In the kitchen


In the kitchen

There are minerals in your kitchen.

What do you find in your kitchen cupboards and drawers? Plates, glasses, and mugs; knives, forks and spoons. They are all made from minerals.

Can you think of any other minerals hiding in your kitchen?


illustration crystal cooking


About this resource

Science topic: Minerals

Key Stage: KS2, KS3

Type: Information

Keywords: minerals, every day use of minerals

Find out more about the minerals used in the kitchen



Knives, forks and spoons are usually made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is made by mixing molten iron with another metal called chromium which stops the steel from rusting. Iron and chromium both come from minerals.






Minerals used to make stainless steel cutlery

Illite is a clay mineral used to make house bricks and tiles.

Properties of minerals make stainless steel:

  • strong
  • rigid
  • hard
  • rustproof



Plates, bowls, cups, saucers and mugs are made from clay minerals. You may have used clay at school to make a pot or bowl. Once it has been fired clay is fairly hardwearing. It is also a good thermal insulator - so it keeps your dinner nice and warm!


crockery 933658




Kaolinite is a clay mineral used to make crockery.

Properties of clay:

  • easy to shape when wet
  • strong and rigid when fired
  • impermeable when fired
  • a thermal insulator



Drinking glasses

Most people have seen a quartz crystal, but did you know that quartz is the major ingredient of glass? Pure quartz sand is melted down, and mixed with other ingredients to make glasses of different sizes, shapes and colours.


glass 2374311




Quartz is used to make glass. It is melted down, and mixed with other ingredients to produce glass of many different sizes, shapes and colours.

Properties of quartz:

  • hard
  • rigid
  • impermeable
  • transparent (see-through)


Pots and pans

Pots and pans are made from metal - stainless steel, cast iron, copper or aluminium. All of these come from minerals. But did you know that the non-stick coating you find on many pans is also made from a mineral?

Fluorine is used to make non-stick Teflon and comes from the mineral fluorite. The same coating can even be found on your winter coat to keep it clean and waterproof.


pot 555064


Bauxite, goethite and fluorite are used to make pot and pans

Minerals used to make pots and pans

Pots and pans are made of a variety of metals, and these all come from different minerals. Some pans have a non-stick coating made from fluorine. Fluorine comes from the mineral fluorite.

Properties of minerals make pots and pans:

  • strong
  • impermeable
  • do not rust
  • conduct heat

Cans and tins

Cans for fizzy drinks are made of aluminium, which comes from a material called bauxite. It is light, easily shaped, and does not rust.

Tin cans - the cans you get your baked beans in - are actually made of steel. They are coated in tin, a metal which stops the steel from rusting. Cassiterite is the only ore of tin.


cans 22150


Bauxite, goethite and cassiterite are used to make cans and tins

Minerals used to make cans and tins

Aluminium cans and foil are made from a material called bauxite. Tin cans are made from steel and coated in tin. Steel comes from the iron rich minerals like goethite, and tin comes from cassiterite.

Properties of minerals that make cans and tins:

  • impermeable
  • do not rust
  • compressible (you can squash them)


Cleaning products

Some of the cleaning products in the kitchen are also made from minerals. Hob cleaners contain clay minerals and a chalky material called calcium carbonate.

When mixed with detergents and other chemicals, their grainy texture can clean away the toughest grime.


spray bottle 2754171





Powdered clay minerals like illite are mixed with calcium carbonate and detergents to make cleaning products.

Properties of clay:

  • breaks up easily
  • is grainy and abrasive



Salt, the mineral you can eat

Do you know which mineral you eat every day?
Halite is the mineral name for common salt - the kind you would put on your fish and chips. It is an essential part of our diet.


Spoon with rock salt




Halite is the edible mineral. You eat it every day and it is a vital part of your diet.

Properties of halite:

  • is soft
  • breaks up easily
  • dissolves in water
  • is salty


Learn about other uses of minerals