Maintaining butcher block kitchen countertops is a lot of fun. Butcher block is the workhouse within kitchen. It is the place where you do all your chopping and preparation to make your meals. Over time you learned some tricks for keeping those big wood counters squeaky clean but the grand one accidentally found last week might be the best. So, here it is.
When cleaning your butcher block counters don’t use detergents. They will only agitate the dirt and cause more blockage. If you have stubborn stains on your block that won’t come off no matter how much you scrub then use only dish washing soap and water. You can find both at any grocery or discount store. And once you get that stubborn stain out it will be much less likely to reoccur.
When it comes time to wiping the counter tops, use a soft cloth or a sponge. For harder stains you can wipe it down with a putty knife and again with a soft cloth. No cleaner is really necessary but if you have children or pets, you might consider using one of the household cleaning products available. You should also make sure that you wipe your butcher block cutting boards down as well, especially after the food has been prepared on the counter.
If food has not been prepared on the wood countertops or if you are just looking for an easy surface to prepare food on you can always use one of the commercial wood cleaners that are available at the grocery or hardware store. These are generally alcohol free and non-toxic. They will get the stains out, but they are safe to eat. If you prefer to do it yourself, you can simply mix some oil (vitamin E works great) and wipe it down. This is a great option if you like to cook on wood countertops. Just be sure to wipe the oil off rather than use it as a liquid.
If you decide to do this task yourself, you may find it helpful to use a combination of both liquid and oil. You will also want to consider adding some mineral oil to the mixture in order to keep the wood slick. Once you have wiped it down, let it dry completely. If you have chosen a granite countertop, you will need to be sure that you use only a clean rag to buff the surface. Also be very cautious around hot surfaces, such as a stovetop.
Another option for those who like to do DIY is to cut out a small piece of plywood and cover the opening of your electric drill with masking tape. The inside of the hole will act as your butcher block countertop and you can simply move the tape outside of the opening and onto your countertop. Be sure that you have put the tape on a flat surface and that no air can get through to the area underneath. You can experiment with different patterns of masking tape to make your butcher block countertop unique. If you are putting this surface under a counter, you will likely need to cover it with a wooden board or other material to keep the moisture from reaching the countertop.
A third option for maintaining your butcher block counters is to sand it down periodically. This can be accomplished by using a sander fitted with a wood grinding wheel. Start by removing any loose debris from the surface and then use the wheel to grind the surface to a smooth polishing. This is a great option if you are concerned about maintaining your wood counters or if you simply don’t want to invest in a professional wood refinishing service. Although this will take more time and effort, it should result in a better looking finish.
In summary, the key to maintaining your butcher block counters is to make sure that you treat them well and protect them from accidental bumps and scratches with wood repair paste wax or wood polish. You can also try putting wood putty on the edges as this will help prevent wood chips from penetrating into the surface. If the chips start to look bad, you can also use mineral oil or an oil-free wood polish to give it a much less noticeable appearance. For extra protection, you can even put oil based wood repair paste wax on the surface. Keeping your butcher block well taken care of, will prevent you from having to spend much money maintaining it over time.