Ever wonder how to take care of butcher block countertops, and wooden cutting boards? I have all of the tips and tricks to keep them lasting.
Have you ever taken just a moment to think about how much use your butcher blocks and cutting boards are used each day? Taking this a step further, how often do you truly clean, maintain and protect the surface?
A good butcher block can be a fixture in your kitchen. The wood is durable yet forgiving on the blade of a knife, they demand care and respect, and can be refinished countless times. With this in mind and with timely maintenance, your butcher block can become an heirloom piece and family treasure. Because of the treasured relationship I share with my butcher block; what, with the constant use and all, I’d like to share with you helpful tips to keep your blocks and cutting boards clean and maintained.
Unlike standard wood finishes for furniture and cabinets, the wood in butcher block countertops, blocks and cutting boards is designed to come in direct contact with food and is finished with oils that are free of harsh chemicals and not harmful if ingested. Because of this, the wood is less durable and with all of the use of knives, moisture and other food prep abuse, you’re left with a dry and un-smooth surface. One that will slurp up water, continuously keeping the surface dried out.
How To Care For Butcher Block Countertops And Wooden Cutting Boards
The most important thing you can do for your butcher block is to keep it clean. Wipe it down after each use, and here is my #1 cleaning recommendation: equal parts white vinegar and water; spray this on the surface and let it sit for a few minutes, then give it a mild scrub and wipe clean with a soft cloth. I’ve read up quite a bit on the powers of white vinegar, and studies have shown that acetic acids in white vinegar serve as a powerful disinfectant, ridding butcher blocks of bacteria like E Coli and salmonella.
Another cleaning option is to use a mild detergent along with warm water. This works well, too. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that when raw meats or fish touch the surface, then a warm soapy water cleanup, followed up by the vinegar solution spritz, is required. The main thing is to stay away from strong chemical cleaning agents as they can leave unhealthy residue on these beloved butcher-block surfaces.
Got stains? Try to wipe them up the minute they happen, but if left to sit, here are a couple tips:
Lemon and salt. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the stain. Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side over the salt in a circular motion and continue rubbing until the stain has disappeared.
Baking soda and water. Make a paste with the baking soda and water and rub over the stain. Let the paste sit for a few hours or even overnight. Wipe clean with a wet, soft cloth.
If the stain is still there, then a light sanding with a fine gauge, 220 grit sandpaper will do the trick. Lightly sand the stained surface and its surrounding area with the sandpaper, following up with a spritz of the vinegar / water solution. Wipe clean.
And finally to preserve your butcher block, a finishing oil is a must. I swear by Boos Mystery Oil I apply the finishing oil every week or so, and the process simply involves cleaning the surface and then liberally applying the oil to surface by hand or with a soft rag. And too, don’t forget about the sides of the butcher block. Let the oil sit on the block for about a half hour, then wipe the excess off. If there are drier areas on the block that need additional oil, then by all means, apply it and repeat the process. Don’t substitute this method with vegetable or cooking oil, as over time, these oils will sour and become rancid.
Follow these helpful tips! Preserving your butcher blocks and cutting boards isn’t particularly difficult work, and there’s not beating the payoff.
Lydia Wantzinreed says
Thanks so much Brooke. I read your post, got the cleaning stuff and cleaned my butcher block and all my cutting boards. They look much better and I feel good that I did clean them.
Amy Lynn Fedigan says
Brooke- I was literally in need of this tip this week. Great timing! Stay warm in this winter wonderland!
Sending love from,
Amy and the Milford, CT Fedigans