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.
Problems With Wood Spoons
Sometimes They 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.
Sometimes They 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.
They Can Become Unsanitary
The fraying and cracks discussed above can eventually let food seep into your wooden spoon. Over time, that food leads to bacterial growth. You’ll also notice your spoon looks stained and may even smell bad.
It’s far better to learn how to care for wood spoons by cleaning them properly and protecting them against cracking and stains.
How to Clean and Protect Wood Spoons
1. Wash them properly. 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. (See also how to clean wood cutting boards.)
2. Re-surface them occasionally. If your spoons are rough or fuzzy, refurbish them with a 320 grit sandpaper or a brand new steel wool pad. Rub along the wood’s grain to smooth the surface and then wash them.
3. Moisturize them with oil. 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 with the oil and let it sit overnight, then rub away the excess. Repeat this any time your spoons look dull.
4. Repeat as needed. How often you need to treat your wood spoons depends on how often you use them. For most people, 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.