Are Wooden Cook Spoons Food Safe, Sanitary?

Are wooden cook spoons food safe and sanitary? New Hampshire Bowl and Board's wood experts can answer all your wooden spoon care questions. Wood Spoons are safe for 100s of uses.

"I've had my wooden spoons forever and now I'm starting to worry that maybe they're crawling with bacteria. Should I replace them? And how can I care for my wooden spoons, cutting boards and other utensils?"

Wood is one of the oldest materials used to make kitchen tools, and for good reason.  Wood is naturally more antibacterial than any man-made material.  Recent studies have shown that plastics and derivatives can harbor bacterial despite protective measures. Those scratches and dents in plastic harbor germs.

Wood is easy to clean and protect from germs. Most quality wooden spoons and utensils are treated with mineral oil, which helps create an inert, neutral surface that provides a shield.  Untreated wood will easily stain and dry out.

To keep your wooden spoons in the best shape possible, follow these tips:

  • Hand-wash wooden utensils with hot water and mild dish soap. Although they could technically be cleaned in the dishwasher, it's not a good idea, because the high water temperatures can dry them out.  
  • If your wooden spoons or cutting boards start to look or feel dry or fuzzy, periodically rub them with mineral oil or a longer lasting beeswax conditioner like our Bowl and Board Rub. Try not to use food-based oil like vegetable or olive oil, since these can go rancid.
  • Wooden spoons can eventually split as they dry out or are exposed to extreme temperature changes. Next to your stove in a crock or holder is just fine. 
  • Stains or roughness can be rubbed away with a piece of fine sandpaper.
  • A solution of Clorox bleach and water (10x more water than bleach) is a good sanitizer.  Apply the solution, or leave your spoon bowls submerged for a minute or two, thoroughly rinse and dry.