American Hardwood Information Center

Warmth, Style & Durability. Treasured for Generations

Caring for Hardwood Countertops

Butcher block countertops made with American Hardwoods are a beautiful option that add warmth and function to the kitchen. To ensure the maximum life of butcher block countertops, follow these tips for care and food safety.

For butcher block countertops used for food preparation:
Hardwood butcher block countertops are naturally porous. When used as a food preparation surface, it is very important to clean it thoroughly after each use. Never use a scouring cleanser on wood. A mild soap, like liquid dish detergent, and water will do the trick. A water-bleach mixture - one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water - will also help kill bacteria.

To remove stains, moisten the area, but just for a few seconds, with lemon juice.

After every cleaning, be certain to dry the countertop with a towel or other soft cloth.

Hardwood countertops used as work surfaces and cutting boards have a penetrating oil finish. If the wood begins to dry out or lighten in color, apply non-toxic oil, formulated for kitchen use. This can also be used for general maintenance. Woodworker's supply shops - often listed under "lumber" in the Yellow Pages - and most home improvement stores carry various brands of oils.

For butcher block countertops not used for food preparation:
Hardwood countertops not used for chopping or other food preparation are treated with polyurethane instead of oil.

These countertops can be washed with mild soap and warm water, and dried immediately with a soft cloth.

Keep in mind - because knives will cause permanent damage, polyurethane-finished hardwood is not to be used as a cutting surface.

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