What’s not to like about slicing and dicing on wood. It’s kind to your knives, and cleanup’s a breeze. But once in a while, you need to show some love to your wood surfaces, to keep them in prime condition. Whether you’ve got a 10-inch cutting board or 5-foot butcher block countertop, regular oiling conditions the wood and helps create a barrier that keeps
Butcher Block Oil vs. Cutting Board Oil
The oil to use on a butcher block countertop is the same oil you should use to maintain a wood cutting board. Butcher block surfaces and cutting boards are both wood and their needs are the same. But you’ve got options. Two of the most common are:
- Food-grade mineral oil is a petroleum-based product that prevents wood from absorbing water. And, it’s relatively inexpensive. Here is 32 ounces of Raw + Rare food-grade mineral oil for $14 on amazon.com.
- Food-grade tung oil is made by pressing the seeds (often called nuts) of the tung tree. It’s naturally food-safe. Tung oil—which should be labeled 100% pure—is a little more expensive than food-safe mineral oil. Here is 32 ounces of tung oil for $20 on amazon.com.
Cooking oils (like olive, vegetable or nut oils) aren’t recommended as butcher block/cutting board oil because they can go rancid. And nut oils could cause an adverse reaction for anyone with nut allergies.
Should I Use Butcher Block Conditioner?
Conditioners for butcher block countertops and cutting boards are optional. They’re typically used in addition to, or combined with, oils. They create a harder finish and can add a sheen, but they wear off and need reapplication, just like oils, though possibly not as frequently. There are several brands, like Howard Butcher Block Conditioner (about $10 for 12 oz.), that sell a product that’s comprised of food-grade mineral oil, beeswax and carnauba wax. Some brands sell oil and conditioners separately.
How Often Do You Have to Oil Butcher Block Countertops?
How often you need to use butcher block oil on countertops (or cutting boards) depends on how often they’re used and cleaned and how humid your home is. With average use, you might need to apply oil once a month. You can tell when it’s time for an oil application when the water starts to soak into the wood instead of beading up on the surface. When that’s not on your mind, it may be time to think about kitchen flooring ideas that are trending right now.
Ready to get out of the kitchen? Here’s what you need to know to get a glass-smooth finish on a tabletop.