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Do you love your wooden spoon? We do. We probably love this simple, humble cooking utensil the most out of our entire arsenal (don't tell the whale knife). What do you do when you love something? You take care of it.
Any pharaoh will tell you, well-loved wood can last, literally, thousands of years. From cutting boards to cooking spoons, special tools to beloved brushes, if your beloved woodenware is looking a little tired, it's time to show it some TLC.
1) Don't let wood items soak. Due to past lives as a living trees, the porous grain of even the hardest woods will absorb liquid, causing it to warp (oof) or mold (ugh). While soaking may seem like the solution for cleaning sticky spoons, even the most stubborn gunk—looking at you sticky toffee pudding cake batter—is best dealt with by a stiff bristle instead.
2) Don't put woodenware in the dishwasher. Wood is highly sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations. When subjected to the rigors of the dishwasher, the swelling and drying caused by the high heat and hot water can cause even the highest-quality hand-crafted beloveds to peel or crack.
3) When in doubt, oil 'em up! We swear by Old Mill's Beeswax and Mineral Oil Wood Polish. Made in small batches by hand by our beekeeper friend Kate using sustainably harvested beeswax from her family's fourth generation organic apiary, this all natural, food safe, pet safe, and babe safe polish is like a real-life version of a before-and-after infomercial. Before? Sad! Tired! Grungy! After? Shiny! Happy! Ready for anything!
If you prefer using a true "oil" (vs. the lush, salve-like consistency of Old Mill) we are also obsessed with the food-safe Cutting Board Tonic from Christophe Pourny. Bonus, it's also mineral-oil free for anyone with a specific sensitivity.
A quick rubdown (or an overnight slather depending on the level of attention required) with your preferred conditioner and spoons, cutting boards, much-loved-brushes, and servingware are as good as new. Heck, we've even used it to re-zuzz the soles of our Swedish clogs after particularly rainy seasons. What can't you use it on? Wax on, Wax off.
To use: rub into wood with a soft cloth and let soak into the grain for a few hours until absorbed, buffing off any extra. Repeat until desired level of luster is restored. A little goes a long way with this miracle polish. We apply liberally on anything wooden that isn't nailed down (and some stuff that is) and we've had a single jar last for years. We like to use a designated cloth with our wood polish. The cloth gets saturated and this stuff is so potent and marvelous that sometimes a quick swipe with the residual polish on the cloth is enough. Since the polish is all-natural and skin friendly, we also find that doing a quick rundown of our woodenware doubles as a deep conditioning treatment for our cuticles. Two birds, one polish.
A necessary note: beeswax, mineral oil, walnut oil, and wood are flammable. Don't store your cloth, your jar, or your pile-of-greased-up-spoons near open flame, a heater, or in any place where they might spontaneously combust. Duh.