Caring for Wooden Kitchen Utensils

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Caring for wooden kitchen utensils is an important task when we use them so often. Here are a few tips to keep your beautiful, handmade pieces in great shape for years to come.

A wooden spoon on a spoon rest

Many years ago, our kitchen drawers will filled with plastic spatulas, spoons, cutting boards, and more. Eventually, I learned how potentially harmful having plastics around our food could be.

When we moved to Alaska, I started seeing beautiful, hand-carved wooden utensils at local shops. I slowly started to replace the plastic utensils in our kitchen with wooden ones. I love the rustic, old-fashioned look in our log home.

A cast iron skillet with a wooden spatula

Now our kitchen is full of sturdy, all-natural pieces that I use every day. Along the way, I learned how to properly care for our wooden kitchen utensils so that they will hold up under all of the use.

It might add a few minutes to your routine but using wooden kitchen utensils is well worth the extra effort. Not only are they beautiful and timeless, they are much better for us as well.

Why Use Wooden Kitchen Utensils

Wooden kitchen utensils have been used throughout history. It wasn’t until more recently that plastic, metal, and silicone have made their way into our kitchens.

People have been carving their own tools for meal preparation for a long time. Wood is naturally antibacterial so it makes sense to use it around food. Wooden utensils won’t scratch or damage your dishes or leach chemicals either.

A wooden cutting board with a loaf of bread and a bread knife on it

Here are wooden utensils that we use in our kitchen:

I still keep a few stainless steel utensils as well for certain jobs. These include a ladle, tongs, a whisk, grilling tools, and of course, regular silverware. But I’m always on the lookout for interesting new wooden pieces to add to our collection!

How to Clean Wooden Kitchen Utensils

Cleaning wooden kitchen utensils doesn’t need to be a bother. It’s a quick and easy task that won’t take you a lot of extra time.

I enjoy caring for pieces in our kitchen that are meaningful to me. Hand washing pottery, cast iron, and wooden utensils takes a little extra time but I don’t mind. I enjoy slowing down after a busy evening in the kitchen and getting it all cleaned up for the new day.

A jar of sourdough starter with a wooden stirrer

The most important thing to remember is to limit exposure to water. It’s no secret that too much water will damage raw wood. Follow these steps and you won’t have to worry:

  • Hand wash using dish soap and a sponge, as you would hand wash any other dishes.
  • Dry off with a clean towel.
  • Allow to air dry completely before putting away.
  • Do not soak in water! Instead, use a sponge to scrub off any stuck on food.
  • Do not put in the dishwasher! Only wash by hand.

If your utensils get stained from stirring tomato sauce or berries, no need to panic. Over time, the stain will go away. Scrubbing with lemon juice or a baking soda paste can help remove the stain more quickly.

The same goes for odors. If onions or other foods leave a smell behind, simply rub with half a lemon or a baking soda paste to remove it.

How to Care for Wooden Kitchen Utensils

With proper care, your wooden kitchen utensils will last a very long time. Even the pieces that you pick up at an antique shop will continue to be useful in the kitchen with extra care.

Following the instructions for cleaning your wooden utensils properly is the best way to make them last. But there are a few other tricks that will help even more.

Purple rag with bottle of wood oil and a butter paddle

A couple of times a year, it’s a good idea to oil wooden kitchen utensils. They can start to dry out with constant use and washing so oiling them will help to keep them smooth. You might choose to oil your wood more often, depending on how much it is used and how dry it gets. If it starts to feel rough to the touch, go ahead and oil it.

I use a food-grade, all-natural wood oil that I buy at a local wood store. Don’t use cooking oils as they can go rancid. I use this oil for all of my wooden utensils, bowls, and even our handmade oak table that we brought back from Germany. It works great and since I use very little at a time, a bottle lasts me a while.

Here’s how to oil wooden kitchen utensils:

  • Make sure the wood is clean and dry before you add the oil. Allow it to sit out and air dry completely if you have just washed it.
  • Apply the oil using a clean, lint-free cloth. Rub the oil all over the piece.
  • Allow the oil to sit for several hours or overnight to give it time to soak in.
  • Wipe off any remaining oil with the cloth.

I also like to make my own homemade spoon butter to oil my wooden kitchen utensils with. It only has two natural ingredients and is so easy to make. Find the instructions for spoon butter here!

How to Store Wooden Kitchen Utensils

Wooden kitchen utensils can be stored in a kitchen drawer, cabinet, or left out on the counter. I love seeing our beautiful, handmade wooden utensils so I leave all of them out.

A wooden bowl with fish-shaped wooden salad scoopers

Cutting boards leaning against the wall and spoons, spatulas, and stirrers sit in a crock. Not only are they decorative but they’re easily within reach since I use them often.

If you choose to tuck your wooden kitchen utensils away to keep your counters clear, just be sure they’re dry after washing before putting them away.

Local, handmade wooden kitchen utensils make excellent gifts. Adding a wood-burned design makes it even more unique! Here are a few of my favorite places in Alaska to find beautiful pieces for our kitchen:

Fill your kitchen with wooden utensils and not only add a rustic, old-fashioned look to your counters but prepare your family’s food in a healthier way too. With a little extra care, you’ll be handing these pieces down for years to come.

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