How to Clean & Care for Butcher Block Countertops

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kitchen with butcher block countertops

I love my butcher block countertops – so much that if I were to design a new kitchen from scratch I’d probably use wood countertops or, at the very least, a butcher block island. Wood countertops add warmth to a kitchen, have natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and are fairly easy to work with for a DIY-er (easier than cutting stone!).

But butcher block countertops do require a little more care than stone or laminate countertops to really shine.

What You Need to Clean Butcher Block and Wood Countertops

  • Scraper or spatula
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Kitchen or paper towels
  • Mild dish soap or cutting board soap
  • White vinegar
  • Mineral oil or cutting board oil
  • Cutting board wax

How to Clean Wood and Butcher Block Countertops

  1. Remove any residue

    Use a spatula or scraper to remove any gunk or residue from your countertops.

  2. Scrub with mild soap

    Using your scrub brush or sponge and some mild dish soap or wood counter soap, scrub your countertops to remove any remaining dirt or grime.

  3. Rinse with warm water

    With a damp towel, wipe down your counters to remove any remaining soap. Allow your counters to dry completely.

  4. Sanitize with vinegar

    Using a towel or a spray bottle, sanitize your counters with white vinegar. Let your counters dry completely.

  5. Oil your countertops

    Once your countertops are dry, use a lint-free towel to apply the first layer of oil onto your counters, wiping along with the wood grain. Let the oil soak in for 30 minutes before applying a second layer.

  6. Remove excess oil

    After the second coat of oil has soaked into the counters for 30 minutes, use a lint-free towel to remove any excess oil.

  7. Wax your countertops

    Follow instructions as directed – this may vary if you’re using a liquid conditioner (with oil and wax) vs a solid wax conditioner. Generally, you will apply your conditioner, allow the wax to harden for 2 hours, then remove any excess with a lint-free towel.

How to Care for Butcher Block Countertops

What kind of soap should I use to clean butcher block countertops?

You can use any mild dish soap to clean butcher block countertops, but there are also soaps that are formulated for wood counters. You should not use any cleaning solutions like bleach or those formulated for floors, tile, appliances, or others on your wood countertops.

How do you protect butcher block countertops from water?

Regular oiling and conditioning with wax will protect your countertops from water damage. You should condition your counters every 4-6 weeks or when they start to look or feel dry.

How often should you oil your butcher block countertops?

You should regularly oil and wax your countertops to protect them from water, every 4-6 weeks or when they start to look or feel dry.

What kind of oil should I use for butcher block countertops?

Use a food-safe mineral oil or oil formulated for butcher block to care for your countertops. Do not use food-based oils, like vegetable or olive oil, as they’ll oxidize and go rancid.

What kind of wax should I use for butcher block countertops?

Use beeswax, a formulated wax for wood countertops, or a butcher block conditioner which may include oils and wax in the same product.

Shop supplies

Clark’s cutting board care kit

Howard’s cutting board cleaner

Howard’s cutting board cleaner

Thirteen Chefs food grade mineral oil

John Taylor butcher block conditioner

Caron & Doucet cutting board oil & wax bundle


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