5 Ways To Clean A Mucked-Up Wooden Spoon

Try these methods before you toss this favorite cooking utensil.

May 6, 2016
wood spoons
Meghan Caudill

Wooden spoons are the most used out of all my kitchen tools, but they require a bit of care to stay in tip-top shape. Here are five common problems you might come across, plus how to fix them.

cleaning a wood spoon
Meghan Caudill
Food Stains

You used your wooden spoon to make curry, and now it’s yellow from turmeric. Sprinkle coarse salt onto the spoon, squeeze lemon juice over the salt, and rub the mixture around with a clean cloth. If the stain persists, repeat the above using baking soda and lemon juice instead. Rinse and dry immediately. For really tough stains, your best bet may be to sand off the discoloration. Start with a coarse- or medium-grit sandpaper and work up to a finer grit until you have a smooth surface. 

Related: 9 Surprising Uses For Baking Soda

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cleaning a wood spoon
Meghan Caudill
Funky Smell

Soak the spoon in an equal-part vinegar-water solution for five to ten minutes. If the odor persists, apply a paste of baking soda and lemon juice, and let sit for half an hour before removing. Rinse and dry immediately.

cleaning a wood spoon
Meghan Caudill
Caked-On Egg

Rinse the spoon immediately after use with cool water until the food comes off, and then clean per usual. (Warm water is more likely to continue cooking the egg.) And be sure the spoon is properly seasoned—food will be much less likely to stick to it.

Related: 7 Reasons You Need To Eat More Eggs

cleaning a wood spoon
Meghan Caudill
Spoon "Fuzz"

Over time, the grain of the wood will rise from moisture, causing the spoon to feel “fuzzy.” Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper or steel wool until the surface is completely smooth. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Depending on the amount of sanding you had to do, you may wish to apply a coat of wood butter or mineral oil to moisturize and season. It’s a similar method for How To Clean + Restore An Old Cutting Board.

 
 
cleaning a wood spoon
Meghan Caudill
Stripped Finish

Sand the spoon, starting with coarse-grit sandpaper or steel wool, making sure to even out any irregular areas. Repeat with medium- and then fine-grit sandpaper until the old finish is completely gone. Remove dust and steel wool remnants with a slightly damp cloth. Using a clean, dry cloth, liberally apply wood butter or mineral oil. Let sit for a few hours, and then apply another coat of oil. Repeat until the spoon no longer absorbs oil. Let sit for a few hours, and then wipe with a clean, dry cloth to remove any remaining oil.

wood spoons
Meghan Caudill
General Care Tips

Handwash spoons with mild soap and warm water. Dry with a towel instead of letting them air dry, as residual moisture may be absorbed into the wood and cause them to swell and crack over time. Condition with wood butter or mineral oil once a month.