Author Topic: What to clean butcher block counter tops?  (Read 4544 times)

Offline ShabbyChic

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What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« on: February 22, 2009, 10:16:28 AM »
Hey we are remodeling our kitchen and going with butcher block wooden counter tops.  So what can I use to clean them and keep them sanitary?  I know that if I keep them oiled then they'll be resistant to mold, stains and bacteria getting down into the grain.  The question is which oil is food safe? 

Anyone?
That's Shabby SHEIK not Shabby CHICK.  Hee-hee.

Offline thus_I_fight

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"I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills." Habakkuk 3:19

Offline petrimama

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 05:18:30 AM »
Sounds like this might be a lot of maintenance for a busy kitchen.  Not to mention that it would be expensive to buy all that almond oil!  ~L

Offline ladyhen

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2009, 10:54:53 AM »
shabby, 

We put butcher block in our kitchen when we remodeled and I just love it!  We have wooden countertops on either side of the stove and on a freestanding 6 ft. long island.  Our countertops were custom made and are 3 1/2 inches thick. 

When we first got them, my husband set them on top of buckets in the workshop and covered them liberally with raw tung oil.  Every few days he would wipe them down with terry rags and re-apply the oil.  I think he did this at least four times.  Then he kept them in the heated workshop for a week or so before bringing them in and installing them.  They are well saturated with tung oil!   I clean them daily with a terry cloth damp rag.  They clean easily.  About 2 or 3 times a year, as needed, my husband or I scrape them with an edge of either glass or a straight knife to remove scratches before reapplying a coat of oil. 

My husband and I aren't concerned about the counters harboring germs.  Wood has the ability to naturally kill germs on it's surface. 

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/349

http://www.rhtubs.com/wood-bacteria.htm

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;    Titus 2:13

Offline petrimama

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 05:39:39 AM »
That sounds MUCH more practical!  Daily or even weekly would be burdensome for me.  ~L

Offline stebs7

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 12:33:58 PM »
Thanks, Ladyhen, for the links.  I had read that years ago as well - but never could find that again - that is so interesting, isn't it?

We have a large butcher block made from beechwood on top of  our wooden countertop - that we use to cut on - it is over 3 ft long by  1 1/2 ft.  We have never coated it with anything and have had it for 10 years.  We just wash it down - or take a knife to scrape off things.  For meat though, I put some newspaper on it - then another smaller wood cutting board on he paper  - afterwards, I take that one to the sink and pour boiling hot water on it - which cooks the raw meat bits that are left on it :) and then we wash it.  The newspaper gets burned in our wood burning cook stove.  I hate plastic cutting boards :)

Blessings, Nancy

Offline herbalmom

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 01:01:11 PM »
When we first got them, my husband set them on top of buckets in the workshop and covered them liberally with raw tung oil. 

Be sure to get good quality tung oil to be sure it's food safe. This site is selling tung oil but it is also a good explanation of why you need to be careful which kind you buy.

http://www.realmilkpaint.com/oil.html

HTH Blessings ~herbalmom

Offline mommie

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 02:05:40 PM »
This topic is of great interest to me cause we just put butcher block in our kitchen. We got it from IKEA though and its probably only 1 1/4" - 1 1/2" thick. It splits CONSTANTLY and stains SOOOO easy. I have to wipe it down every second, can't let water sit on it or it creates more splits. I left my laundry soap container on the counter one day and now my counter has a stain from the residue on the bottom of the jug. I left a container of  Castile soap on the counter...same problem. I left my s/s cup on the counter after I had wiped it down so I guess the counter was slightly wet...STAIN!! GRRR. I hate the stuff. I love love love the way it looks, but its SOO high maintenance. My hubby purchased IKEA's food grade oil and has oiled it with several coats....I'm at a loss...you think I just got a cheaper quality product or mabye need to get a better oil/sealer?

Offline ladyhen

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Re: What to clean butcher block counter tops?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 04:14:43 PM »
....I'm at a loss...you think I just got a cheaper quality product or mabye need to get a better oil/sealer?

It would be hard for us to know without seeing it, but you may have a poor quality wood, it may be poorly oiled or not a good oil, or your expectation of how it should hold up may be distorted. 

If it is cracking, then that could be due to insufficient oiling.  Dry wood that is being used in this way needs to be thoroughly saturated with the right oil.  (see my post above)  Water standing on wood for very long will soak the fibers and can cause damage, so even on a well oiled wood surface water needs to be removed. 

The appearance of butcher block countertops is sort of rustic.  They don't have a consistent color and shine to them like tile, corian, or marble would.  They have variations in color and they DO take on a patina, or depth to their look.  For instance, the area of my butcher block where I roll out tortillas, pie crust, and pizza dough gets dried out faster and has a pale and powdery sort of look to it even after cleaning.  The area where I generally chop veggies, butter toast, and set my spatulas, etc. seems to get butter or olive oil on it that I rub into the wood, so it has a darker patina and a gleam.   For us, we like this look a LOT.  That is the main reason that we don't scrape and oil our wood any more often than we do.  The variations are part of the beauty, to us.  Our wood is generally well oiled and, although a drip of coffee or milk will sometimes not be wiped up right away and make a stain it seems to only last a day or so before it comes up. 

hth
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;    Titus 2:13