I’m always interested in learning about the latest cleaning trends on social media, and I recently came across one on TikTok involving boiling wooden spoons as a method of cleaning them.
These videos typically show people placing their wooden spoons in boiling water for long enough that the formerly clear water becomes clouded by a nasty layer of grease and grime. And to be fair, that nasty layer of grease does look pretty gross!
But wooden spoons aren’t among my top 20 must-have kitchen tools for nothing, so I resolved to investigate this hack to find out if wooden spoons really harbor as much gunk as the videos seem to suggest. After all, the idea of rancid oils lurking inside my wooden spoons and getting into my food isn’t a pleasant one!
What Happens When You Boil A Wooden Spoon?
When you put a wooden utensil in boiling water, the wood expands in the hot water, leaching out any oils trapped inside and allowing them to float to the surface. But it wouldn’t just be old cooking oil or grease coming out of the spoon — any conditioning oils or protective waxes would also leach out and float to the surface.
The problem with framing this as a method for cleaning wooden spoons is that wood needs moisture to prevent it from drying out and splitting. A few minutes in boiling water is enough to sap wood of its moisture and oils, and if you simply dried off your spoon and put it away afterward, it would likely split or crack in the not-too-distant future.
(That doesn’t necessarily mean attempting to boil wooden spoons is totally without merit, but we’ll get to that shortly!)
How To Clean And Care For Wooden Utensils
Did you know that wood has natural antibacterial properties? So unless your wooden spoons, cutting boards, and other kitchen items have absorbed odors or stains, you don’t need to do much to keep them clean and free of bacteria. Just wash your wooden kitchen items regularly with warm water and soap, then treat them with a food-grade wood conditioner or mineral oil to protect the wood.
Boiling would certainly sterilize a wooden spoon, but even still, it’s probably not something you’d want to do often. In fact, dishwasher manufacturers advise against putting wooden utensils in your dishwasher for the same reason — frequent exposure to high heat or hot water can cause wood to crack or split.
Boiling Wooden Spoons To Deep Clean Them
If you were going to use this hack of boiling wooden spoons, I’d say it’s best to do it as a one-off deep cleaning treatment. If your wooden spoons are really grimy, or you just picked one up at a yard sale or thrift store, boiling them for a minute or two to remove any rancid oil or bacteria lurking inside could be a great idea.
Just be sure to take the time to replace the oils you remove with clean, fresh oil afterward! My DIY spoon butter is a great option for conditioning wooden spoons and other wood kitchen items. It’s all-natural, flavor-neutral, and super easy to make!
Would you boil your wooden spoons?
I may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.