Knowing how to care for wood spoons will keep these wonderful kitchen tools looking good and ensure they’re safe to use.
It’s tempting to put wood spoons into the dishwasher along with other cooking utensils, but that quickly ruins them . 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.
How to Care for Wood Spoons
Why Spoons Crack
The process of cutting a spoon from a piece of wood leaves rough and sometimes sharp edges at the end of the wood’s grain. Manufacturers sand them down, of course, but every time the spoon gets wet — through use or washing — the ends start minutely fraying. These bits will eventually hold onto stains and odors.
Since frayed ends also allow moisture to penetrate the wood, the spoon 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?
Sure, wood spoons aren’t expensive. These days, you can get an entire wood utensil set for just over $10. But you should still take steps to maintain them to keep your family healthy.
See, those cracks we were discussing allow food to seep into the wood when you’re using a poorly-maintained wood 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. Don’t immerse wood spoons in water for longer than a couple of minutes. To properly wash them, use hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry 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. Oil moisturizes 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 and let it sit overnight, then rub away the excess. Repeat this any time your spoons look dull, and you’ll keep the wood from absorbing food stains and odors.
The frequency you need to care for wood spoons depends on how often you use them. I wind up oiling mine every couple of weeks and do my wood cutting boards at the same time. You’ll know it’s the time when the wood has lost its gleam.
Once you know how to care for wood spoons, you can make them last practically forever, plus they’ll be more sanitary and look better in the utensil holder on your counter.