Cleaning Wooden Spoons In Boiling Water May Not Be The Best Idea

TikTok has introduced us to countless game-changing kitchen hacks. Who knew that you could make a quesadilla in a toaster, slice your cake with a wine glass, or use a vegetable peeler to spread cold butter? If you often turn to the app for tips similar to these, you've likely come across videos on how to deep clean your wooden spoon too. According to most TikTokers, letting it sit for several hours in boiling water is the best way to go about it. In reality, it's the worst.


Using boiling water is generally a reliable method of sanitization, and technically, the same can be said when you use it on wooden spoons. However, in addition to ridding your spoons of food residue, it can also damage the wood in the process. Any protective oils will be stripped away, leaving your wooden spoons brittle, cracked, and ultimately unsuitable for cooking or long-term use.

The best way to clean a wooden spoon

Wood may be porous, but that doesn't necessarily mean it harbors bacteria. While it might stain easily, wood is naturally antimicrobial, meaning it's almost impossible for bacteria to grow on a wooden spoon. In fact, it's long been known that wooden cutting boards are less likely to harbor bacteria than plastic ones; the University of Wisconsin published a research paper about it in the '90s. Wooden spoons therefore don't need to be cleaned any more vigorously than a plastic or metal spoon. In fact, you'll actually want to be more gentle with them than you probably think.


To wash them, all you have to do is use dish soap and warm water, then give them a gentle scrub. Avoid dishwashing, as it involves both hot water and detergent with harsh chemicals that can be just as damaging to the wood. Not only will a trip in the dishwasher strip away the oil and introduce cracks where germs and bacteria can enter, leaving the wood no longer antimicrobial. Instead of your spoon being extra clean, it'll be less sanitary than when you started.

How to fix a wooden spoon damaged by boiling water

If you've made the mistake of listening to TikTok and already boiled your wooden spoons in boiling water, the good news is there's a way to repair them. To do so, you'll first have to sand down the surface so it's smooth again. Then, you'll need to rub it with mineral oil, beeswax, or a food-safe wood wax. Your wooden spoon won't be quite ready to use at this point, you'll also have to heat treat it by baking it in a 350-degree oven for up to 3 minutes.


Depending on how damaged your spoon is, it may not be restored to its original state after only one round of seasoning. However, oiling it after every wash will help give it a new life. You don't need to put it in the oven over and over again — simply letting it air dry and then rubbing off the excess oil should be fine. This is also a great way to maintain any wooden spoon — as it helps to keep the wood from drying out and cracking — even one that hasn't been dishwasher or boiled.