Do NOT Boil Your Wooden Spoons

You may have seen a TikTok video in which somebody tells you to clean your wooden spoons by boiling them in water. This person fills a pot with water, brings it to a boil, and then boils a handful of commercially-made wooden spoons for about twenty minutes. At the end, she points out how cloudy the boiled water is. She thinks she has gotten all the “dirt” out of her spoons.

I’m not going to link to the video because, frankly, it doesn’t deserve any more views.

What is actually happening in the video is that the wood itself has started to deteriorate in the boiling water. The spoons were clean to begin with. The boiling water isn’t removing food debris. What it is removing is the wood itself!

What is left floating in the boiling water isn’t food debris. It’s tiny pieces of wood!

The result is a utensil that looks very clean to the eye. But because the wood has been damaged, these spoons are probably more likely to catch and hold food debris than they were before.

Boiling your wooden utensils is a terrible way to clean them. It just wears them out prematurely. And for the record, the same thing happens when you wash them in the dishwasher.

So what is the best way to clean a wooden utensil? It’s simple. Rinse with clear, hot water and wipe them with a wet dishcloth. Set them in the dish drainer to air-dry. Use mild dish soap if you like, but you don’t really need to–unless you’ve had the utensil in raw meat.

If the original finish has disappeared, you can refresh it with one of the few vegetable oils that actually dry: walnut oil, hemp oil, or linseed/flaxseed oil. (Other vegetable oils will not dry and so will wash right off the spoon.) Flood the surface with the oil, wipe off the excess, and let it dry on a sunny windowsill for a couple days, turning occasionally.

There is never a good reason to boil your wooden utensils.

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