5 Items You Should Never Store in Your Pantry, According to Experts

Make sure you keep these foods and other products elsewhere.

Don't deny it: You probably pile up products in your pantry, only bothering to get rid of something when it's empty or expired. But it's not necessarily the stacks of canned goods and boxed staples you should be worried about clearing out. Instead, there may be things in your pantry that were never supposed to be there in the first place. Talking to experts, we discovered some of the most common storage mistakes people make in this kitchen space. Read on to find out what five items they say you should never store in your pantry.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Fridge, According to Experts.

Nuts and seeds

A display of various gluten free and all natural food, including legumes, nuts, rice and more.

Jen Brown, an experienced chef who works as a professional food stylist for films, tells Best Life that many of the issues with improper pantry storage nowadays come down to room temperature.

"Historically, homes were much cooler than they are today, making the pantry an ideal spot to store food," she says. "However, modern heating systems have increased the average temperature of homes substantially, and the room temperature of your pantry may be too high for certain foods."

Nuts and seeds are one of the most common categories affected by this modern difference, according to Brown.

"They are prone to bacterial growth and can become rancid when stored in a warm pantry," she reveals. "To keep nuts and seeds fresh, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer."

Peanut butter

knife with jar of peanut butter
New Africa / Shutterstock

Many people are also used to keeping their peanut butter in the pantry. But Artem Kropovinsky, a home expert and founder of the Arsight design studio in New York City, says you should really reconsider this storage method.

According to Kropovinsky, "peanut butter can go rancid at room temperature" as well—especially if it's natural peanut butter. "So keep it in the fridge after opening," he advises.

Onions and garlic

different onions and garlic bulb on wooden rustic table

If you getting your garlic, onions, or shallots from your pantry when you cook, you're doing something wrong, according to Jessica Randhawa, a food expert and owner of The Forked Spoon. These are all allium vegetables, which Randhawa says should never be stored in this space.

"Allium family members have strong odors that can affect the flavor of other porous foods like rice, flour, and spices in the pantry," she explains. "It is best to store alliums away from direct sunlight in a well-ventilated kitchen area, such as a countertop or a shelf."

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Maple syrup

Raw Organic Amber Maple Syrup from Canada

Many people assume that maple syrup is shelf stable, according to Dan Gallagher, a certified nutritionist with Aegle Nutrition. "But it is actually not," he warns. "It can grow mold if kept outside the refrigerator, so make sure you don't waste the maple goodness by keeping it in the pantry."

This is especially true for organic maple syrup, Gallagher says. However, he recommends playing it on the safe side no matter what type you have.

"The cheaper, heavily processed versions with a plethora of additives might be fine to keep on the shelf in the pantry," Gallagher notes. "But I would even refrigerate those after opening the bottle. No need to tempt fate with your syrup storage choices."

Pest traps

A black plastic rat trap on concrete floor. bait poison box for rat.

It's not just food you need to pay attention to in your pantry. This area is prone to infestation, so many people think it's also the perfect place to store traps for any potential pests, according to Steven Ip, a cleaning expert and owner of Cleanzen Cleaning Services.

But whether it's mouse bait or cockroach bait, Ip says these items should also be stored outside the pantry.

"These baits might contaminate your food and cause health problems like poisoning," he warns. "It is best to store them in a cabinet that is away from direct sunlight and moisture and out of reach of children and pets."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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