Skip to main content

What you should do to keep condiments from leaving a sticky mess

Nobody likes a sticky kitchen mess. They’re hard to clean up, plus they can attract all sorts of pests. But if you’re a condiment lover, you’re probably overly familiar with these spills. At some point, you’ve probably opened your pantry to a mysterious puddle forming on the shelf. These messes, while annoying, are fortunately pretty easy to avert with a bit of creativity and planning. Keep reading to learn more about cleaning up and preventing messes from condiments in your refrigerator and pantry.

Woman cleaning inside fridge with gloves and spray
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Clean up the mess

Before you take any measures to prevent spillage, clean up any existing messes. Wipe up any fresh spills using a paper towel or reusable cloth. If the residue is sticky or tough to remove, wet a cloth with hot water and lay it on top of the stain to soften it. After five minutes (or longer for stuck-on messes), you should be able to wipe it off with ease. You can use your favorite store-bought cleaner or try this DIY, all-natural kitchen cleaner from The Kitchn.


• 16-oz spray bottle
• 1 cup distilled white vinegar
• 1 cup water
• 3 drops tea tree oil
• 3 drops grapefruit oil


This cleaning product is super easy to make. Pour the vinegar and water into the spray bottle — you can use a funnel if needed. Then, slowly add the essential oil drops. Close the lid tightly and shake the bottle to allow the ingredients to combine fully. Spray as needed on your kitchen surfaces and wipe the area clean. The oil tends to separate and sit at the top of the mixture, so it helps to give it a good shake before every spritz.

Wipe off the bottle before storing

Condiment containers often leak from the opening at the top. With a twist-off cap, liquid can get stuck in the grooves of the lid. Over time, gravity causes the food to drip down, out of the cap and onto your shelf. Even flip-up tops can become covered with food after use. And when you close the cover, the excess can seep out of the sides and create a mess. However, you can easily avoid this situation by wiping down the opening and the lids of your sauce bottles before storing them to remove any excess food that could cause a potential spill. By cleaning the tops of the containers after every use, you can avoid most sticky leaks.

Variety of condiments in serving bowls
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Make sure the container isn’t cracked

Leaky lids aren’t the only things that cause gooey pantry messes. Your bottle may be leaking because it is damaged. Containers can break while you’re transporting them from the grocery store to your home. But if the damage is minimal, you may not notice right away until you see a small puddle forming in your pantry. Freezing condiments can also damage the containers. While it may extend the shelf-life of your favorite sauce, the temperature change causes the liquid to expand and contract, potentially cracking the bottle in the process.

Inspect your condiment containers for signs of damage. If you find one, first check to ensure the air exposure hasn’t caused the food to spoil prematurely. If it’s still safe to eat, transfer the remaining sauce to an airtight container and dispose of the broken one.

Place something under the bottle to catch the runoff

Messes are hard to avoid altogether, especially in the kitchen. If you want to be extra cautious, place something under your condiments to collect any spillage and make cleaning your kitchen surfaces a breeze.

You have two main options for your spill catchers: reusable or disposable solutions. For those who want sturdy, easily cleanable options, place your messy condiments in ramekins, small bowls, or saucers. If you want something that you can throw away and replace when it gets dirty, consider laying down paper towels or placing the bottle inside cupcake liners. With refrigerated sauces, you can use Alton Brown’s technique. Reuse the bottom of an empty egg carton to keep bottles in place while stored upside-down and catch any food that dribbles out.

No meal is complete without your favorite condiment. But unfortunately, the sticky sauces can be some of the messiest items in your kitchen. No matter where you store them, it seems like these containers are always leaking. When undertaking the de-gunking process, you want to start with a clean surface. Then, wipe down the bottle openings and lids after every use. Look for cracks in the containers, and place something underneath the bottles to catch any dribbles. With these simple steps, you can protect your kitchen surfaces and save more of your beloved condiments for mealtime

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

Editors' Recommendations

Shannon Cooper
Freelance writer
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
5 kitchen tools you didn’t know you needed
Happy couple cooking together

Most of us will acquire, over time, the various kitchen tools and countertop appliances that are basically staples — a toaster, maybe a blender, a hand mixer, maybe a knife set. But what about those extra-handy kitchen tools that may be flying beneath your radar? The kitchen tools that no one really thinks to buy for you as a housewarming or wedding gift, but that are useful all the same? Could you be seriously missing out? Here are five kitchen tools you probably don’t have, but that you should definitely add to your culinary arsenal sooner rather than later. 

If you’ve been growing bored with your same ol’ cooking routine, liven things up with a new tool or technique. Make fresh guacamole using your new mortar and pestle, or cook up a batch of your favorite Italian dish using pasta that you made yourself. Or, impress your friends (or just your Instagram followers) with a whipped coffee or latte art. Adding one of the above kitchen tools to your life might just solve a cooking quandary you never knew you had. Who knows? You might just find that you love one of these less-popular cooking tools so much that it becomes your go-to housewarming or wedding gift. 

Read more
Cutting Boards That Will Make You Feel like a Professional Chef
Sliced apples on a cutting board

Cutting boards are an essential part of any kitchen. They allow you to cut, dice, and slice your food without ruining your countertops. In addition, they help keep your kitchen clean and family safe by preventing the spread of bacteria through cross-contamination. 

However, you do not want to grab just any cutting board. High-quality cutting boards, like the ones meant for food service, are not sold just to restaurants. They are also available to the general public to help take your home cooking to the next level. 

Read more
5 things you should have for the family car
woman at airport unloading suitcase from car while wearing a mask

Having a car is one of the highest of necessities for a convenient life. That convenience includes maintenance of your car from the interior to the exterior. It will require products that can help you uphold the value of your car. Whether planning for your next road trip or car ride with your family or friends, it’s important that your car has the right tools and essentials for maintenance. From ensuring your car is in top shape, you will be glad you were prepared for any mishaps. With these five products, you’ll be ready to properly care for your car.

Be sure to take the necessary steps to maintain your car. It’s as simple as a weekly vacuum for cleanliness or checking the tire pressure to ensure your safety. Don’t forget that your car is an investment that can be of benefit for you and your family for years to come. More importantly, it will bring you peace of mind when you know that your car is clean and in top shape to take you wherever you need to go.

Read more