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How to Care for Wooden Kitchen Utensils

I have a fondness for wood cooking utensils.  Whenever we hit the thrift stores, I always do a quick jaunt through the kitchen section to see if I can spot any unusual or fun wood spoons, bowls, etc. Caring for wooden kitchen utensils, especially thrifted ones is a little different than metal utensils, but it’s an exercise in beauty and utility worth undertaking. 

Make a wood spoon oil from natural ingredients and care for wooden kitchen utensils with this simple method so that they can serve you well for a long time.

Because wood is porous and can contain all kinds of things I don’t necessarily want in my kitchen, I take care of it a bit differently when bringing home items from the thrift store:

Step 1: Sand

Give everything a gentle sanding, just to smooth out any rough edges and remove any stains that might be there.  Use a fine grit sandpaper here, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use the coarse stuff.

Step 2: Wash

After sanding, everything gets a bath in hot soapy water.  Give the utensils a good wash then let everything sit in the dish drainer until it’s good & dry. Wooden kitchen utensils can warp in the dishwasher, so do this by hand to be on the safe side.

Step 3: Oil

When dry, give the wood a good, nourishing oil. You can buy products to do this but a homemade wood spoon oil is easy to whip up. 

How to Make Wooden Spoon Oil:

Put the beeswax and walnut oil in the top of double boiler. Heat slowly and stir gently until the beeswax is completely melted.

Pour into a jar or tin. Allow the oil to cool and harden.

Put a lid on the container after cool and hard.

To use,  coat the utensils liberally with the wood spoon oil and spread everything out onto a clean, dry rag for the night.  Also, the wood spoon oil softens the skin, so it’s a bit of an extra bonus.

Step 4: Buff

In the morning, give everything a good buffing.  Simply use a clean cotton rag (an old t-shirt works great, too) and remove any remaining oil from the surface and buff the wood before storing.

Simple as that.  The natural variations, the grain, the colors all pop more once the oil has been applied and while that might not make any difference in their usefulness, sometimes pretty is reason enough.  The oil coating will also help your wooden items last longer, keep them from splitting, etc.  I reapply the oil to spoons, bowls, etc. already in my collection about twice a year on average. 

Make a wood spoon oil from natural ingredients and care for wooden kitchen utensils with this simple method so that they can serve you well for a long time.

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Kristen Lewis

Friday 12th of February 2021

I started making my own wooden utensils for my apothecary and nalbinding and crochet needles. Their fairly easy to make by using a drimmel tool. I have made several small spoons, one has a fork on the opposite end, a pair of hair sticks, and of course many size needles, seeing how you can use many depending on what you want to make. I never thought about oiling them, only to coat with a natural polyurethane. Thanks for the recipe for wood oi, I will definitely be using it for the care of my utensils!

Jodi wilson

Sunday 7th of February 2021

Can you just use coconut oil by itself?

Kathie Lapcevic

Thursday 11th of February 2021

The coconut oil will likely just wash right off - it may protect but not nearly as much as the added beeswax (which doesn't wash off as easily).


Sunday 27th of October 2019

I, myself enjoy carving my own spoons and other wooden kitchen utensils. To make them food grade and safe I make a bees wax paste myself. One part pure bees wax to four parts mineral oil. Just follow same recipe above to melt together. I also process my own beeswax from combs. That's a messy process and not advised to do outside of you live in the city. It will certainly attract a colony of bees.


Thursday 11th of April 2019

Thanks for sharing about wooden spoons needed oiling, I didn’t know this. It's very helpful to me


Friday 29th of March 2019

I love my wooden spoons too, I didn’t no there was a way to clean them so I was so happy to learn this method. Happy stirring!