Grossed out by the amount of miscellaneous crumbs that found their way into the plastic silverware tray, I cleaned it out. That was about 2 weeks ago. Not a thorough scrubbing, by any means, but I took out all the silverware and used a damp paper towel to get the crumbs out. Well, like the swallows of Capistrano, the crumbs are back. A mouse's feast. How?
You know what I don't ever do? Prepare food, wipe the counter, eat directly over the silverware drawer when it's open. The drawer remains closed for those events. I found rice in there, man! WTF? The 2 adjacent drawers, one holds cutting boards, the other plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc., were completely devoid of a single crumb—and I never clean those out. So, why the silverware drawer?
Silverware tray manufacturers concede that crumbs in the damn tray is a thing, and enough of a known nuisance to make mesh versions that let crumbs fall through to a catch-all bottom tray. After photographing my silverware drawer and seeing how unsightly and beat up it is I did scrub it and those dark smudges aren't going anywhere. Maybe I'll consider getting a new one. We have had that one for over 20 years and maybe a snazzy wire mesh tray would be just the extra spice needed around here…nah, we're good.
One theory someone proposed on the internet was that when taking out or replacing silverware, crumbs may fall off of your sleeve. What? I'm walking around with crumbs on my sleeve? Where are all the sleeve crumbs in the plastic baggies drawer? I'm in there all the time and it's always in concert with some kind of food preparation or storage. Here's my best theory: Dishwashers (or hand washing) don't get off every speck on the silverware. A crusted piece of food grows brittle in the drawer, gets jostled around when other utensils are grabbed for, and comes off in the tray. We're pretty good about overseeing the cleanliness of the utensil before it goes into the drawer, but I suppose some could slip by. Second best theory: Elves.