Today we’re going to talk about how to care for butcher block countertops. The main reason for this is because I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to care for butcher block countertops. But the real reason is that we’ve been in the new digs for about a week, and I really miss my kitchen. Like OMG with Barbra Streisand singing “The Way We Were” miss my kitchen, you guys.
There are two parts to caring for butcher block countertops: conditioning the wood and cleaning the wood.
You’ll need to season the countertops when you first get them–much like you would an iron skillet. This means sealing them with several coats of oil until they are well-conditioned. When the wood is raw it is super thirsty and will soak up several (I believe ours took about five) coats of oil. However, when the wood is conditioned it looks rich and beautiful and drops of water should bead up on the surface.
Once your counters are seasoned initially, you’ll only need to oil about once every two to three weeks. We alternate between the mineral oil and the oil with beeswax. The beeswax just adds an extra layer of protection. Our brand of choice is Howard but just be sure that whatever oil you choose is food safe.
Generously apply the oil at night, wiping in one direction with an old, clean tshirt. Tshirts work best because they don’t leave any fuzz behind like you’d get with a rag or paper towel. Then, wipe off any excess that’s left in the morning. That’s it!
Wood has natural antimicrobial properties so most of the time, I just wipe the counter down with a damp cloth. When you really want to sterilize, I suggest filling a spray bottle with a mixture of 1 part water, 1 part distilled white vinegar, & a few drops tea tree oil. Vinegar is a cleaning agent (& the smell dissipates quickly so no worries!) and the tea tree oil is antibacterial.
That’s it! Pretty easy, right? Over time, the wood counters will get a couple stains or dings. That’s just the nature of wood. The main thing to remember is that you never want to leave a cold beverage on your butcher block. It will leave behind a ring just like it would on any other piece of wood. But I have to tell you that I loved how much the wood warmed up the kitchen. (Click here to see the before and after pics!) And yes, I have already started doodling plans for the new kitchen! More on that to come.