Skip To Content
  • Poll badge
  • Quiz badge

"I Don't Wash My Nonstick Pans": People Are Revealing Their Shocking Home Kitchen Secrets, And Now I Have Secondhand Food Poisoning

If you think dish soap is only necessary on a "case-by-case" basis, I'd like to have a word.

We all have our dirty little kitchen secrets β€” but some are dirtier than others. For example: I'll use the same ol' wooden cutting board to chop just about everything, and haven't gotten salmonella yet...but you will NEVER catch me washing my dishes without soap just because they're "not greasy." (Yes, apparently there are people who do that.)

Recently, u/Books_and_Boobs asked redditors to share their "dirty home kitchen secrets," and while some were downright filthy, I think others get hated on for reasons I can't quite figure out. So β€” for science reasons β€” I want to know exactly how you feel about them. Should these kitchen secrets be worthy of metaphorical jail time, or is it time we start normalizing some of these? It's your call, either way.

1. "If I drop raw veggies or meat on the ground that's getting cooked anyway, I'll happily just throw it back into the pan if it doesn't look too icky."

Picking up apples that fell in the middle of the street sidewalk

2. "Lots of people never 'wash' their cast iron skillets...but I don't always wash my nonstick pans, either. I'll just use the 'residual' flavoring in whatever I cook up the next day."

an X through someone washing a nonstick skillet with soap and a sponge

3. "I only wash measuring spoons when I absolutely have to β€” if they were used to scoop salt or sugar (or something else I can more or less just shake off), they'll go immediately back to their drawer."

Scooping up brown sugar in a measuring spoon

4. "I'll keep this short and sweet: I put my wooden spoons into the dishwasher."

Reaching for wooden spoons in the dishwasher

5. "Unless the produce I buy at the grocery store is noticeably dirty, I rarely wash it in any thorough way β€” especially if I'm going to cook it. In my experience, it's pretty easy to tell when something is dirty or sandy and needs a good rinse...and honestly, it's not very often!"

An X over a picture of a person washing broccoli in a bowl of water

6. "I've honestly read ALL the advice on how to clean cast-iron skillets, use them, store them, and maintain them over many years. Truth be told, I ignore it all. They just keep working for me!"

Dirty cast iron skillet next to a cleaning brush

7. "I know that brewed coffee grows mold pretty rapidly...but if there's room temperature, day-old coffee left in my coffee pot, I'll always make myself an iced coffee before brewing some fresh."

Woman drinking iced coffee while looking out of a window

8. "When I cook, it's usually just for me and my husband. I love making homemade sauces and gravies, and sometimes I'll do a taste test and lick the spoon...then stir it right back into the pot. He knows I do it, and he doesn't mind! We already kiss each other, so why not?!"

A woman licking a spoon and looking at a carton

9. "Almost everything in my kitchen is treated like it's dishwasher-safe. Anything that turns out to be not dishwasher safe (i.e., it falls apart) is eventually just replaced by something that is."

Arrow pointing to a red knife in a loaded dishwasher

10. "I make sushi from 'regular' fish β€” like store-bought salmon or tuna β€” and I have never had a single issue in the 20 years I've been doing it."

"Fun fact: The concept of 'sushi-grade' fish is nothing but hype and marketing from the sushi industry. When eating any fish (or meat) raw, there's always a calculated risk involved β€” but it's very, very unlikely if you're taking the proper food safety precautions. I don't care if it's 'conventional' or 'sushi-grade' β€” if you buy it rock-hard frozen and keep it rock-hard frozen (for up to two months), you're doing everything you can to minimize the risk of food-borne illness."


Raw salmon on ice at a fish counter

11. "People get really particular about NEVER using wooden cutting boards to cut up raw meat, for fear of cross-contamination. I gotta say, I've been using the same wooden cutting board for years to cut up just about anything imaginable, and I'm still standing."

Cutting raw chicken on a wooden cutting board

12. "When it comes to leftovers, I rarely follow food safety guidelines. I let my nose decide if it's spoiled or still able to be eaten. Often that'll mean that I'm eating leftovers well beyond the usual '2–3 days' suggested in most recipes, but I've never gotten sick from leftovers, either!"

leftover fried cold chicken in a plastic tupperware container

13. "I know it's technically not OK, but I keep a stick of salted butter on the counter at all times for cooking (and toast)."

Room temperature butter in a dish next to a slice of bread

14. "I don't ever wash my wok or any of my other pans that I want to keep seasoned. I used to be a breakfast line cook for years, and this might make you leery about going out for breakfast, but on the line, we never washed our egg pans (and the eggs never stuck)."

"At the end of the shift, I'd just add some oil and a good bit of salt, and I'd scrub it with a clean kitchen towel."


Salt in a cast iron skillet

15. "I make lots of smoothies in my single-serve blender. You know that little silicone ring that seals the top of the blender to the blade attachment? Yeah, that thing gets cleaned once every three months."

The blade and bottom part of a blender

16. "Dishwashing soap is occasionally optional. If utensils only really touched food for a second or two, I'll probably just rinse them off and put them on the drying rack..."

"Like, if I used a knife to cut up a couple of cherry tomatoes or used a new spoon for salsa, there's NO way those items need the full 'washing' treatment."


Rinsing a dish with water in the sink

17. "When I'm wiping down my counters at the end of the day, all the crumbs or whatever else just go straight to the floor. The dog or the Roomba will get it β€” not my problem."

various crumbs on a tile floor

18. "When I'm mincing garlic, I like to take a chunk of hard cheese, and when I've scraped the garlic I need off the cutting board, I'll use the cheese like Velcro to pick up any stray pieces of raw garlic and eat it."

"Disgusting snack? Probably. Delicious? To me, yes."


Minced raw garlic on cutting board

19. "I almost never clean my bread knife. Whenever I need to slice bread, I'll just wipe off the crumbs with a towel and put it right back into the drawer."

bread knife laid down next to a loaf of sliced bread

20. "In a similar fashion to the way I treat my bread knife, my husband and I will use one plate a day. We'll eat our breakfast off the same plate, not wash it, then repeat for lunch and dinner..."

"Depending on the meals we're eating, this could last multiple days! It's just such a waste to use new dishes all the time and waste all that water cleaning them."


Dirty white dinner plate with red sauce on it

21. "Whatever lies between the side of my oven and the cabinet next to it is a dirty secret that I will never know β€” and I know I'm not alone here. Until things start smelling, there's no way I'll go through the effort of pulling out the oven just to clean it."

A person moving their oven away from the wall

22. "I have a biology degree, so I'm super conscious of microbes. That said, I'm guilty of not washing the inside of my air fryer between uses. I know it's 'bad' and 'terrible' and 'a potential source of illness,' but it's truly so annoying. So, I continue to not do it."

Removing sticky saucy meat from air fryer basket with tongs

23. "I've used the same cutting boards for years, and I don't have specific ones for meat, fish, and vegetables, even if it's recommended. I wash them to protect against cross-contamination, of course, but I usually just cut up whatever vegetables I need to chop before any raw meat goes on it."

color-coded cutting boards on a rack

24. "I lick the honey and maple syrup bottles to get the last drop after using it β€” so I never have to worry about sticky bottles!"

Child drizzling syrup over pancakes on a plate

Is there anything you do in the kitchen that you know to be just fine...but others might not be so sure of? Let us know in the comments.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.