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How To Care For A Butcher Block

By Team Made In
May 3, 2020
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You're the proud owner of a butcher block. Now what?

Tip # 1 Wash It By Hand

When you finish cutting, wash your butcher block with soap and water and a lint-free rag. Be sure to wash both sides for cleanliness, as well as for uniformity. Moisture can cause your block to swell, and you don't want to end up with inconsistent sides. After it's washed, air dry your butcher block by standing it up on its side so air can circulate. Do not resort to the dishwasher! You'll warp, split or crack your block.

Tip #2 Invest In Some Oil & Conditioner

Treat your butcher block to a facial to keep it fresh and glowy. After a few weeks of heavy use, wash and dry your block the way you typically would (see tip #1) and apply a generous layer of mineral oil* with a lint-free rag over the entire surface. Let it soak in for 2-3 hours. Then, apply some wood conditioner** by hand. Rub the conditioner all over the block's surface and let it sit overnight. In the morning, buff and polish your butcher block by rubbing your rag in a circular motion.

*Use a food-grade mineral oil to maintain and restore your block. Food grade mineral oil is refined and safe for human- it's colorless, odorless, and has no taste. We used Siege Clean on our boards but any oil on Amazon that's food grade mineral oil should work just as well.

**A conditioner or cream made with natural wax will provide another level of protection. We used Howard BBC012 Butcher Block Conditioner, but you can use any wood cream that combines natural unbleached beeswax and food grade mineral oil.

Tip #3 Don't Settle for Stains

This butcher block is pre-treated with mineral oil, but that doesn't mean you won't develop a dark red stain from a rare NY Strip. When a stain or discoloration appears, sprinkle baking soda on the surface of your cutting board and work it into the block with half of a lemon or a soft sponge. When you finish, rinse the board and let it dry.

Q&A Time

Keep reading for the most common butcher block questions.

Do I really need a conditioner?

Mineral oil is the most important; however, we also highly advise using a wax based conditioner to protect the board. Mineral oil will not seal the board. Your block is an investment and could be a long-term toll in your kitchen if you take good care of it.

What's mineral oil?

Mineral oil (sometimes called liquid paraffin) is a non-toxic, non-drying oil that's colorless, odorless, and flavorless. Its properties prevent water absorption, which is why food-grade mineral oil is the best choice for wooden kitchen tools and butcher blocks. However, there are mineral oils that are not safe for human consumption; these are often used as lubricants for machinery or found in auto or hardware stores. When looking for a butcher block mineral oil be sure to include "food grade" in your search.

How do I remove scratches?

Scratches can be tough, but you can buff and smooth the surface of your butcher block by using fine grit sandpaper on superficial scratches. Be sure to wash and coat with mineral oil when you're finished. This is a long-term investment

Why do I need the block?

Every kitchen needs a safe spot for prepping ingredients and cutting portions. If you don't have a butcher block countertop, you can move this butcher block to your kitchen island and you'll be good to go. Whether you're using it as a carving board or a chopping block, this butcher block will protect your knife and your countertops. Plus, it doubles as a cheese board and serving platter!

Does this board protect me from bacteria?

Similar to a plastic cutting board, you still need to wash your butcher block after cutting raw meat. However, unlike plastic, the maple wood is naturally antimicrobial. That means it contains enzymes that stop and kill bacteria. Take that, cherry oak!

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