Don't trust your rust. Ever noticed little rust spots on your cutting knives? Yes, they are more than simply ugly, yes, the foods you're cutting are being exposed to rust and yes, unfortunately this could be unhealthy for you. If your utensils are showing visible rust, they're already a bit past their prime and could do with some updating. Kitchen utensils are easily overlooked for being so common, but for the same reason they're constantly in need of your careful attention; you are preparing your food with them every day!

Frazzled plastics. High density plastics, as used in such kitchen utensils as spatulas or egg flippers, are a wonderful alternative to the usual bevy of commonly used metals. They are flexible, guaranteed never to rust, and usually quite strong to boot. However, these plastics are not without their own drawbacks, as anyone that's ever left their plastic spatula too long upon the rim of a hot skillet knows all too well. Repeated accidental burns or even repeated usual exposure to heat throughout the course of duty can cause these plastics to begin to fray and come apart. While most of them are non-toxic, they nevertheless pose a risk of making your egg turnover just a little crunchier than intended as tiny bits begin to drop off and into your food. Check your plastic utensils for burn damage or worn surfaces from repetitive motions and replace them immediately.

The secret lives of kitchen knives. Though it's true a well cared for top quality kitchen knife could provide you with decades of service, it's important that you check your knife now and again for signs of damage or chipping. Chipping can be extremely hard to spot but, unfortunately, whether or not you spot it in time, you could be ending up with flakes of metal in your dinner. In order to prevent this, make sure you clean your knife right after use, dry it immediately after that and sharpen it as recommended in your owner's manual. Proper care of your knife can extend its lifespan dramatically. Definite no-no's include allowing your knife to sit out with grease, tomato or other food stains, as the oils and acids inside them will slowly break down the integrity of your knife.

Your nose knows. In the case of plastic or rubberized specialty utensils, such as measuring cups or spoons, a funky and persistent odour could be a sign of harmful bacteria build-up. Do your measuring cups retain their unpleasant smell even after being thoroughly washed with soap and water? The soft plastics commonly used in these kitchen utensils are very susceptible to suffering small nicks and abrasions in the course of normal cooking duty. Following contact with raw egg, butter or any other medium prone to support bacteria, your plastic ware could become deeply infected and an ideal home for entire colonies of potentially harmful little invaders. If your plastics have an air you just can't shake, it's better to be safe than sorry and replace the whole lot.