We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but…

By Meghan Overdeep
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Sure, it looks better than plastic, but that's not the only thing to love about having wood in the kitchen. Wooden cutting boards and utensils—particularly those made from pine and oak—also have natural antibacterial properties that can help stop the growth of bacteria.

Though their ability to limit the spread of germs means wood products are safer to use over a longer period than their plastic counterparts, they don't last forever. According to The Kitchn, you can tell it's time to toss your wood utensils and cutting boards as soon as cracks start to appear.

Cracks can occur in wooden spoons and cutting boards for a number of reasons. Exposure to extreme temperatures and excess moisture (we're looking at you, dishwashers) can be enough to weaken the wood and cause cracks to form. Unfortunately, even the tiniest, thinnest cracks can trap bits of food and bacteria, turning your beloved kitchen essentials into hideouts for disease-causing germs.

When you see a crack, it's better to be safe than sorry. Luckily, you can prevent wooden utensils from cracking by taking proper care of them. This means hand-washing them with hot water and mild dish soap as well as giving them an occasional rub down with a non-food based mineral oil or beeswax.