How to Clean Wooden Cutting Boards and Spoons

Give these kitchen workhorses a little TLC.

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Next to your chef's knife, wooden cutting boards and spoons are probably the most used tools in your kitchen. If you're lucky, you've probably been cooking with some of the same boards and spoons for years.

While scrubbing them well with antibacterial dish soap and hot water is important (especially to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria), it's also a smart idea to keep them in good condition so they will last longer. Oiling your wooden kitchen tools will prevent them from cracking and warping, makes their surface smoother, and can restore their original finish. And it requires very little effort.

First, you'll need some oil. But don't reach for the kind that's in your pantry. Unlike olive, canola, and other vegetable oils you can cook with, you'll need food grade mineral oil, which won't turn oxidize and turn rancid. Make sure your cutting board (or spoon) is very clean and allow it to dry completely. Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to spread a thin, even layer of the mineral oil all over the wood (front, back, and sides) until it is completely covered. Place the board on another clean kitchen towel and let the oil soak in for a few hours or overnight. After the oil has soaked in, use the towel to wipe off any excess oil, if needed. Repeat the process if necessary. (Mineral oil will also keep butcher-block countertops looking good as new.)

Wooden Cutting Board

To keep your wooden kitchen tools in good shape, reoil them when they look dry. And be sure to dry them completely after they have been washed. Wet wood will warp and crack, which is why you should never wash wooden cutting boards and other kitchen tools in the dishwasher. Keep them clean, well-oiled, and dry and you'll enjoy them for years.

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