Butcher block countertops and other kitchen surfaces made from butcher block should be regularly cared for with cleaning, deodorizing, and refinishing. This is very necessary if you want to maintain the beauty of the wood and keep it safe from cracking, drying out, stains, and from warping.

Tips for Maintaining, Cleaning, and Care of Butcher Block Countertops

  1. Keep away from water: Butcher blocks are 100% constructed of natural wood types and can be prone to the damaging effects of moisture and exposure to water. If your countertop of butcher block or cutting board is exposed to water it can result in swelling of the block. You can avoid these issues by preventing moisture and stagnant water from penetrating and standing on the block’s surface. Remember to always wipe your butcher block countertop down after use to keep it dry.
  2. Keep it from drying out: However, if the wood is not oiled regularly or is kept too dry it can cause it to crack, dry out, and shrink. In winter months your butcher block will tend to dry out as the cold winter air is extremely dry. You also want to make sure that your block is not placed near a warm stove, fireplace, heat vent, washing machine or dryer as these appliances conduct heat and may cause the block to dry out. Regularly oil your butcher block countertops in order to keep them moist and extend their longevity of use and beauty.
  3. Sanding: Sometimes when a butcher block countertop has become stained, scratched, or damaged, you might choose to refinish it. You can do this by sanding them down. When you sand your butcher blocks, you have to be sure to sand the surfaces evenly or you will create valleys and hills on their surfaces.
  4. Type of oil to use: There are many types of oils specially made for the care of butcher block countertops. You should stick to these types, along with standard mineral oil. You should never refinish your block with vegetable oil, olive oil or any other food-based oils sold. These types of finishes will produce odors, become sticky and possibly smell rancid. This can also affect the taste of the food that is prepared on the block!
  5. Cleaning and oiling: You should use natural cleaners and detergents to clean your butcher block countertops. When oiling your blocks all you do is apply oil to the surface (more is better); let it penetrate the pores of the wood surface for about an hour, and then wipe the excess oil off. Some butcher blocks will respond to only a few coats of oil, however others that are dried or aged may take up to 10 coats.

It is recommended that varnish and polyurethane finishes used to provide the look of fine furniture not be used as a butcher block for cutting. These types of finishes resonate on the surfaces and are very abrasive. Also, cutting on the butcher block countertops can lead to mars in these type coatings and expose the wood’s porous surfaces to moisture and water.