Your trusty wooden spoon is a must-have, and for good reason. It won’t scratch surfaces, leach chemicals or conduct heat, meaning it never melts. In fact, the Test Kitchen staff for the RD.com sister-site Taste of Home swears by wooden spoons! Sometimes, however, it makes sense to opt for one of these 25 kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago.
Because wooden spoons—like this one— are so versatile, frequent use can result in a lot of wear and tear. When that spoon is looking worse for the wear, you might be tempted to toss it, but you don’t have to. In fact, you can bring it back to life using some simple tricks.
Here’s how to clean a wooden spoon:
1. Wash by Hand
Soon after you cook with your wooden spoon, wash it with warm, soapy water to prevent any stains from setting. Pat the spoon dry with a towel and then let it thoroughly air dry before putting it away. Never let a wooden spoon sit in water for too long because the wood will absorb the water, expand and then contract as it dries, which can result in cracks.
Also, never put your wood spoons in the dishwasher! The steam and dry cycle can crack the wood. Once your spoon splinters, cracks or frays, it’s time to toss it. Bacteria and smells can get stuck in the cracks. Speaking of bacteria, check out the 7 surprisingly dirty kitchen items you never think to clean.
2. Scrub Stains Away
If your spoons are stained and soapy water isn’t cutting it, it’s time to grab some kitchen essentials to get them looking new. After washing with soapy water, pour salt onto the spoon and scrub it with a halved lemon. Not only will this combo remove stubborn stains, it’ll keep things smelling fresh. Rinse with cool water and dry.
If things are still smelly, create a paste of baking soda and water, and then scrub that in with a halved lemon. Baking soda is great at neutralizing organic acids. Although baking soda seems like it can get any job done, here are the 11 things you should never clean with baking soda.
Remember, if your spoons are stained, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dirty. Even stubborn stains, like those from tomato sauce or turmeric, will eventually fade over time.
3. Sand and Re-season
If all else fails, use sandpaper to lightly scrub away the dirty layer of wood. You’ll need to re-season the spoon before using it again. To re-season, preheat your oven to 350° F. Wipe the spoon with a neutral oil (like grapeseed or mineral oil) and place in the oven for two to three minutes. Don’t use olive or vegetable oil for this, though.
It’s a good idea to periodically condition your wooden spoons with oil to help them last longer. Even quickly rubbing them with oil and wiping the excess away will help them stay fresh! Now that you have a refreshed wooden spoon, here’s how you can clean your entire kitchen in under five minutes.
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