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How To Clean Butcher Block Countertops


Butcher block is a popular choice for countertops since you can cut directly on them, eliminating the need for a cutting board. They bring a rustic and certain charm to modern kitchens. While they look beautiful and provide a function they also can be more susceptible to stains and odors since they are in direct contact with food.

Following our expert tips to clean and maintain butcher block countertops will help them remain in excellent condition so you can enjoy the beauty and efficiency they offer for many years to come.

What Are Butcher Block Countertops?

Butcher block countertops come in a variety of styles and colors. Several types of woods, like maple, cherry, walnut, and oak can be used. Maple remains the most popular due to its durability and clear grain. These countertops come in an array of sizes and looks.

Popular Grain Styles For Butcher Block Countertops

Edge grain:

This style is created by placing long boards on their sides so their narrow edges form the surface. Since the grains of the wood are not exposed the board soaks up less moisture making it less likely to warp or crack. This is an affordable and common option for butcher block countertops.

End grain:

End grain construction involves arranging small rectangular blocks so that the ends are visible on the surface area and show off the growth rings, resulting in a checkerboard look. This is the most expensive type of butcher block and is resistant to visible knife marks.

Face grain:

To create this look the wood is laid flat forming the full width of the surface of the counter. This makes the area more vulnerable to surface marks when used for cutting so if a functional, durable cutting area is desired this type isn’t recommended.

All types do require some maintenance and general upkeep to retain their beauty and make them last.

Gather The Recommended Cleaning Items

There are several safe products suitable for use when cleaning butcher block countertops. It’s all a matter of preference as some might prefer the smell of certain cleaners or avoid other cleaners due to their scent. Most importantly, avoid harsh cleaners to retain the wood’s natural finish.

White Vinegar, dish soap, salt, lemon, a sponge, and a clean dishcloth are typically all that is needed for routine cleaning and deep cleaning. Once you have your materials, you can begin cleaning your butcher block countertops by following these steps.

Cleaning And Maintenance For Butcher Block Countertops

Like any other countertops, the surface of the butcher block gets dirty from crumbs, spills, and food residue. Before using any cleaning products, first remove any food debris as soon as possible to prevent bacteria growth and to keep pests away. Once loose material has been wiped off a thorough cleaning after each use is recommended.

To begin cleaning, moisten a sponge with warm water and mild dish soap. After you have removed loose crumbs, wipe the surface with the sponge, rinse it out, and wipe again with fresh water. Dry with an absorbent dishcloth. Occasionally the foods you prepare on the butcher block countertops can leave stubborn stains, or odors requiring a bit more than a gentle routine cleaning. In that case, white vinegar, lemon juice, and salt will work to do a deep cleaning.

For a deep cleaning, wash and rinse as before, making sure to remove any residue that is stuck on. Then apply white vinegar liberally dampening the surface and let sit for 15 minutes to dry. The next step will help to keep bacteria and odors from settling into the surface. Mix ½ cup of lemon juice with 1 cup of salt to form a paste-like solution, as this works to remove any spots it will also further disinfect the surface of the butcher block. Wipe away any remaining moisture with a dry, clean towel.

It is always a good idea to test an inconspicuous area first to ensure the cleaning solution you choose doesn’t discolor the butcher block surface since the finishes and types of wood on countertops vary.

How Often Should Butcher Block Be Cleaned?

Deciding how often to clean anything in your kitchen, including your counters, depends on how regularly you prepare food. If you cook daily and use your countertops, you’ll want to clean that space daily.

A professional cleaner has the expertise and cleaning equipment to clean and maintain your entire home and keep it clean so you can enjoy your beautiful house. Why stress over these tasks when a cleaning technician can handle it all for you?

At Kathleen’s Cleaning Service, our focus is on eco-friendly products and reliable, friendly service. Give us a call for all your cleaning needs. Virginia residents can call (804) 729-7401 and residents in Florida can call our Pinellas County location at (727) 377-5522.