your health. When chopping boards wear out and get deep knife cuts and fissures, experts recommend you change them.

These fissures become home to numerous bacteria that may cause food poisoning. There’s also the possibility that worn-out plastic boards will shed tiny plastic particles in your food.


You don’t want this getting in your stomach. If the board has cuts, it can be cleaned in the dishwasher rather easily. But if the cuts are deep, you should replace the board.

5. Aluminum foil.

Fresh sandwiches packed in aluminum foil remind us of lunchtime at school. Aluminum foil has been used in food packaging around the world for more than 100 years.

Though an ideal product for food packaging and wrapping, aluminum foil can be harmful to your health if it leaches into our food.

The risk of aluminum leaching in food increases when acetic foods like tomatoes are cooked in aluminum vessels.

A study has noted that there is high leaching of aluminum in acidic foods, and even more when spices are used.

The risk is higher when you cook food in aluminum utensils.

6. Dull Knives.

Sounds counter-intuitive, right? It makes sense that sharp ones are a hazard, but how are dull knives dangerous?

Turns out dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones. They are among the biggest culprits behind kitchen accidents.

Nearly a million people are forced to make annual trips to the emergency room due to dull kitchen knives.

Dull knives are more dangerous than toxic. They are more prone to slips because you need to apply more pressure.

Though sharp knives have their own risks, if used cautiously, they cause fewer accidents compared to the dull ones. Make sure you send dull knives for sharpening regularly, and use them cautiously upon return.

7. Dish Soap.

Dish soap? Am I serious? Unfortunately, yes! Dish soaps contain phthalates, more commonly known as plasticizers.

Although the extent of their health effects are yet to be determined, studies have shown a link between plasticizers and the reproductive system of animals.

Research has suggested that females, who use dish soaps, shampoo, and other cosmetics containing phthalates, have a higher level of urinary phthalate metabolites than men who did not use such products.

Though the risks of phthalates are low, an eco-friendly cleaner that may totally avoid such risks might be a better option.

8. Ammonia.

Ammonia is used as a general-purpose cleaner in many household products. It’s an excellent cleaner that gets rid of stains fast.

However, despite its capabilities, Ammonia can be a potential health hazard if not used properly. While it is a common chemical, experts claim ammonia is corrosive and highly toxic.

If not handled carefully, it can cause severe damage that leads to blindness and death. You need to be careful while working with Ammonia in a closed space.

It can be easily recognized by its pungent odor. If inhaled in a closed space, it can be lethal. Also, don’t mix bleach and ammonia as the reaction creates chloramine.

9. Plastic lunch boxes and storage containers.

Plastic lunch boxes and containers are a part of our daily lives. But it might be time to let go of old habits.

They’re not only toxic to the environment but adversely affect human health as well. Phthalates or plasticizers are chemicals used in plastic which make it difficult to break.

When plastic containers are used to heat food in the microwave, there’s a risk that these containers may leak toxic substances like phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA) into the food.

A study found that the possibility of such seepage of chemicals is higher when the food has lots of fat content.

These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, meaning they affect the levels of estrogen and testosterone in your body.

This will impact the development of reproductive organs.

Another factor is the amount of time the plastic container was microwaved and the temperature it was exposed to. Switch to ceramics. They’re much safer.

10. Non-stick cooking utensils.

Non-stick cooking pans are very convenient, as you require less oil during cooking, and it’s easier to clean them.

But before you get carried away, you need to know this. Non-stick pans have a coating of a polymer known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

This takes away the stick factor. When the coating on the non-stick pan is scratched due to overheating or prolonged use, flakes get transferred to your food during cooking.

When ingested, Teflon coating can hurt your health. One particular study has noted that PTFE coated pans emit toxic gases upon being heated at normal cooking temperatures.

So, invest in a quality non-stick pan that won’t erode fast. Make sure you don’t overheat the pan.

11. Canned foods.

Canned foods have become a staple in the modern American diet. You find them in every kitchen pantry.

The lining of canned foods contains a chemical called BPA, which has been linked to reproductive toxicity.

You either use fresh or frozen foods, or look for canned goods that do not have BPA lining. If you’re getting frozen foods, make sure you don’t heat it in the microwave.

Were you aware of any of these items? Do you exercise caution while using them?