How to Clean & Sanitize Wooden Spoons for Safe Cooking

Keep your favorite wood utensils clean and germ-free with these easy tips.

Published March 20, 2023
washing wooden spoons

We all remember licking cookie batter off a wooden spoon in Grandma's kitchen, but keeping these classic utensils clean can be a unique challenge. Fortunately, there are some wonderful tried and true methods (plus some little-known hacks) to clean and sanitize your wooden spoons without a ton of hassle.

Killing germs on wood without damaging it can seem tricky, but it's really a matter of pulling out those household cleaning superheroes. Products like dish soap, vinegar, baking soda, and others make it easy to get and keep your wooden utensils clean.

How to Clean a Wooden Spoon Without Damaging It

Wood is sturdy, but in some ways, it's also delicate. If you clean it too harshly or soak it for too long, you can damage your favorite cookie spoon forever. Just keep your cleaning routine simple and wood-safe, and you'll be all set. Here's how.

1. Hand Wash Wooden Spoons With Mild Dish Soap

In most situations, all you need is mild dish soap and warm water to clean a wooden utensil. Use a soft dish cloth to remove any food residue, rather that a scrub brush or abrasive pad that can raise the grain on the wood and cause damage.

2. Remove Stubborn Food With Vinegar

For best results, clean spoons as soon as you use them so the food doesn't have a chance to get stuck on. We're all human, though, so it's going to happen at some point. A great hack for removing stuck-on food without damaging wood is to soak it for a few minutes in a solution of 50% hot water and white vinegar. Wash it normally.

3. Let Wooden Utensils Air Dry

You can pat a spoon dry with a dishcloth, but the wood tends to absorb a lot of moisture. Put utensils in an upright holder that lets the air flow around them. They'll dry quickly and won't stain or get musty.

Need to Know

Never clean a wooden spoon in the dishwasher, where the heat and long exposure to moisture can damage it.

Ways to Remove Stains and Odors From Wood Utensils

Even if you keep it clean, wood can still get stained and pick up odors while you're cooking with it. There are several handy solutions that can help:

  • Salt scrub - Make a scrub with coarse salt and vinegar and rub it on the stained area. This works especially well for foods like tomato sauce or curry.
  • Baking soda - Mix baking soda and water in equal parts to make a paste for scrubbing your wood utensils. This can remove odors and stains at the same time.
  • Lemon - Cut a lemon in half and rub it on the wood to get rid of odors from cooking.

How to Sanitize Wooden Spoons

Wood is porous, and over time, it can breed bacteria. The best way to sanitize a wooden spoon is by wiping it down with hydrogen peroxide. Leave the hydrogen peroxide on for a few minutes and then rinse the spoon well and air dry. This gentle method won't damage the wood.

Need to Know

Should you boil wooden spoons to sanitize them? Even though you might see this advice on TikTok, it's better not to boil your wood utensils. The super high heat might kill germs, but it can also damage the wood.

Make Cookies, Wash, Rinse, and Repeat

With proper care and cleaning, your wooden spoon can last for a long time. If you see black discoloration, cracks, or major damage, it's time to replace it. Otherwise, just plan to make cookies, wash, rinse, and repeat for years to come.

How to Clean & Sanitize Wooden Spoons for Safe Cooking