Holiday Kitchen Prep? 3 Wood Care Tips for Tabletops, Countertops, & Butcher Blocks

You’ve decked the halls and trimmed the tree. You’re looking forward to entertaining friends and family and wowing them with festive culinary treats from your kitchen. Your holiday food preparation surfaces, countertops, and serving tables get quite the workout during this time of year.

Here are some valuable tips on cleaning and caring for the wooden surfaces in your kitchen and dining areas as you prep for the holiday magic!

Cleaning and Protecting Wooden Cutting Boards

There’s nothing quite like a wooden cutting board. They’re classics for a good reason—they provide work surfaces that won’t dull knives the way plastic or ceramic can, they last longer if cared for properly, and they’re much more attractive. Contrary to popular belief, wooden cutting boards are as safe—if not safer—than plastic because they can be cleaned more thoroughly.

But, you shouldn’t see it as just a pretty chunk of wood that doesn’t need upkeep. To keep cutting boards looking and functioning at their best, they need a little love and regular maintenance. In addition to proper cleaning after food preparation, you’ll want to show your wooden cutting board a little extra attention every couple weeks.

Holiday Kitchen Prep - 3 Wood Care Tips for Tabletops, Countertops,  Butcher Blocks 2

Be sure to remove anything stuck to your cutting board, rinse it with water, and apply a high-quality cleansing product like Natural Soap Spray. Clean around the edges thoroughly, and wash both sides. This is especially important to ensure your cutting board doesn’t warp. Wood reacts to moisture by swelling, and if it swells unevenly or only on one side, your cutting board can “cup” or twist, which is a common cause of rocking or swiveling during use.

Once thoroughly cleaned, wipe away excess moisture, place it so it’s standing upright with both faces unobstructed, and allow it to dry completely. Once dry, apply a generous layer of food-safe wood oil like our Worktop Oil, being sure to coat the sides, top and bottom, and any grooves or incised details. Let the oil soak into the board for at least 3-4 hours, gently wipe away any excess. Then, store it as you normally would.

Caring for Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher block countertops take the appeal of a wooden cutting board to the next level. They are beautiful, versatile, and add a warm glow and cozy feel to any kitchen. Be sure they look their best by cleaning them thoroughly with a high-quality product like WOCA's Intensive Wood Cleaner.

Scrub against the woodgrain until they’re spotless, and rinse with a clean, wet sponge or cloth. Don’t saturate the butcher block with too much water, and dry it thoroughly afterward with a soft, clean dishtowel.

You’ll want to regularly oil butcher block to protect it and keep it looking its best. For newer butcher block counters, oil them weekly so the wood can absorb the oil. Butcher block counters more than a few months old only require treatment once a month.

Flooring, Tabletops, and other Wooden Surfaces

Ensure your home looks its best for holiday guests and protect wooden food prep surfaces against the increased use they’ll see as you entertain throughout the season. You can clean and maintain these wooded surfaces thoroughly with the same wood-safe sprays, cleaners, and food-safe worktop oils mentioned above. Apply a high-quality finishing oil to lock in beauty and give them a buffer against any bumps or scuffs. (Sometimes, rolling out those gingerbread cookies takes a lot of muscle!)

For best results and even application, consider a tool like our Patina Disc. It makes a one-coat application easier, with the added benefit of smoothing and honing the wood as you apply the oil.

Enjoying the Natural Beauty of Wood During the Holidays

The holidays are about gathering with the people we love to celebrate good times and make more good memories. As you brave holiday kitchen prep, take one layer of stress off your soldiers by ensuring your wooden surfaces will be protected before, during, and after the celebrations.

Your guests will enjoy the bright shine of well-treated wood, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing you’ve protected your investment and its beauty long after the holidays.

Now, let's get cookin'!

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