How To Keep Wood Spoons Like New

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Knowing how to care for wood spoons the right way keeps these wonderful kitchen tools looking good and ensures they’re safe to use.

If you’ve noticed your wooden spoons have begun to look dull, have splits or cracks, or their edges are fraying, it’s time to learn how to care for them the right way.

Problems With Wood Spoons

Overhead view of several properly cared for wood spoons

Why Wood 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.

Why Wood Spoons Split

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.

Are Wood Spoons Unsanitary?

If you know how to care for wood spoons, they’re safe to use. Letting them fray or crack, though, lets food seep into the wood. Over time, that leads to bacterial growth. You’ll notice your spoon looks stained and may even smell bad.

To keep your wood spoons safe to use and in good working condition, read on for the steps to clean and protect them.

How to Make Your Wood Spoons Last Forever

1. Wash Them By Hand Every Time

Don’t let wood spoons sit in water for more than a couple of minutes. To wash them, use hot soapy water, rinse them thoroughly, and dry them with a towel right away. Allowing wood spoons to air dry leaves them in contact with water too long. (Related: How to Clean Wood Cutting Boards.)

2. Sand Them Occasionally

If your spoons are rough or fuzzy, refurbish them with a 320 grit sandpaper or a steel wool pad. Rub along the wood’s grain to smooth the surface and then wash them.

3. Moisturize Them Routinely

A layer of oil rubbed into wood spoons helps to seal in moisture. It also acts as a barrier to stains and heat damage. Many people use food-grade mineral oil, but coconut oil works, too. Saturate the wood and let it sit overnight, then rub away the excess. Every couple of weeks is often enough. 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.

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27 Comments

  1. Lazy Budget Chef says:

    I’m such a bad person. I don’t do anything on your list to my wood spoons and that’s what I use all of the time. oops.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Might want to start oiling them, then. Rough wooden spoons allow bacteria to grow in between the fibers. Ew!

    2. Jean Bush says:

      Same here. I had an old set of spoons I used for everything for 20 yrs. Just washed in soapy water with the rest of the dishes. No splintering or cracking. Have a new set of bamboo utensils that are very smooth & easy to clean. Somehow, my soups tasted better with the old spoons, hahaha!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      LOL I think the older ones are seasoned with love!

  2. clairejustineoxox says:

    Great tips here thank you 🙂 Thanks for joining us at Creative Mondays..

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks, ClaireJustine! 🙂

  3. Heidi Tijssen says:

    Just in time! I bougth a new set of wooden spoons (and a spatula only for working butter, but I don’t think that one needs oiling) and asked myself how to keep it in good shape. To be honest, I never have seen some one oiling their wooden spoons over here!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Heidi, oiling wood spoons will make sure your investment lasts so much longer. The spatula you’ll be using for butter may or may not need it: if it starts looking dry, consider oiling it to keep bacteria out of the wood, and thus out of your butter.

  4. Bianca Gallo says:

    I have a huge bunch of wooden kitchen spoons, but until I read your post, I never gave the fact a thought that they too can be taken good care of. I thank you for all your suggestions and am hoping that by following some of them, I will have a bunch of lustrous and beautiful looking wooden spoons sitting in my kitchen.

  5. Please help! I now know how to care for my spoons thanks to your post but what would you recommend for removing stains? Should I just sand away the stains and then treat them with a wood butter? Thanks!

  6. Hello, I am a spoon carver, I have spent alot of time perfecting the finishing process of my spoons. First of all, after I finish sand a spoon or board I wet it down and allow it to dry which raises the grain. Then I resand, I do this process 3 to 4 times until the grain stops raising. Then I use 100% natural tung oil, which is FDA approved food safe finish. Tung oil is one of the few oils that will dry and leave a protective coating that lasts much longer than most other oil finishes. It also does not go rancid like olive oil or some nut oils. The tung oil process I use Involves many coats that are allowed to dry a week at a time. Yes, this is alot of effort for a spoon, but buying a handcrafted spoon can be very expensive and this is the reason. A well crafted spoon can be handed down from generation to generation. Personally I see spoons and boards as art for your kitchen.

    1. what is Tung oil and where do you purchase

  7. What about old wooden rolling pins?? I still use mine occasionally, and do sand it, but should it be oiled??

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, it’s a good idea to oil those regularly, too!

  8. SuchandSuch says:

    I received my beautiful wooden spoons last year and followed your instructions for cleaning them. My wooden spoons gets used every day and still look like new. Thanks for the great tips.

  9. OK, have a tiny drinking mug, carved from wood, untreated, I read your post to see how to care for this. (as wooden spoons are used in cooking) but not sure I want to oil as beverage picks up taste of oil.. any suggestions?

    cup is very tiny holds less than a shot, I want to use it to have alcohol with friends, but when I tell them just a taste…. this way, they cannot give me much…

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I really don’t know a good solution for that, sorry.

  10. Aarsun Woods says:

    Thanks for sharing a good ideas for cleaning wooden spoon and how to care.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      My pleasure.

  11. Thanks for the great advice! I do not use my spoons for meat or raw eggs etc, but should I still sanitize the spoons occasionally? If so, how do I sanitize?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      A good wash in hot, soapy water and a rub dry should be sufficient. Keep them oiled so their surface stays smooth and you’ll prevent bacteria from getting into the wood.

  12. Hi Katie, this might be a silly question but how exactly do you saturate the spoons (or other utensils) with oil? Could I use a brush (unused paint brush, or pastry brush, or similar) and brush the oil on that way?
    Thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That’s not a silly question at all, Kerry. You can certainly use a pastry brush if you’d like. I just use a paper towel to do it. 🙂

  13. Great tips! I’ve just invested in some rather nice quality wooden spurtles and spoons for use in my instant pots. I’ve always oiled my Boos cutting board but other than that I didn’t think much about the utensils. When I invested in Olive wood salt and pepper pots I knew I needed to keep them oiled and looking nice. Now I’ll know how to wash, treat and maintain my newly acquired wooden utensils. Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re very welcome, Lynn.

  14. I have a question about maintaining my new teak wood spurtle set. I hand washed them in hot soapy water, rinsed thoroughly, towel blotted & then air dried them for 24 hours. I then applied food grade mineral oil, let sit over night, applied a 2nd coat, let sit overnight again & then applied wood conditioner (beeswax & mineral oil compound) twice letting it sit overnight both times between applications. Now I’m ready to use them but I’m wondering (in order to keep them in tip-top shape), can I just recondition them every so often with the wood conditioner, or do I need to do the mineral oil treatment again, followed by the wood conditioner EVERY time I want to recondition the utensils? I can’t find any information anywhere on what (or which) is the best treatment one should do to maintain them AFTER you’ve been using them for awhile. I appreciate some advice! Thanks!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Sherry,
      I think I’d use one or the other, not both. I just oil things monthly.

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