Wooden utensils are present in almost every family in the world. They are durable and very intriguing with their natural decorations. However, without proper caring and cleaning methods, wooden utensils are more prone to break and lose their initially beautiful look after a few months. Sometimes, wooden tools can be a fertile land for fungi and bacteria to grow. You don’t like it, do you?
Knowing how to clean wooden utensils can make them last for decades. That urges me to get down to writing this article with a thought of supplying you all handy knowledge of caring for lovely wooden tools.
First thing first, you need to check if your wooden utensils are having any problem, so that you can handle them with appropriate care.
Problems with wooden utensils
Wood is a natural material, and in certain conditions, such as high temperature, it can act weird. Here, I have gathered some common problems with wooden tools that you can see below.
Fungi tend to live on the wooden surface in high temperature and moisture. When they cover the surface, you may be horrified by a “field” of small mushrooms.
Wooden utensils, especially wooden kitchen utensils, tend to remain various odors that can barely eliminate. Using too much water and detergent does not help much and may increase the risk of absorbing detrimental chemicals.
Loss of gloss
Most people find their wooden utensils unattractive after a short time because they cannot make the gloss remain forever!
Some stains can even stay on the surface of the wood, which is unacceptable! This is caused by high moisture or after the wood experiences strong substances.
How to clean wooden utensils
Now that I have covered common problems with wood, I would like to show you how to clean them. You should not use much water to clean wooden tools because it increases the risks of fungal invasion! Here I have gathered some wise ways dealing with the problem of how to clean wooden utensils.
Right way to clean wooden tools after use
Some frequently used wooden tools like kitchen utensils need washing immediately after use to avoid the soaking process. Wood absorbs water and bacteria when soaked in the dishwasher. You should clean the utensil by hand, with mild detergent and cleaning tools, in warm water. Then, dry the utensil immediately right after washing with a clean towel, avoiding any chance of wood absorbing water. In fact, moisture may cause the wood to crack or warp.
Alert: Never use the dishwasher for cleaning wooden kitchen tools! The rapid drying process is harmful to wood’s sustainability and flexibility.
To remove stains and fungi
Unused wooden tools may carry some food stains and fungi after a long time without cleaning. To disinfect or clean the tool, you may need some bleach to tackle. I prefer mild bleach such as hydrogen peroxide and natural cleaning resources like lemon juice and baking soda. They are not very skin irritating and does not detriment your health.
TIP: You should use gloves when using potentially skin-irritating bleach.
Clean with baking soda and lemon juice
You should use a proper amount of baking soda together with lemon juice squeezed upon the tool. The amount of baking soda needed depends on the utensil’s size, start at a teaspoon or a spoon. Then, apply all of the mixtures onto the surface of the wood with your hand or a scouring pad. In this process, I add some salt for more effective cleaning.
Wait for some minutes and rinse the utensil with water. Repeat the process if food stains still remain.
Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect
If the utensil you want to clean is small enough, soak it in hydrogen peroxide and scrub it. Use your sponge or any scouring pad to clean the surface of the utensil if it’s too large to be soaked. Leave it in the liquid for some minutes and finally rinse it with clean water. Repeat the process for best effect.
To remove odors
Wooden kitchen utensils like spoons, bowl or anything dealing with food often carry food odors that can be hard to discard. Then, use vinegar or bleach to remove them.
Vinegar is a safe bet. To keep the odors at bay, soak the utensil in a mixture of vinegar and hot water. After a few minutes, rinse the utensil with water and completely dry it with a towel. Lemon juice is recommended if you hate vinegar smell.
Bleach or vodka
Bleach is not only good at removing stains and fungi, but it’s also an awesome odor killer. Mix bleach with water in 1/20 rate. Vodka, which is an alcoholic substance, can kill germs and fungi, which can effectively make your utensils free of moldy and musty smell.
Caring for smoothness and polish
Long time used wooden utensils tend to experience fuzziness and loss of gloss. To deal with frayed grains, use steel wool or sandpaper to smooth the surface of the tool gently. After that, use some water while rubbing for the best result.
How to extend wooden tools’ lifespan
To maintain wooden utensils in the best condition, I highly recommend you use a wide range of oil. For me, I am particularly fond of natural oil for best health effects. If you are allergic to natural oil, then use non-toxic oil instead. Remember to check the product’s validity.
Here are my favorite kinds of oil:
- Mineral oil, very effective. Wood absorbs the oil instantly remains glossy. It’s also safe for your health.
- Coconut oil
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Non-toxic oil
Use a small towel soaked in oil, then rub the surface of the utensil. Wait for about 20 minutes and then wipe the surface again using no oil.
These oil types are not harmful to your health, so if you want to maintain your wooden cooking tools with oil, I guarantee they are safe!
As I said, wood may be affected by fungi and stains, which can cause the smell, in humid conditions. Therefore, if your place is damp all the time, use a humidifier.
Wood is such a fabulous source for making perfect utensils. Apply all the advice that I have offered here on your tools, you will see a surprisingly pleasant outcome. Hope you enjoy reading this.