How to Clean Butcher Block Countertops

It only takes a few minutes to keep butcher block countertops in peak condition (and cutting boards, too).

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Introduction

Working in a kitchen with butcher block countertops is like hanging with your bestie—it's comfortable and you want to linger. But even best friends need a little upkeep. Show your countertops you care about their welfare (and lengthen their life) with proper cleaning.

Tools Required

  • Bench/dough scraper or spatula
  • Sanding block (optional)
  • Sponge or dishcloth
  • Spray Bottle

Materials Required

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Food-safe mineral oil tung oil or butcher block oil-and-conditioner combo
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

How to Clean Butcher Block Countertops

Scrape Off Food Residue

Scrape

Remove stuck-on food from a butcher block countertop with a bench or dough scraper. If you don't have one, use a spatula.

Step 2

Wipe the Surface

soap

After scraping off the stuck-on food, wipe off the surface with a sponge or cloth and a mixture of water and mild dish soap, like Seventh Generation.

Step 3

Remove Stains

double-sided sandpaper 2

Stains can be removed by sanding the affected area lightly with fine-grit sandpaper.

Step 4

Disinfect

While wood has anti-bacterial properties, you should still disinfect a butcher block countertop. After you've cleaned it off, spray a mixture of white vinegar and water on the surface, spread it around with a damp cloth, let it soak in for a minute or two, and then wipe it off.

Step 5

Treat with Oil

Oil

When you notice the wood starting to dry out (when moisture starts to penetrate the wood), apply a coat of food-safe butcher block oil to the clean, dry surface. Apply as many coats as needed, until moisture stays on the surface.

Another option: Use a food-safe butcher block oil and conditioner combo, such as Howard Butcher Block Conditioner (shown here).

How Often Should You Clean Butcher Block Countertops?

You should clean them after every use, which means on a daily basis if you regularly cook and prepare food.