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Friday 20 January 2023

Wooden Spoons : Do You Use Them ?

If you use wooden spoons while cooking/baking, then your spoons could be dirtier than you think!

Here are some tip on how to clean them :
From getting our bake on, to using them to stir the stew in the slow cooker, the humble wooden spoon is something of an unsung kitchen hero.

But because we use them so much, wooden spoons are probably prone to getting a little grubbier than some of our other kitchen staples.

And even though we stick them in the dishwasher or give them a daily scrub, a simple hack has revealed our wooden spoons could actually be much dirtier than we think.

Former MasterChef Australia judge, Matt Preston, shared his "wooden spoon test" so home cooks can determine whether it is worth keeping your trusty spoon or throwing it away.

He suggests leaving your wooden spoon in a cup of boiling water for about 20 minutes, drawing oils out of the wood.

People have been trying it and sharing the results on social media and many have been left shocked by how dirty the spoons are even though they wash them every day.

Preston previously told Delicious magazine: “On the surface a perfect present, but stick an old one in a cup of boiling water to see what fate awaits all wooden spoons. Give it a sniff. Phew, stinky! And you were going to stir your custard with that.”

Instead of your old faithful wooden spoon, he suggests using a silicon spatula.

“They’re hygienic, heat-resistant and flexible, so they are great for getting into the corner of a pan or getting every last skerrick out of a bowl,” he explains.

So why do wooden spoons get so dirty?
According to James Milnes, managing director at sanitiser brand Zoono, wooden spoons are more porous than plastic or metal alternatives.

“As a result, they are more likely to retain moisture or liquid,” he explains. “As a wide range of pathogens thrive on damp surfaces, this can cause them to become a haven for bacteria.

“Wood is also more likely to crack over time, allowing for bits of food and dirt to become stuck in the spoon itself.”

It’s therefore important to always clean your wooden spoon thoroughly after every use.

“If your spoon starts to look damaged with wear and tear, it’s time to invest in a new one,” says Milnes.

For those of us who are keen to give our trusty wooden spoons another go, there are ways to get them a little cleaner.

How to properly clean wooden spoons
Chris Riley, recipe developer, culinary expert and founder of 'The Daring Kitchen' has a whole wealth of kitchen-related cleaning knowledge under his belt and believes there are certain steps we can take to preserve the life of our wooden spoons for a little while longer.

“To clean a wooden spoon properly you have to hand wash it with hot soapy water (preferably quickly after each use),” he says.

Afterwards, he says we should pat it dry with a clean cloth and let it air dry before putting it away.

“If a wooden spoon sits in water for too long it will absorb water and expand, but when it dries it will contract and cracks may appear,” he adds.

According to Milnes, using high temperatures, over 60 degrees, while cleaning will kill most bacteria, but he also recommends using an anti-bacterial cleaning product to ensure it’s completely free from bacteria.

“Using an alcohol-free antibacterial product that does not use harsh chemicals is the best option as it will not damage the spoon,” he explains.

“Alcohol-based products will quickly dry them out, leaving them looking ‘fuzzy’ and causing them to crack.”

It is important you consider not just cleaning the spoon but the space the spoon is kept in too.
“Germs and bacteria love to live in dark and damp places, so while the kitchen drawer keeps things neat and tidy, it’s the worst place to keep a wooden spoon, especially if it’s thrown in there still wet, straight from the dishwasher,” Milnes explains.

“Clean your cutlery draw thoroughly on a regular basis with a long-lasting anti-bacterial spray or microbe shield.

“And always make sure wooden spoons are completely dry before putting them back into the cutlery draw.

“UV light is extremely effective in killing a broad range of pathogens, so leave it out on the windowsill or on a naturally lit surface to dry.

“This also prevents any germs being transferred from your tea towel onto the spoon before it’s put away.”

Riley also has some tips for maintaining the wooden spoons in our kitchen drawers.
“To maintain the wooden utensils apply mineral oil to the wood every once in a while to prevent the wood from drying out and cracking.

“If the wood is cracked you should get a new spoon,” he adds.

And if your wooden spoon is starting to look a little stained, there’s a fix for that too.

“If the wooden spoon has gone fuzzy or stained you can take a piece of fine sandpaper and scrub it gently to fix it,” Riley explains.

“Afterwards, apply a food-grade mineral oil and rub it in with a cloth."
Above words and image from original article by Marie Claire Dorking here

~ xx ooo xx ~

I do like to use wooden spoons when cooking, although many friends prefer the silicone ones.
What type do you like to use?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.

~ xx ooo xx ~

Looking for a recipe inspiration to use your wooden (or silicone spoons), you may like these.
Chunky Chicken and Chorizo Hotpot - see here
Beef casserole with kale mash - see here
Greengrocers Veggie Hotpot (vegetarian) - see here

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However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan


Tom said...

...we use them.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I don't use them any more but I have a small favorite bamboo cutting board that I like to keep clean. I made brownies yesterday and they came out very moist and SO good! I'll save you one! Hugs, Diane

Elephant's Child said...

I am a wooden spoon girl. I wash them religiously and air dry them. I am not sure I am ready to try that boiling water test - because I would be very reluctant to give them up.

Mary Kirkland said...

I have several wooden spoons.

Lorrie said...

I use wooden spoons all the time, and will keep doing so.

happyone said...

I do use wooden spoons and do clean the in hot soapy water.
I am going to give them the boiling water test. I'll let you know how they do!

Susan Kane said...

Wow. I never knew that. Over time, my spoons got really gross, and I recycled them.

My name is Erika. said...

I'm glad I clean my wooden spoons the right way, but I only use my spoons for certain foods like tomato sauce. Happy weekend!

J.P. Alexander said...

Yo uso cucharas de madera . Gracias por la información. Te mando un beso.

Pam said...

Yes, I use them and YUCK!!!! YUCK!!!! YUCK!!!

roughterrain crane said...

Thanks for your information. I have long wooden bars to make buckwheat noodles. I will keep them more carefully. Happy weekend to you.

kathyinozarks said...

I love my wooden spoons-forks-spatulas

Angie's Recipes said...

I like my wooden spatula and spoons...sometimes I was too lazy and throw them into the dish washer and ruined them..:-((

Donna said...

Wow...yes, I love my wooden spoons...hubby and I also make cutting boards so yes, I know how to keep them clean. A great article though for those who don't think of the importance of keeping wood clean. Cutting boards, included.
Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog!

Jo said...

I saw an article about this recently. It seems many things we would consider clean just aren't. When Eleanor was a student at university, they were asked to take their dishcloths into the lab so that they could do some experiments on them. You'd be amazed what actually grew on them, or perhaps you wouldn't, they were students after all, haha.

Kinga K. said...

I use them very often...

George Pereira said...

Don't see them these days. I have seen wooden spoons in use in the 60's and 70's in Kerala, India. They use them to make curry. The spoons were made of coconut shells with a bamboo stick attached to it as handle. They don't look like those shown here

Jeff said...

I have a number of wooden spoons, several carved by a friend who is no longer alive, and I love them. Thanks for these tips.

Lori Miller said...

I'm skeptical that wooden spoons are unhygienic. From a study on wooden v plastic cutting boards using listeria, e. coli and other nasties, "Clean wood blocks usually absorbed the inoculum completely within 3-10 min. If these fluids contained 103-104 CFU of bacteria likely to come from raw meat or poultry, the bacteria generally could not be recovered after entering the wood. If ≥106 CFU were applied, bacteria might be recovered from wood after 12 h at room temperature and high humidity, but numbers were reduced by at least 98%, and often more than 99.9%. Mineral oil treatment of the wood surface had little effect on the microbiological findings. These results do not support the often-heard assertion that Plastic cutting boards are more sanitary than wood."

Jeanie said...

I only have one wooden spoon and I do put it in the dishwasher and all, but sounds like that isn't enough. This was a really fascinating article, Jan. I'm going to try the boiling test!

CJ Kennedy said...

I don't use wood spoons or cutting boards. I opt for silicon instead.

eileeninmd said...


Yes, we do use the wooden spoons. These tips are good to know.
Have a great weekend.

Iris Flavia said...

Ours have faces and hearts (pics to come) and I am the dishwasher ;-)
I do fine cleaning them (I guess)

kathyinozarks said...

I am back-smiles-I wasn't really sure about using boiling water as a sanitizing method on wood utensils I did a search online here is an alternative How do you disinfect wooden spoons?
For a deep clean, sanitize your wooden spoons with hydrogen peroxide, which kills the bacteria that build up on wooden cookware after multiple uses. Allow the wooden spoons to soak for fifteen minutes. Then rinse away the hydrogen peroxide with water and air-dry the spoons before using them again.Aug 25, 2022

DVArtist said...

Great post with some interesting information. I never have used wooden spoons.

Hilly Nicolay said...

I usually use wooden spoons...

All the best,

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Thanks for the interesting enlightenment, I also have wooden spoons... I'm considering using silicone again.
Have a happy weekend Elke

Luiz Gomes said...

Bom sábado com muita paz e saúde. Fico feliz em dividir um pouco com vocês a beleza do meu Brasil. Você me despertou como realmente tratamos as colheres de pau. Excelente matéria.

John's Island said...

Great information on wooden spoons! I did learn from this post. Thank you Jan and Eddie! John

Miradas desde mi lente said...

Buenos consejos para tener en cuenta, yo no tengo en la cocina ninguna cuchara que sea de madera.
Feliz fin de semana.

DeniseinVA said...

I have wooden spoons but don’t use them much any more. However, I am going to bookmark this post for when I do. Thanks Jan!

Chatty Crone said...

I am going to try that! Also what about wooden cutting boards - I don't use one.

William Kendall said...

Good advice.

happyone said...

Jan - I did the spoons in boiling water test after I read your post. I must be cleaning mine good because the water was just as clear as when I put the spoons in it. :)

Lowcarb team member said...


J.P. Alexander said...
Yo uso cucharas de madera . Gracias por la información. Te mando un beso

I use wooden spoons. Thanks for the information. I send you a kiss

Luiz Gomes said...
Bom sábado com muita paz e saúde. Fico feliz em dividir um pouco com vocês a beleza do meu Brasil. Você me despertou como realmente tratamos as colheres de pau. Excelente matéria.

Good Saturday with lots of peace and health. I'm happy to share a little with you the beauty of my Brazil. You woke me up like we really treat the wooden spoons. Excellent subject.

Miradas desde mi lente said...
Buenos consejos para tener en cuenta, yo no tengo en la cocina ninguna cuchara que sea de madera.
Feliz fin de semana

Good tips to keep in mind, I do not have in the kitchen any spoon that is made of wood.
Happy weekend.

Lowcarb team member said...

A BIG thanks to everyone who has taken the time to comment and share thoughts about this post.

Special thanks to those who have shared tips/articles and come back with how they have got on when doing the boiling water test :)

If readers would also like tips on the best way to clean a wooden cutting board, this article may be of help

All the best Jan

Teresa said...

Me ha parecido un reportaje interesante, mañana haré la prueba. Besos.

Christine said...

Might be time for me to get silicone spoons

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Very interesting information. I do have a collection of wooden spoons that I use. I always hand wash them with dish soap and hot water and allow them to dry overnight before placing them back in their holder. So far, so good. I will try the boiling water test next and see how they turn out.

Granny Marigold said...

Yes, my wooden spoons need to be replaced and the silicone ones seem to be the best idea. Thanks for the nudge.

handmade by amalia said...

I only use wooden spoons, will have to be more aware. Thanks for this!

Snowbird said...

Goodness, who knew. It's totally put me off

Sharon Wagner said...

I do use them, but am mindful of the dangers. I have some that are purely decorative too. I love wood.

Balvinder said...

That's an eye opener. I use silicon spoon too but I do love wooden spoons. Have to check how dirty mine are.

Divers and Sundry said...

I use wooden spoons but try to be careful how I clean and store them.

Hena Tayeb said...

I don't like to use wooden spoons for exactly this reason.

carol l mckenna said...

Great post ~ no longer use wooden spoons ~ Xo

Wishing good health, laughter and love in your days,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative harbor)

Conniecrafter said...

I had wooden spoons when we were first married, not sure what happened to them but I quite using them for some reason