Make Your Wooden Kitchen Surfaces Last Forever

Kitchen
Photo by Emily May (Flickr)

Kitchens are all unique. They come in different designs and color schemes, and even the materials used for kitchen surfaces can vary widely. I can give you plenty of advice on cleaning, but depending on the surface, it may or may not apply. That is why today, I am going to focus on cleaning wooden surfaces in the kitchen. It is an area that I think is often overlooked and thrown into the same bag as granite and laminate counters. If you have ever cleaned a wooden cutting board versus a plastic one, then you know wood has its own special qualities. Whether you have wood cabinets, wood countertops, or a wooden cutting board, you are going to want to keep them clean so they can continually look their best. Here are my favorite ways to clean my favorite material that comes straight from nature.

Wooden Kitchen Cabinets

When I moved into my home, my cabinets were brand new. They were everything we had dreamed of, and I often would go into the kitchen just to stare at them. Now, kitchen cabinets are not cheap, and replacing them was something I was determined not to do for at least 30 years. Exactly how did I plan on keeping them so long? By taking care of them with love and a rag. Wood is affected by its environment, and constant sun exposure can cause the wood to fade and lose its original charm. I keep my curtains or blinds closed to prevent the sun from shining in all of the time. Cabinets also get the most wear through the process of opening cupboards and drawers, but knobs do a great job at preventing rubbing on the wood. The last thing to consider is cleaning the cabinets regularly. Never use pads or abrasive cleaners that will scratch the wood. When deciding what cleaner to use, stay away from most cleaners filled with chemicals; they can take off the stain and protective coat on the wood. A basic soap mixture with water will sanitize dirty areas.

Wooden Cutting Boards

Bacteria can easily get trapped in wood, so it is important to clean wooden cutting boards properly after every single use. After you have finished cutting on the board, immediately rinse it with water. This will rinse most of the bacteria out and prevent them from soaking into the wood quickly. Avoid cutting meats on a wooden cutting board, and use soap for cleaning after cutting fruits and vegetables. To deodorize the area, spray some vinegar on the surface. If you love tomatoes as much as I do, then your cutting board might have red stains: Grab some salt and scrub it on the spot to remove the stain easily.

Wood Countertops

Cleaning wood countertops is not like cleaning a wooden cutting board. This might sound confusing, but while a cutting board doesn’t need to look pretty, you are going to want your countertops to look good. As soon as you spill something on the wood, immediately wipe it up to prevent stains. Soap and water are your best friend, and vinegar is your enemy. I know I am always pushing vinegar, but vinegar is acidic and can dissolve the glue that holds your counters together. A bleach mixture can sanitize an area, but don’t overuse this toxic substance. You aren’t going to want to chop your chicken or favorite vegetables on your countertops, either, like you would on a cutting board. Wood scratches easily, so use a cutting board for everything. Be delicate with your wooden surface by using a rag and staying away from scrubbing pads.

Maintenance

Taking care of wooden surfaces in the kitchen is all about maintenance. If you avoid cleaning the cabinet fronts for a year or two, you are going to be left with a greasy coating and a lot of gunk. Getting dirt buildup off might take some scrubbing, and scrubbing can scratch your cabinets and wear them out. So keep this buildup away by washing wooden cabinets about once a month or whenever there is visible dirt, grease, or grime on them. For countertops, wipe them down daily and after every use. Wood is a beautiful look in the kitchen, and continually cleaning and taking care of it is a sure way to help it last for many years.

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