What You Need To Do To Properly Upkeep Wooden Serveware


Do you have a love hate relationship with wooden serveware? Wooden bowls, spoons, boards and trays can all be great pieces to display our foods, but they also have the ability go rancid over a period of time.

Wooden serveware that goes rancid has a pungent, old and oily smell to it, making it unpleasant to use.

So if you're one of those who does have a love hate relationship with wood. I'm going to share a few tips to properly upkeep your wooden serveware to keep that from happening.

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wooden bowl surrounded by flowers on table

New Wooden Bowls and Boards

Before using your new wooden bowls, boards or trays, the first thing you may want to do is give it a light rubbing of olive or mineral oil. A thin coating of olive oil will nourish and protect the wood from the food you use in/on it.

Vagabond House Bee Salad Bowl On Table With Flowers

Vagabond house bee salad bowl on table with pink place setting

My new Bee Salad Bowl Set by Vagabond House arrived with a beautiful wood finish. It's a beautiful set that I know I'm going to want to last for years to come, so the first thing I did was use a light coating of extra virgin olive oil all around it.

Simply rubbing with a light coating of olive or mineral oil with a dry cloth and then wiping again with a separate dry cloth to remove the oil will help to preserve the wood for future use. Here is an excellent step by step for using olive oil as a wood treatment.

Keeping Your Bowls and Boards Clean

Once you've started actually using your wooden serveware, you'll want to keep it clean. Bacteria and pathogens can quickly cause your piece to become unusable.

A wash with warm soapy water, periodically, will keep it clean, but since wood is porous, it's important to dry the piece immediately and not set it on a drying rack to air dry. This can cause your wood to split.

After a good washing, you'll want to do another light coating of olive oil on the thoroughly dried piece. The wood will need to keep moisturized.

According to SF Gate, using your wood pieces daily will require more cleaning to avoid an oil build up. This will keep your piece from going rancid.

It's also a good idea to keep your bowl stored away from direct sunlight to avoid loss of color and moisture.

Restoring Older and Thrifted Wooden Pieces

If you've ever thought about picking up a thrift or yard sale wooden piece, but you had a fear that bacteria may have taken over, you can restore such a piece in just a few steps.

First, take a clean cloth and wet it with at least 3% hydrogen peroxide and give the piece a good wipe down to properly kill the pathogens or bacteria that may be on it. Allow the peroxide to sit for at least three minutes.

The next thing you'll want to do is use warm water, a grease fighting dish liquid and a scouring pad (like on the back of a sponge) to thoroughly scrub the bowl inside and out. 

Don't let the piece sit in the water.

Rinse the piece well and towel dry. Then let it air dry for a few hours until it looks pretty dry.

Check the bowl for any stains and finished smoothing those out by taking course salt and scrubbing it around the piece with a half lemon.

Allow the piece to dry overnight and rub with a light coating of oil. Allow to sit for a few hours. Repeat this until the piece will not absorb any more oil (approximately two or three more times). 

Once the wood won't absorb more oil, take a dry cloth and remove the excess oil by rubbing in a circular motion. This should leave it with a beautiful shine, but it should not feel oily.

With careful care, your wood pieces can last for years to come.

Tell me in the comments what you've been using to keep your wooden pieces clean.


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