Spaghetti sauce stains are no match for these tips.

Arielle Weg
October 05, 2017

Wooden spoons are essential kitchen staples — they won't scratch pots and pans or affect the flavor of your food, and they don't conduct heat so there's no risk for burning or melting. If treated well, they can last for years in your kitchen.

It's important to clean the cookware by hand, and never use a dishwasher. Though you may not see immediate deformities in your utensils, they won't last nearly as long because the dry cycle dehydrates the wood. The key is to clean the wooden cookware properly, and season with oil to keep them fresh.

Jonathan's Wild Cherry Spoons recommends using coconut oil with a clean paper towel or cloth to prepare for wear and tear. Martha Stewart likes to use grape seed oil, because it's a neutral variety. She'll typically clean her wooden utensils and cutting boards with the oil and steel wool, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then rinse with hot water. 

But some stains just aren't preventable. If you cook with bright ingredients, like turmeric, color can spread to everything it touches, and there's a good chance your wooden utensils will be stained. But don't worry, you can fix it with these steps.

Step 1: Salt 

First, use very hot soapy water to rinse away any bacteria that may be on the wooden item. This is especially important if the utensil touched any kind of raw meat or fish. Once rinsed, pour a good amount of course salt over the top and rub a cut lemon over the surface until the salt has dissolved. The lemon should help remove any smell, and the combination will lift the stain. Once complete, rinse with cool water and set in the sun to dry. 

Step 2: Baking Soda

If salt didn't do the trick, baking soda should be able to help. A Cook's Illustrated test found this to be the most effective method in removing stains and smells from wooden surfaces. Sprinkle baking soda over the top of the item and drizzle on lemon juice. Use a clean cloth to scrub the stained area, and then simply rinse and set in the sun to dry. 

Step 3: Vinegar

Let your spoons soak in equal parts white vinegar and room temperature water overnight to really dig deep into the muck. This will also help remove any weird smells. Just soak, wash, and dry in sunlight. 

Step 4: Sandpaper 

If all else fails, sandpaper will remove a layer to reveal fresh wood and scrape away the stains. This method will also help get rid of any loose ends from use, and keep your wooden items smooth and clean. Be sure to season your utensils again after sandpapering them down, and we don't recommend trying this on any hand-crafted, coated spoons.