How to sanitise and care for your wooden utensils at home

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Are your wooden utensils sanitary or should you throw them away?

Have you taken a good look at your wooden utensils and think, "Oh wow, this looks really dirty. Maybe I should throw it out?"

Hold that thought for a moment because usually, it isn't just the wooden spoons and spatulas we're talking about here. There's also wooden cutting boards and other wooden tools in your kitchen that you use on a daily basis. Do we really need to throw everything out? How can we tell? To answer this question, let us try to get to know the properties of wood a little better.

The benefits of wooden utensils

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The first kitchen utensils were made mostly of wood for a good reason. Our ancestors might not have known about the antibacterial properties found in wood but they definitely knew about its durability.

Apparently, trees have in them the natural ability to fight off infection, bacteria and mould even when it is no longer attached to the living plant. Their properties remain the same; meaning the wood still has cells that repel bacteria as well as mould.

Wooden utensils are also great when you have non-stick cookware because unlike metal utensils, they will not scratch or ruin the top coating. And before they are sold, all wooden utensils including cutting boards would have been treated with mineral oils. What this does is create a barrier on the surface that prevents bacteria from residing.

Tips on how to care for your wooden kitchen utensils

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  1. Hand-wash wooden utensils with hot water and mild dish soap. Refrain from washing them in the dishwasher as the constant high-temperature water could dry them out and make them crack.
  2. Use a clean towel to absorb as much water as it can from the wooden utensils and then allow it to air-dry completely before putting them away.
  3. A good tip to restore wooden spoons or cutting boards that are starting to look dry is to occasionally rub them with mineral oil or beeswax compound. Do not use vegetable or olive oil because these types of oil can go bad.
  4. To remove strong odours and flavours coming from garlic, oil or any other strong smelling food, rub the wooden surface a lemon cut in half or with a paste made of baking soda and vinegar. Either method will help neutralize the odour.
  5. If your wooden kitchen utensils start to show signs of wear and wear, they can be sanded down gently with fine sandpaper then followed by a layer of mineral oil or beeswax compound.

When to throw them out

  1. Throw out any wooden utensils that have cracks or split because food could get trapped in the cracks. On average throw out any wooden kitchen utensils that are more than 5 years old.
  2. You don't need to throw out stained wooden kitchen utensils especially cutting boards. The stains will fade over time with some scrubbing.
  3. Throw away cutting boards that are distorted in shape because an uneven surface is not safe to cut on.

Have you tried out any of these tips before this? If you invest some time into taking care of your wooden kitchen utensils with the help of these tips, they should last you and your family for a quite long time.