Knowing how to care for wood spoons will keep these wonderful kitchen tools looking good and ensure they’re safe to use.
As helpful as they are, wood spoons shouldn’t just be chucked into the dishwasher along with other cooking utensils. I learned that the hard way after ruining a lovely set I’d been given. Before long, they began to look dull and dry, and then they splintered and cracked.
After replacing mine several times, I was determined to learn how to care for wood spoons rather than continually buying new ones.
Why Spoons Crack
The reason wood spoons splinter and crack has to do with the way they’re made. Wood spoons are cut from pieces of wood, a process which leaves shaggy and sometimes sharp edges. Manufacturers sand them down, of course, but every time the spoon gets wet — through use or washing — the ends start poking up again. These bits will eventually hold onto stains and odors.
Since the ends also allow moisture to penetrate the interior of the spoon, the spoon itself will eventually start split and fall apart. That’s why putting them in the dishwasher is a no-no: the heat helps the moisture seep into the wood.
Why maintain them?
Those cracks we were just discussing? They allow food to seep into the wood when you’re using your untreated spoon. Over time, that food leads to bacterial growth. You’ll also notice your spoon looks stained and may even smell bad. That’s not the kind of stuff you want to stir into the food you’re serving your family!
How To Care For Wood Spoons
1. Wash properly. Wood spoons should never be immersed in water for longer than a couple of minutes. To properly wash a wood spoon use hot, soapy water, rinse it well and dry it with a towel right away. Allowing wood spoons to air dry leaves them in contact with water too long.
2. Re-surface occasionally. If your spoons are rough and fuzzy, refurbish them with a 320 grit sandpaper or a brand new steel wool pad. Rub along the grain until the surface is completely smooth, then rinse well with water and immediately towel dry.
3. Treat them. Oiling wood spoons moisturizes the wood and provides a protective barrier. Obviously, you want to use a non-toxic oil. Many people use mineral oil, but almond, walnut, and coconut oil also work. The important thing is to saturate the wood thoroughly with the oil and let it soak in overnight, then rub away the excess. Repeat this when your spoons begin to look dull, and you’ll keep the wood from absorbing food stains and odors.
4. Maintenance. How often you’ll need to do these steps depends on how often you use your wooden spoons and utensils. I wind up oiling mine every week or so, along with my wooden cutting boards. You’ll know it’s the time when the wood has lost its gleam.
Setting aside a few minutes to care for your wooden spoons means you won’t have to replace them nearly as often, plus they’ll be more sanitary and look better in the utensil holder on your counter.