The Right Way to Clean Wooden Spoons (So They'll Last Forever)

These essential kitchen tools don't require special products—but there is one thing to be aware of.

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wooden spoons on marble
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Even in the most modern kitchens with induction burners and gadgets galore, you'll see wooden spoons. These throwbacks to another era—cooks have relied on the simple, but dependable tool for forever (or close to it)—are still lovingly used daily.

Both home cooks and restaurant chefs alike usually have at least one wooden spoon in their utensil kit, and it's easy to see why. They're inexpensive, durable, and versatile. Wooden spoons can mix batter, scrape burnt bits off a pan, and stir a sauce. Unlike metal spoons, they don't hold heat (so no worries about burning your hand!), nor do they chemically react with acidic foods, such as tomatoes. They are also gentle on non-stick pans, and—unlike plastic utensils—they won't melt. And if you care for your wooden spoons properly, they will last for years to come.

Related: How to Make Your Cast Iron Skillet Last Forever

General Wooden Spoon Care

Wooden spoons do require some special care, but it's pretty straightforward. Refrain from soaking them in water or putting them in the dishwasher; occasionally, you may also need to oil them. "Since wood is porous, you want to minimize how long it's exposed to water. This can cause warping, swelling and cracking," says Eunice Byun, the co-founder of Material Kitchen.

Byun and , whose companies both include wooden spoons in their collections, shared tips for caring for wooden spoons.

How to Clean Wooden Spoons

Like any wood utensil, wooden spoons (including silicone spatulas with wood handles) should be hand-washed. Preferably, wash them shortly after use, using hot water and mild dish soap.

Chip Malt, the co-founder of Made In, prefers using lemon and some baking soda, which is also the best way to get rid of any odors your wooden spoon may have absorbed. "Scrub the surface with the cut side of a halved lemon or with a baking soda and water paste," Malt says. "Or, you can simply sprinkle baking soda on them, generously squeeze lemon juice, and let the spoon marinate for a bit. Make sure to wash it off with soapy water, and let it fully air dry."


To revive dried-out wooden spoons, periodically (once a month is sufficient, says Byun) rub them lightly with mineral, walnut, tung, or linseed oil. Ensure the oil is fully absorbed before you use the spoons.

A Mistake to Avoid When Cleaning Wooden Spoons

Prolonged exposure to water will damage your wooden spoons—so avoid soaking them in water and never put them in the dishwasher. If the wood absorbs too much water, which can happen in the dishwasher, it will swell and eventually crack. Plus, this appliance's high heat can warp the wood and degrade its finish. If you accidentally run your wooden spoons through the dishwasher, oiling should help restore them.

The Best Type of Wood for Wooden Spoons

Wooden spoons are made out of a wide variety of woods. If you're shopping for a new one, look for options made from hardwoods, including beech, cherry, maple, olive, or walnut, for the best quality.

When to Replace a Wooden Spoon

Replace your wooden spoon every five years or so, says Malt. By then, you may notice that your utensil has retained the odor or color of certain foods.

It's normal for wooden spoons to become a bit dry (see oiling tips above), but this is not a reason to replace them. Over time, however, they may split, especially if you put them in the dishwasher. This is another sign that it's time to discard them. "They are just inviting food to accumulate and spawn bacteria," says Malt.

Updated by
Bridget Shirvell

Bridget is a freelance writer for

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