Household Cleaning: How To Care For Butcher Block Counter Tops

Butcher block countertops add charm and character to any kitchen. However, they do have to be cared for and maintained in order to maximize their years of usefulness.

Butcher block countertops are a beautiful addition to any kitchen. The best butcher block tops are made from any hardwood such as hard maple, beech, or birch. Since butcher block is constructed from wood (a natural living material), there are special guidelines for cleaning and maintaining them.

Butcher block countertops, unlike butcher block cutting boards, are sealed to protect them from water damage. When cleaning your countertop, use a sponge dipped in a mild solution of dish detergent and water. Dry the countertops thoroughly after cleaning. The countertops should be conditioned on a regular basis as well. This can be done by sealing it with a coat of beeswax or by applying a thin coat of mineral oil. The mineral oil will hydrate the wood and eliminate the dull finish that can begin to appear. Do not use vegetable oil because it will become rancid.

If the wood on your countertop starts to dry out, there is a possibility that cracks could appear. If this occurs, the cracks should be filled with wood filler and sanded until smooth. The entire surface should be given a coat of oil to re-hydrate the wood. This problem can be avoided by treating your countertops with oil once a month. The oil should be heated (not on the stove) and allowed to sit on the surface for an hour or more. After the oil has set for the recommend amount of time, wipe off the excess.

There are a few problems that may occur with your countertops, but they can be easily repaired if the recommended steps are followed. If the butcher block becomes warped, apply a generous amount of oil to the concave side. If the problem still exists after two weeks, tape plastic to the convex side and oil the concave side daily. The wood will adjust to the new humidity and correct itself. Butcher block can become stained if food is allowed to remain on the top to long. Use a light sandpaper or fine steel wool on the stain. Clean and maintain countertops as usual. The stain will eventually disappear into the wood grain. One of the drawbacks of having a butcher-block countertop is they can scratch and dent easily and when exposed to heat (hot pots and plates) they can burn. If the countertop is oiled, all that is needed is to simply sand and re-oil. If your top has a lacquered finish, lightly sand and refinish with a poly-gel or other compatible finish. The butcher block will be as good as new.

There is no need to repair mineral streaks that show up in the wood of the countertop. This is a natural discoloring of the wood due to mineral deposits in the tree. This occurrence will add to the character, charm, and individuality of your countertops.

Many people choose butcher block counter tops for the natural beauty brought out by the wood used to create them. They are easy to install and easily repaired. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy years of use or even a lifetime of use from your butcher block countertops.

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