How to Clean Wooden Spoons and Utensils

Give wooden spoons and other cooking utensils their best clean without damaging them in the process.

wooden spoons and wooden utensils on white backdrop

Getty Images / Almaje

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Wooden spoons and utensils are some of the most durable cooking tools on the market. Wood naturally has antibacterial properties that ward off bacteria and mold. While wood is a sturdy, natural material, it can also be sensitive to harsh chemicals, moisture, and extreme dry heat. And because wood shouldn’t be exposed to water for long periods of time, each item must be hand-washed. This makes for a less-than-convenient cleaning experience. 

So how do you properly clean wooden spoons and other cooking tools? To extend their lifespan and efficacy in the kitchen, follow these simple steps to wash, sanitize, and dry wooden utensils. 

Before Getting Started

Cleaning wooden spoons and utensils seems rather simple, but there are some easy and simple ways to prolong the of these timeless kitchen tools. Steer clear of these mishaps before cleaning wooden spoons.

  • Do not use a dishwasher to clean wooden utensils. The pressurized water in a dishwasher can damage wooden utensils, and the extreme heat in the dry cycle can warp the wood. 
  • Do not submerge or soak wooden utensils for long periods of time. They can become waterlogged, warped, or cracked. 
  • Do not use strong, abrasive chemical soaps that can break down wood. Simple is best. The average household dish soap will do.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Non-abrasive brush or sponge
  • Paper towels or dish towel


  • Dish soap


How to Clean Wooden Spoons and Wooden Utensils

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to wash wooden spoons by hand without damaging the natural material.

  1. Rinse Wooden Spoons After Use

    Immediately after use, rinse the utensil in the sink under warm water to remove any leftover food particles. Wooden utensils easily absorb odors and stains, so don’t skip this rinse. Avoid extremely hot water; instead, opt for a gentle rinse under warm water.  

  2. Hand-Wash with Dish Soap

    Next, hand-wash the wooden spoon or utensil with mild dish soap and warm water. Apply a small amount of dish soap to a cloth, sponge, or non-abrasive brush. For an effective wash, clean all areas of the utensils by scrubbing in a circular motion, including along the handle and any crevices.

  3. Rinse Wooden Spoons

    Wash away any soap or food residue under warm water. Do not leave any suds behind. 

  4. Air-Dry Wooden Spoons and Utensils

    To prevent any mustiness or cracking, completely air-dry wooden kitchen utensils before storing them. Wipe and pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. For better airflow, prop wooden utensils up in the drying dish rack instead of laying them flat. Once everything is dry, put kitchen items away in a cool, ventilated place.

Additional Cleaning Tricks for Tough Food Residue

If a thorough standard clean doesn’t get rid of stains and odors, there are several tricks to give wooden kitchen utensils a deeper clean. 

Baking Soda: To remove lingering smells and food stains, combine 1 Tbsp. baking soda with 1 tsp. of water. Wash the wooden spoon or cooking utensil with the solution, then rinse and dry well.

Distilled White Vinegar: With a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, wash wooden utensils to get rid of stubborn buildup. Rinse and dry well before storing.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Although wooden utensils have antibacterial properties, your items may occasionally need a deeper clean. Use hydrogen peroxide to sanitize wooden spoons. Soak them in hydrogen peroxide for around 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water and air-dry. 

Oil: A great strategy to keep wooden utensils from drying or cracking is to apply oil. Try conditioning oil, food-grade mineral oil, or beeswax. After the utensil has been washed and dried, use a cloth to rub on a small amount of the oil or wax. Let the oil sit for 10 minutes and wipe off any excess. 

When to Replace Wooden Spoons and Cooking Utensils

Although wooden utensils are sturdy and long-lasting, they may need to be replaced well before they ever look like they do. Every five years or so, you should replace your wooden cooking items. 

If they are cracked, warped, or appear to be discolored with mold or other growth, throw them away immediately and replace them with new ones.

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