Spring Cleaning–Signs It’s Time to Replace Items in Your Kitchen

Are you reaching for warped cookware, dull knives, stained spatulas, cracked cutting boards, or smelly wooden spoons daily? Chances are, it’s time to replace those well-loved tools. Here are some signs to let you know when it’s time to part ways.

When Should I Replace Cookware?

Just because a pot or pan looks gross doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to toss it—sometimes a good cleaning is all it takes (just refer to your product’s use and care for instructions). For example, cast iron may show rust if left in water too long, but all it takes is reseasoning to restore it to active duty. However, there are other scenarios were old pots and pans can be unsafe to use or not performing the way they should. Here are three signs your cookware might be ready for a replacement:

  • The coating on your nonstick pans is peeling or chipping off. The occasional scratch isn’t a problem, but if the scratch is so deep that you see metal, or if bits of nonstick coating end up in your food, it’s time to go shopping. And as an FYI, nonstick cookware doesn’t have to have an expiration date. The latest technologies for the best nonstick cookware make it metal-utensil and dishwasher safe. Plus, high-quality nonstick cookware should be strong, but not toxic, and it should last a lifetime.
  • Your pots and pans are warped. This goes for any kind of cookware or bakeware. If your stainless or nonstick pots and pans are no longer sitting flat on the cooking surface—otherwise known as “out of round”—it can lead to hot spots and inconsistent results.
  • The rivets are rusting. “Mmm…rust. So delicious.” Said no one ever. Bottom line, you shouldn’t be cooking with rusted pans. Consider investing in rivetless cookware, and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.

When Should I Replace Kitchen Knives?

A set of good, quality kitchen knives should last a lifetime, and come with a guarantee that promises they will. We know that with daily use comes wear, and in most cases a little imperfection can be easily corrected—with a honing tool or by a professional. But here’s how you know when it’s simply time to replace your knives.

  • The tip of your knife is broken. More than likely, this is from dropping your knife onto a hard surface. If a large chunk is missing, first be grateful that your knife hit the ground and not your foot, and then replace it!
  • The handle fell off. This is a sign of a very, very old or low-quality knife and it needs to be replaced. Look for knives with full-tang construction—meaning the steel runs through the entire length of the handle—and a durable handle material.
  • The blade is chipped. Small nicks or grooves are part of normal wear and tear, but a large chip likely means it’s not salvageable.
  • It’s just not comfortable. A comfortable knife is key to efficient prepping. If your knives don’t feel comfortable in your hand, consider donating them and investing in a new set. One thing to consider—do you know how to hold a knife correctly? Buy a chef’s knife that features a handy grip guide.
  • Your cutting boards are very worn or warped. Regardless of material, cutting boards should be replaced if they’re not sitting flush on your countertop, or have deep or hard-to-clean grooves or cracks.

When Should I Replace Kitchen Tools?

The tools in your countertop utensil holder arguably get used the most in your kitchen, so it’s likely that some of those tools are past their prime. So, when is it time to toss? Here are a few indications.

  • Your wooden spoons are splintered, cracked, fraying, or smelly. No, no, no, and no. Cracks or gaps in wooden spoons can trap food and bacteria, leading to unpleasant smells. If you can taste your shrimp scampi in your chocolate brownie, it’s time to call it quits. Replace your old pine (or other soft wood) wooden spoon with hard wood spoons and help them live a long, healthy life by washing them quickly in hot, soapy water—NOT the dishwasher—after you use them, then let them air dry thoroughly. Don’t let them sit in water for too long, either.
  • Your spatulas or scrapers are melted, cracked, or have frayed edges. The general theme here—all of this affects the functionality of your scraper, so it’s best to let it go. Replace with a scraper that has a head made of silicone for better heat resistance, and consider purchasing a few different sizes so you always have the right tool for the job.
  • What about stained spatulas and scrapers? This is more about personal preference—a stained scraper isn’t going to perform any differently, but you can find scrapers that resist staining if you want your tools to stay pristine-looking.

What other tips do you have when you know it’s time to replace? Tell us in the comments below!

24 Responses to Spring Cleaning–Signs It’s Time to Replace Items in Your Kitchen

  1. Annette Horner March 1, 2018 at 7:36 am #

    Thank you for sharing! I heard it is a good idea to have a non stick reserved egg pan only to make scrambled eggs . . Nice!

    • Teresa Brown March 1, 2018 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks, Annette. You should check out our new non-stick 8″ pan. It’s so amazing. My husband is an Egg Flipper (turns them over in the pan with no spatula). It works perfectly every time in that pan AND you can truly cook eggs with NO GREASE if you choose, the handle comes off, you can use metal utensils AND it goes in the dishwasher! Check it out by copying and pasting this video link to your browser. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKq6KL2oucc

      • Linda Hensens March 2, 2019 at 6:57 am #

        I SO agree with you about the 8-inch nonstick skillet! It is the perfect size!

    • Mary osman March 9, 2021 at 2:37 pm #

      When ever you have a copper bottom pat. Look inside at the bottom. If it has any pits in it, it is time to throw it away. It is dangerous to use with the pits in the bottom on the inside. Please throw it away.

  2. Annette Horner March 1, 2018 at 7:38 am #

    Helpful tips!

  3. Lory March 1, 2018 at 10:23 am #

    Love this blog! Super helpful and creates a heathy environment for efficient cooking/baking!!

  4. Sheila McGinn March 1, 2018 at 11:44 am #

    Very good advice, some of the pictures of the old stuff was scary!

  5. Alice March 1, 2018 at 5:10 pm #

    Wooden cutting boards can be sanded down when grooves get deep.

  6. Deirdre Darrow March 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

    How many pans are ruined by the use of metal utensils that can scratch the surface in non-stick pans? Our new non-stick cookware is truley amazing because you can use metal utensils and it will not damage the surface!! That means no more guarding of your pans, or hiding of your metal turners and spoons. Everyone can use their favorite cooking tool! AMAZING!! And you can always get them for half price when you use the half-off host benefit by hosting a live or catalog show.

  7. Martha Cook March 20, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I think that the same thing that is valid for the wooden spoons is valid for the chopping board.

  8. Patty April 26, 2018 at 6:54 am #

    Just took out my grilling turner and it is speckled with rust. How can I get it off safely.

    • Pampered Chef April 27, 2018 at 7:53 am #

      Hi Patty, We recommend using a stainless steel cleaner per the package instructions for safely removing the rust spots.

    • Julie November 20, 2021 at 8:47 pm #

      Good tips, nice to know!

  9. Ellen Hebert August 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

    I have 7 pieces from years ago that I got at a garage sale. They have never been used. How can I prepare for use. They look like they are “dry”
    Would appreciate advice.
    Ellen Hebert

  10. Dorothy Word March 1, 2019 at 4:43 pm #

    My rice cooker is leaving the rice wet and sticky. Can I purchase a ring. The cooker is about 3 years old.

  11. Kelly Sem February 13, 2020 at 2:05 pm #

    I’ve had my original purchase 12” fryer pampered chef pan for about 12-13 years now and the center of the non-stick surface is peeling. Is there some sort of warranty that Pampered Chef stands by or am I out of luck?

    • Mindy April 5, 2021 at 4:45 pm #

      Yes, the pots & pans have a lifetime warranty.Contact your consultant and they can help you get it replaced.I just got my 12″ replaced for $15 and shipping cost.I had mine for 10 years.

  12. Jackie Lauterbach March 2, 2021 at 10:04 am #

    This is great advice. I haven’t spring cleaned my kitchen yet this year. After reading this it’s definitely time for me to do so.

  13. Elisa March 6, 2021 at 5:15 pm #

    Where does one recycle stainless steel cookware. My old ss nonstick pan is useless and I have a pot from the same brand that actually bubbled on the bottom. These were not cheap pans.😕 So far I have kept them because I hope they can be recycled.

    • Mary Arnold March 15, 2022 at 3:55 pm #

      Check with your local county refuse/ recycling center (aka the dump)

  14. Chris Keil March 9, 2021 at 10:06 am #

    Great advice. I need to look at my utensils.

  15. Kathy Hicks April 20, 2021 at 6:05 pm #

    Glad I threw away several old pans so I don’t have pictures

  16. Heather Rice April 28, 2021 at 8:44 am #

    I throw them away at the first sign of rust or any kind of cracking or breaking,thank you DG (not)

  17. Cheryl Smith October 3, 2021 at 3:30 pm #

    My PC 8″ pan is over 20 years old. I had it before I was married 25 years ago. It did great until I let my husband do the cooking. Now everything sticks in the pan. Any suggestions on care besides purchase of another? It is the same with my PC wok pan. I had to give up cooking due to health reasons. I’m so sad, my kitchen is a mess and I’ll never get back to it. I’m at his mercy. His cooking really is not that bad; I can get a good cup of hot tea and bowl of oatmeal so I really can’t complain! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

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